Practicing Self Awareness Helped Heal My Relationship
To be young and in love… it’s not always sunshine and rainbows like they depicted in the disney movies. Nobody warned us that we could actually be the beast disguised as beauty.
Seven years ago I met the love of my life although I didn’t know then that he was the love of my life because our relationship was very rocky in the beginning. We’ve had our fair share of toxicity and it pains me to admit that I was the aggressor in most situations. Swallowing that pill hasn’t been easy. It took some serious inner work to heal and become aware of the trauma that I was inflicting on my partner. I decided that I could no longer allow my ignorance to hold me back from that next level of maturity.
This may seem like common knowledge but everyone doesn’t interpret and process information the exact same way. Even siblings that grew up in the same house can turn out to be the complete opposite of one another. That being said, anyone you come across will of course come with a different set of perspectives than you. Some ideas you will both agree on and some you won’t. This is completely natural.
Unfortunately these irrefutable facts never clicked for me until recently. In my mind, I was right 99.9% of the time and the other person must have been confused or just didn’t know what they were talking about. As a result, tiny disagreements would turn into huge ego wars. Sometimes they would lead to a break up (one time I kicked him out of the apartment, yikes).
The one thing we did agree on was that we didn’t want to give up on each other. So the break up led to a make up and the cycle continued. Until we both realized that it wasn’t us versus each other but that it was us versus the problem – a lack of self awareness, a lack self control and an unwillingness to detach from our ego.
I always had to be right instead of being understanding. I couldn’t even admit that I was wrong even when I was actually wrong. It was like an infectious disease.
Was being right worth constantly being at odds with the person I love? Would it be so awful to for once empathize with how he felt and/or try and see things from his point of view? Was my desperate need to be right at this moment an attempt to soothe and protect my ego? Was my ego that fragile?
Sometimes we feel so strongly about our feelings, ideas and opinions that we will go as far as attaching our identity to them. You don’t always have to defend yourself as if your opinion is who you are. People can disagree and both be right.
When you feel yourself being triggered it’s best to just stop and walk away for a moment. This is where self awareness comes in. It’s your ability to notice your feelings, your physical sensations, your reactions, your habits, your behaviors, and your thoughts. Visualize yourself reacting in the same toxic way you’re used to. Visualize the same scenario happening again. Visualize the yelling, the disrespect, and the tantrums. Remember, that is your ego causing a scene, not you.
Can you stay aware long enough to choose a different reaction this time? Maybe you could not respond and just listen? Maybe using the words: I understand, wouldn’t be so bad?
It’s difficult to control your emotions when you weren’t given the proper tools to deal with them in a healthy way. However, now that we’re adults it’s our responsibility to heal and learn how to communicate effectively. It’s not my partner’s responsibility to heal my wounds, especially when he didn’t create them. But I do appreciate his patience and unwavering support as I do the work myself.
A great tool that I use to practice staying aware is meditation. Meditating for 10 minutes everyday by envisioning the best version of yourself will help you to reprogram your subconscious mind. I guarantee you will start to see changes in your behavior. You will begin to consciously choose different responses to your triggers until the triggers start to disappear all together. This is a very healing process.
Wow, to think that my partner and I can have a genuine conversation now without all of the ugliness in between. Without all of the unresolved issues and hurt feelings. Without the power struggle and competition. Even when we don’t see things eye to eye the love is always there and we can move on with ease. When you choose understanding above all there’s nothing that can stand between you.