Over time, relationships build a container through which emotional energy is expressed, much like an individual’s container. Relationship integrity comes from relating in a way that, piece by piece, builds a strong, yet flexible container.
A strong foundation provides support during difficult times and flexibility to adapt to the constant changes that life brings. Every interaction that two people exchange will either build-up or tear down this structure.
Looking at the patterns of energy exchange within a relationship can often provide insight into the current state of integrity.
Energy is often exchanged unconsciously in relationships. If one person is chronically giving or taking energy from the other, a sickness, or disruption, in the relationship will eventually emerge. When disruption eventually appears it can come as a bit of a surprise.
I think most of us have had the experience of all of a sudden becoming aware of an imbalance. We say things like, “It just hit me,” or, “All of a sudden the problem between us became clear.” Some relationships have a strong enough base to begin healing at that moment of awareness, while others deteriorate and eventually end.
Continually having an awareness of the energy exchange patterns between you and your partner is the most proactive approach to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Patterns of energy exchange can be determined by looking at the behavior dynamics in the relationship.
– Is one person always trying to draw out the other?
– Does one person monopolize all of the conversation, pushing the other away?
– Simply observe the behaviors and then ask yourself in what direction the energy flows.
– Is it being reciprocated?
Observing a dynamic can be very difficult to do.
This is true in part because we automatically go into the unconscious dance of the dynamic, and also because our unconscious motive may be to manipulate the energy. The key is to step back and remember to observe rather than manipulate the situation toward a certain outcome.
Once you observe the blocks and imbalances, you can begin the work of balancing the system. If an imbalance occurs chronically or over a long period of time, the container of the relationship will become fragile and eventually crack open. This wounded state can provide an opportunity for healing if both parties are willing.
A healthy relationship will be strong enough to contain intense emotions.
Just as emotions naturally flow through individuals, they naturally flow in and through relationships. This occurs when each person has the ability to be present while containing and expressing strong and intense emotional energy. Trust and support in the relationship are the other essential ingredients to having the relationship be a strong emotional container.
Often we are drawn together because one person has what another is lacking. The natural growth process will invariably provide opportunities for each party to develop fully within the relationship. Through this maturing process a strong relationship container emerges simultaneously as the individual container is built.
People often hold on to destructive patterns of relating because they are familiar and the unknown can be frightening.
The unhealthy energy exchanges can go on for so long that they begin to define the relationship. At this point, people often fear that if the familiar pattern ends there will be nothing left and the relationship itself will end. In this sense the exchanges, despite the fact that they are unhealthy, are viewed as a way to connect or communicate with one another.
This form of connection temporarily ends when one of the partners withdraws from the unhealthy dynamic, or stops playing their part in it in an effort to foster growth in the relationship. With perseverance, however, what ultimately follows is a much deeper and more meaningful communication based on a spiritual connection rather than on superficial power struggles.
It takes only one person at any given time to take the relationship to a higher level.
When you were a child and decided to stop playing a certain game with your friend, your friend eventually had to quit too, because it was only a game when both of you were playing. In much the same way, once you make the choice to stop playing a disempowering game, your partner will get the message and may follow your lead.
There are times, however, when one individual will not be able to change their unhealthy habits of relating. When this happens a decision needs to be made whether or not to stay in the relationship.
For the most part, when one person stops manipulating energy within a relationship, it either heals faster or ends faster.
The outcome depends partly on the desires of both individuals and partly on the soul or destiny of the relationship. Continuing to “play the game,” however, is what causes unhealthy relationships to go on and on without any resolution.
Commitment in a relationship means loving the other person unconditionally.
Too often we feel that when a commitment is made it comes with a license that gives permission to mold and change our partner as needed. People grow best in an environment of love, forgiveness and acceptance.
The strongest relationships are built when both parties know their limits and set firm boundaries accordingly.
We can do this with love and with the intention to take care of ourselves rather than with the intention of changing the other person. To be yourself and allow your partner to be him – or herself with no strings attached is unconditional love. If it turns out that the choice is to end the relationship, that in itself can be an act of unconditional love.
The vision we hold of another person carries energy.
A judgmental vision carries with it heavy oppressive energy that can feel imprisoning. A non-judgmental vision provides space so that the other person can move and grow. Over time, the vision of the other person affects the relationship, either in a negative or positive way. We have all known marriages that end in divorce after years and years spent with one another.
One person is often saying they need “freedom.” I don’t believe this freedom is usually based on the desire to go out every night or even to date other people. I believe that most often it refers to a need for space–space to be oneself and to transform, move, and grow. An open, ever-evolving vision is the biggest gift we can give another person. It is also the best guarantee that a relationship will endure.
Taking the time to “fuel” oneself from within is essential for long term relationship success.
There are many ways to nourish ourselves as we shift from a dependence on external to internal energy. Nourishing ourselves from within, rather than depending on our partner to feed us, is a daily necessity and is the only way to make interpersonal drama and other addictions obsolete. Only you know what feeds your spirit.
I recommend utilizing a variety of approaches depending upon your interests.
Everyday activities can work as well as more traditional techniques, such as meditation and writing in a journal. Exercising, painting, gardening and even embarking on a long overdue cleaning project are excellent ways to quiet the mind and center oneself. A constant reliance on internal nourishment creates the space for relationships to be based on sharing interests and giving love rather than energy dependence.
When a couple goes through the fire of transformation by choosing to become conscious of previously unconscious patterns of relating, something wonderful happens.
A healthy relationship in which both people find their own source of internal life energy is born.
The relationship takes on an interdependent rather than dependent flavor. Learning to rely on oneself for spiritual and emotional validation often coincides with the discovery of one’s gifts or individual purpose in life. There is nothing more attractive than two people who are each living their life’s purpose TOGETHER. It is not necessary for one person to sacrifice himself or herself for the sake of another. Nor is a deep compromise of one’s core values necessary for two people to live their unique calling together.
Spirit does not demand deep compromise in which both people give up part of what they want to maintain some misguided sense of fairness–unless you are talking about inconsequential choices such as what restaurant to eat at or something of a similar nature. In fact, spirit does not comprehend compromise because when one person is doing what he or she is called to do, it benefits everyone. We are all one at a spiritual or energetic level. Living, speaking and planning from this place produces collaborative win-win arrangements.
Excerpted from Kimberly Kingsley's Opening to Life: Reconnecting With Your Internal Source of Energy, Wisdom and Joy. Reprinted with permission.
About the author
Being a student and teacher of spirituality for over twenty years has taught me one thing: The journey never ends. We are always learning. My journey began with a spiritual awakening in my late twenties, which prompted me to return to school for a Master’s Degree in Counseling.
Today I enjoy a career as a writer, energy coach and speaker. Transformation and healing continue to be my passion and I am blessed to have clear intuition, which helps me see things in a unique way – energetically.
In my latest book, Modern Hippie: An Intuitive Journey Toward a Free-Spirited Life, I share my story and many of the spiritual insights I’ve had along the way.
To know more, visit www.kimberlykingsley.com.