"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage"
Welcome to The Healing Process newsletter, Let's Heal Together, the LOVE edition!
The cynic in me is suspect of the commercial aspect of Valentines Day but the optimist loves any occasion that encourages humans to acknowledge themselves and each other.
I often say to clients in my private practice and those in the groups I run, that being in a romantic relationship is the fastest path to enlightenment.
This may seem like an over exaggeration, but having supported thousands of women on their healing journey and having been on a spiritual path for over 30 years myself, I've come to believe this to be true.
I've seen many single spiritual students with a strong practice fall apart just a few months into an intimate relationship.
In rehab patients are advised not to get into a new relationship in their first few years of sobriety.
Relationships are confronting, challenging, and revealing. This is why I believe that the litmus test for emotional, mental and spiritual maturity is how well you show up in intimate relationships.
The Oxford Dictionary defines intimacy as a close familiarity or friendship. Intimacy can also be defined as the ability to meet yourself when you are with your beloved (aka Into-Me-See).
True intimacy requires courage to open the heart and vulnerability to let your guard down enough to allow another to truly see you.
I believe that it's the mirroring affect of relationships that make them so confronting. Intellectually knowing how to navigate relationships is not enough. We need to experience ourself in relation to another. I have found this to be true in my own relationship.
Despite my years of therapy and spiritual practice, I have come undone many times in my relationship.
In our weekly Zoom calls my mentor often reminds me that 'self can't see self'. We all have blind spots which can only be reflected back to us as we interact with others.
Dr Judy Ho, an expert in attachment theory claims that intimate relationships is where most people's deepest fears lie because it offers no place to hide. The closer that relationship, the more likely that those blind spots or unconscious parts of our nature will be exposed and mirrored back to us.
Unless the relationship is abusive in some way, true transformation or englightenment is possible with the help of psychotherapy. We begin to heal and grow by facing and then processing the exposed and newly conscious parts of our personality. This can be painful as it usually shows us the unpleasant, often denied or rejected parts of our nature.
One of my favourite concepts in romantic relationships are love languages. Dr Gary Chapman's best selling books The 5 Love Languages is a great way to create and maintain a loving long-lasting relationship.
The five love languages are; acts of service, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, and quality time.
Relationships grow better when we understand each other. It's taken a few years for my beloved and I to understand each other's love language.
My love language is acts of service and gifts. My partner's love language is physical touch and words of affirmation.
Dr Chapman reminds us that when we first meet, we act out all 5 languages as our desire for our new mate runs high. Over time, each partner settles into their own love language and may feel unloved or resentful when their needs are not being met.
My beloved and I have not always been intentional around love languages but our relationship blossoms when we acknowledge and try to respond to each other's love language needs.
Everyone gives and receives love differently, and with a little insight into these differences, we can confidently communicate love well.
If you're single and reading this, you may wonder how a single person meets their love language needs? Check out my 2020 Love Edition newsletter to find more, and how I met my need for receiving gifts while single. Read more about this here!
"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell"