I love getting questions from you guys. Not only does it let me know where we so often struggle, but it gives me an opportunity to truly show up and serve.
Today’s episode is all about one of my favorite topics [and areas of expertise] as we dive into maintaining intimacy during times of deep spiritual expansion.
Before we dive in here, let me first say that the way I view the world is through a broad relationship lens. We create our life experiences by how we choose to relate to them. We create our personal relationships by how we choose to relate to others. We create the deepest self-love or the deepest self-loathing by how we choose to relate to ourselves, our inner voice, and our insecurities. And we control our capacity for faith, trust, grace, and surrender by how we choose to relate to our spirituality.
Our worlds are created based on relationships and there are so many things that go into learning how to relate to things in a way that helps us feel empowered – from the stories we create about our life events, the narratives we tell ourselves that explain someone’s words or behaviors or even more importantly, what someone doesn’t say or do. But relationships are way more than simply being aware of our stories and narratives. They’re also about building in healthy communication, choosing to see the people we love through the best light, giving the people we love the benefit of the doubt, and knowing how to resolve conflict quickly and assertively that creates space for more intimacy instead of separation.
I’ve spent the grand majority of the past 17 years learning how to have healthier relationships. For much of my young adulthood, my life was littered with broken friendships, horrendous relationships with my parents, codependent relationships with romantic partners, and an angry, resentful, closed off relationship with the God I was taught to believe in.
Where we’re going in today’s episode builds upon a lot of the tools and skills I teach my clients, especially the couples I work with, to have better communication, one, but also how to stay in the room when conflict arises, how to have difficult conversations, and how to create space for you to change and evolve in such a way where you don’t outgrow your partner.
Most of us want long term relationships – not built out of obligation, but built out of healthy love. We want marriages to last, friendships to maintain, and our relationships with our family members to be something we cherish and can lean on.
We all need people to help us meet our basic human needs of love and belonging. So today’s episode is going to be a blend of some of my most potent relationship skills as well as diving into creating a healthy relationship environment where both people are allowed to be Wild & Holy.
You ready? Let’s dig in.
We’ve just wrapped up a powerful three part series on the three spiritual shifts accompanying expansion. As a recap, we’ve talked about paradigm shifts, shifting our TFDs, and embodiment. We’ve talked about how each of these shifts change the way we walk through the world and we’ve also talked about how these shifts that accompany expansion actually change the person that we are and how we not only relate to ourselves differently, but also the world.
These shifts are huge! These shifts are the exact processes we go through to evolve to a next version of ourselves and when we’re in relationship with anyone, whether it be a parent, a friend, or a romantic partner, it is crucial that we build in healthy communication as we’re evolving so we don’t get to this place where our loved ones no longer recognize us or we feel as though we’ve outgrown them.
Today’s episode is how we actually stay in relationship with the people we love while also evolving. And then I’ll be wrapping up with some tools to use in your own relationships to discuss big topics that are extremely relevant in recent events – how to find common ground when political views differ, how to talk about racism and white supremacy, how to give your partner the benefit of the doubt when their growth doesn’t match your own, as well as point out some things that are NOT helpful in trying to bring your loved one along with you as you’re awakening to new truths. Sometimes knowing what not to do can be just as helpful as knowing the right course of action to take.
So, I want to start with a story.
In 2009, I met my husband out at a bar. It was a neighborhood bar that many pilots frequented and truth be told, my friend had to drag me out that night as I had no interest being anywhere busy after serving raw oysters and cocktails for 8 hours that Friday weaving through crowds of people in downtown Charleston. I was sticky and reeked of seafood, but she begged me just enough that I finally said, “okay”.
Back then, I was in the prime of drinking days. I alternated between adderol and cocaine every now and then just to break up the monotony. I was as far from God as one could be and with no real urgency to be any different. The pain I was still carrying from a string of broken relationships was enough to make me still want to numb and even though on the outside I was progressing well in life through grad school, on the inside, I still felt like a train wreck.
