As my life experience grows even richer, I now believe that relationships of all kinds form the foundation for a happy, balanced, successful life. The largest and longest study on longevity conducted for over 70 years by Harvard University agrees as well. The ability to form and maintain family relationships, deep friendships, and maintain a healthy community were the strongest factors in longevity and in happiness. People matter and the people in our lives matter.
Last year I wrote a blog about surviving a relationship break and how to heal yourself from a broken relationship. Now I want offer help for growing and creating a healthy relationship.
Recently I heard about a group development theory by Bruce Tuckman used currently to help teams called “Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform”. The instant it crossed my field, I loved it. Makes perfect sense especially when observing teams.
As I reflected longer, it began to make sense in individual relationships as well as groups. Intimate relationships serve as a mechanism for us to heal old wounds acquired during precognitive interactions with our earliest caregivers. We all experience and acquire these wounds in a sort of “right of human passage”. Great theory and research abounds in this field. This wounding also helps set up the conditions, ideas, and themes we choose to explore in each life.
Back to Tuckman’s theory, in my own marriage of four years, I can identify each of these four stages (with many other thrown in, but that is for another blog - wink, wink.) the storm comes when suddenly our intimate partner triggers those old wounds. Not understanding this concept, at this juncture, many relationships struggle to not break apart. If the two people involved manage to ride this storm - and being honest here - can take years, they establish the foundation for a loving, deep, ongoing intimacy and move on to the perform stage.
When at the storm stage, what can be done? How to establish a healthy relationship? From my personal experience and coupled with my post graduate studies in coaching and counseling, I believe the single most effective tool is what I call:
“Have the Conversation”
That is correct; it is that simple; speak your truth and allow the other person the safe space to speak their truth. It might not be pretty, and can feel uncomfortable and frankly awful at times. AND, by staying brave and walking through the process, old, built up and stuck emotional energy flows and moves which brings both people back towards High Frequency by gaining clarity about the inner feelings of a partner and from the lightness that comes from moving heavy emotional energy.
With the correct partner, this leads to understanding and negotiation so that both people’s needs are met. An intimate “team” forms as both compromise a strong personal stance for the greater good of the team; a much Higher Frequency position as long as what is compromised does not cause a deeper harm. This sort of agreement arises from an inner compassion for the other and overrides a highly narcissistic positioning. AND as a reminder, each season has its time and place. Sometimes narcissism is necessary.
Working with many people over the years, most have not developed the ability to speak up clearly with their most intimate partner. Speaking your truth requires a large amount of self love. People express real fear to speak up their opinion, truth, hurt, etc. They are afraid of the “blowback” or consequences. So they never “Have the Conversation”. What happens instead? Suppression which leads to depression and if not addressed, this combination of suppression and depression builds up over years and can lead to a mental (psychotic) breakdown.
I identified a few tips to help with the skill to “Have the Conversation”:
Hope these help!
Always remember: this is YOUR life. Speaking your truth bestows a certain blessedness. This one is subtle, forgive me if I haven’t explained thoroughly. You will always be your greatest advocate. When you do advocate for yourself, this sends a message to your cells and causes a chemical change in your brain and your physiology. You grow healthier.
May you have the courage and strength to “Have the Conversation” you need to have!