Sunday, September 12, 2010

The First Secret to Happy Relationships

By Julie Rahm

College football is my favorite sport to watch. I love to cheer for the Cornhuskers from my alma mater, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. When Bo Pelini became their coach the team had just completed a 5 win – 7 loss season. But Pelini was unsympathetic and allowed no self-pity among the players. In fact, he calmly and directly told them such a season was unacceptable and did not reflect who they really were. I am paraphrasing, but that was the essence of his message, and that is the relationship secret. He saw the team for who they truly were, not as what their behavior made them appear to be. And, in a few short years the result has been rankings in the NCAA Top 10 and a team with great chemistry among the players.

How do you approach your relationships with your family and others? Do you feel sorry for them in tough times? How often do you feel emotions like anxiety, frustration, confusion, humiliation or anger because of their behavior? In almost every case you feel those emotions because the person did not meet your expectations. You hold the vision of the beautiful spiritual beings the people really are. And their behavior is incongruent with your vision. If you allow people to pull you down into their behavior being who they are, you feel negative emotions. The secret to remaining happy in your relationships is to hold onto your vision of the perfect spiritual beings people truly are.

How can you hold your vision when people’s behavior is so contrary to it? Perhaps a specific example would help. One of my clients is the mother of a tween-aged son whose behavior at school continues to get worse, and who is becoming more disrespectful of her every day. She allowed herself to be drawn into her son’s daily behavior and almost lost sight of who her son really is. We opened her metaphorical tool kit and got to work. Her metaphorical level showed her to be way off balance. Her metaphorical flashlight revealed that her son was not behaving like the beautiful spiritual being she knew him to be. Her mind was full of negative thoughts: “I’m failing as a mother”; “I’m afraid my son will hurt someone physically and end up in jail”; “I’m humiliated that other people know that I can’t get my son under control”; “It was a mistake to have children”. We took out her metaphorical pliers and plucked out the negative thoughts and emotions one by one. With her metaphorical utility knife we cut the cords to the cumulative effects of all the times she felt she was not good enough.

And then we hammered in the thought framework for a positive relationship with her son. We started with thoughts from Abraham/Esther Hicks. Abraham would say that the son’s purpose was to reveal what is wrong with the system of school to which we subject our children. The system wants conformity to rules, many of which smother the spirit. No matter what children do, it will never be enough for the system to show them acceptance and love for their uniqueness. Knowing he could not do enough, her son rebelled. We hammered understanding into my client’s thought framework. And we hammered in the vision of who she knew her son to be in his perfect spirit. It was my client’s job to hammer in that vision so clearly that nothing her son did could drag her away from it. By holding her clear vision, she was creating the space for her son to step into it, reconnecting his body with his spirit.

The only thing left to do was for my client to have a conversation with her son, which we practiced several times. She needed to tell her son that she loved him and who she saw him to be. And, no matter what behaviors he exhibited she would no longer allow herself stray from her vision of who he truly is. When she did so, she felt badly. Holding the vision enabled her to feel good. It would be up to her son whether or not he decided to step into the space she made for him.

As you might imagine, her son was blown away by the conversation. Gradually he became more respectful. Mother and son continue to make positive strides together.

You can create the same kind of positive changes in any relationship. The secret is strongly holding the space for people to be who they truly are by seeing them as fully integrated in body and spirit.

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