I hadn’t come to this place where I had made peace with a lot of my demons. I still hadn’t come to a place where I really believed self-love was possible. I still hadn’t come to this place where I had truly understood the meaning that no one would ever be able to love you enough to suffice for loving yourself. And my relationships showed it.
I depended on others to be my mirror of self-worth. Anytime conflict would show up in my life, I’d be terrified of confronting it. I was so deeply scared of being abandoned as it’d be reason to believe I wasn’t enough, I often shoved my feelings, settled for far less that I deserved, and found myself in toxic relationships where the other person relied just as heavily on me for their own well-being and it was a friggin’ mess.
When I met my husband, everything was foreign about him. He didn’t play the same games as other people did and instead of finding myself staying the night every night right away like I had in previous relationships, I found him over seas for weeks on end where I literally couldn’t be codependent.
Intimacy could no longer be built through sex and I found myself in a completely different relationship than I ever had where I actually had to be with myself and fulfill some of my own emotional needs because he literally was not there to do it for me.
As I look back now, God knew exactly what she was doing. The wisdom of this match created the perfect storm for me to come face to face with all the toxic patterns I’d relied upon previously, which always ended painfully.
My husband, in many ways, was the catalyst that brought me back to God, not because he was deeply spiritual, but because of the way God showed up in him. It’d been three years since my friend had passed away when I met him. The anger and resentment that used to burn fiercely through me had turned to smoldering coals that still had heat, but not near the intensity of the inferno they’d once been.
For the first time, I found myself in healthy love. We hardly fought, which for some time, I figured was truly odd. I’d pick fights only to realize how self-sabotaging it was to keep someone at a distance. I learned to fight differently, communicate differently, stay in the room when things got tough instead of running away, be vulnerable and let someone in, but more than that, I learned to love – like really love. Not codependent love, but healthy, interdependent, freeing, expansive love. And it was this kind of love that has given me the radical opinion that it isn’t always about loving ourselves first to find ourselves in healthy love. Sometimes, it takes healthy love to have the courage to truly love ourselves. This is how it was for me.
And it was life-changing.
I share this story with you to give you a picture of where I was then, who I was then, because if you compare it to who I am now – it’s vastly different. I’ve gone on several spiritual journeys since then all encompassed in the same relationship. We’ve grown closer over the past eight years even though I’ve changed immensely.
And as I look back as to how this has all been possible, there have been several threads that have supported this growth, which I think are valuable lessons for any relationship.
Expansion requires vulnerability.
Expansion requires communication.
Expansion requires permission.
Expansion requires freedom.
Expansion requires touching base.
Expansion requires courage.
Expansion requires truth.
Having Difficult Conversations about White Privilege, White Supremacy, Racism, and Politics with those you love:
▶︎ Invite the other person to the conversation.
▶︎ Watch the ways you discharge your shame by comparing your views to theirs.
▶︎ Create a positive relationship environment for someone to be in a vulnerable space with you.
▶︎ Do container building before hand.
▶︎ Have an exit strategy.
▶︎ Make repairs quickly and assertively.
▶︎ Communicate your faults and clarify your needs.
▶︎ Offer suggestions on how to do things better next time.
For additional communication strategies, download my free eBook here: The Conscious Couple’s Guide to Managing Conflict: Four Loving Agreements for Disagreement and Resolution.
What other tools have you found helpful in managing difficult conversations with your loved ones?
Leave them in the comments below!
Join me this Friday for “After the Episode”! I’ll be going live on my Facebook page to dive even deeper into this week’s episode, offer additional thoughts and tips, and take your questions! Make sure you’ve liked my Facebook page HERE to be notified when I go LIVE!
Lastly, have you heard about Wild & Holy Weekend? If you’re ready to live your truth and step into your fullest expression, this is your personal invitation to join me for my last retreat until Fall 2018. Find out all the details here for an amazing weekend of truth telling, truth seeking, truth owning, and brave action!