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We all say we want healthy relationships — but I think what we really mean is that we all want easy relationships. Because let me tell you, healthy relationships are NOT everything they get into. Healthy relationships are difficult — but not in the way you might think.
It's not about self-sacrifice or trying to get your partner to fulfill your needs. No, luckily in healthy relationships these things are easy. The difficult thing about healthy relationships is that you have to look at yourself at who you were in the past and how you are currently showing up in your relationship.
"Healthy" is subjective.
What I choose is a delicious and healthy relationship for me that may not be the same for you. But usually, healthy relationships consist of open communication, mutual respect, shared goals and values, honesty, love, passion, intimacy, trust, and awesome sex (obviously).
Ask the average person what they consider a healthy relationship to be and they will likely mention one of the above.
For me, one of the most important ingredients in a healthy relationship cake was shared goals and values. I'm a self-development and human experience junkie. I want to get inside people's minds and pull out every dark urge and shadow they've ever hidden from anyone
I want to get to know myself and my loved ones on every possible level. I'm built differently than most. So I knew I wanted a partner with the same values and a relationship that would facilitate my growth and healing.
Ask and you will receive, they say.
My healthiest relationship ruined me the most because I got what I wanted.
I wanted to get to know myself better, so I got a partner who was a mirror. To be honest, every partner we have is a mirror if we're willing to dig deep. I wanted to face my deepest fears, so I found a partner who insisted on intimacy.
I wanted to get to know my darkest shadows better, so I found a partner who fully accepted every aspect of who I was, was, and will be. This all sounds fun - in theory - and I assure you for the masochists in the room it is - but for most it's incredibly hard.
My relationship required me to be my best self. I had to flirt with my dirty edges every encounter and face my fears in almost every communication.
My relationship required that wherever I saw guilt on his part, I had to look at myself first. Our projections and triggers became the topic of daily conversation.
"I'm triggered when you don't return my messages. And I know it's not about you. I know this is my own rejection complex and abandonment issue. What am I supposed to do about it now?”
Recognizing my own self-sabotaging patterns and triggers meant I had to fully express them with him and take the time and space to process, feel, treat, and heal.
That meant he had to do the same when it was his turn. And of course that distance between us triggered my rejection and abandonment wounds in the beginning.
It would throw my nervous system into a whirlwind of invasive, intrusive, and self-deprecating thought patterns.
I also had to learn to communicate when I felt insecure.
In any other relationship we would call all of these "red flags," but in a healthy, conscious, loving relationship, we call that healing and relationship. We were forced to practice patience and compassion, especially in the most difficult moments.
All of these mature and healthy relationship traits have really messed me up, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—but in the best possible way.
I finally had to deal with wounds I had never seen before.
Relationships really are our best healers and the cleanest of mirrors, totally messed up all the damn time.
What they don't tell you about healthy relationships is that intimacy, open communication, healing, trust, and honesty are incredibly difficult when all most of us have ever known are toxic, interdependent partnerships.
It's like entering a twilight zone. You know it's good for you and you'll feel better, but holy moly, it's tough, it's uncomfortable, and it requires regulating your nervous system to improve your life and partnerships in this way.
In order to cope with all my own shadows and healing and at the same time to support him, I have done a lot of work on the regulation of the nervous system: I have learned to feel safe in healthy patterns and I have learned to feel happy and safe, when we are different from those around us.
It's a whole new level of wild and crazy and beautiful and it's personal. It's different for everyone, but believe me, emotional maturity is the sexiest trait.