© Dick Rauscher, 2011
It is a rare person that does not struggle in their relationships with others. This is particularly true in close relationships with family members, our children, neighbors, co-workers, and close friends.
Why? What makes our relationships with these people so challenging, and even exhausting at times?
The answer is simple. These relationships are a mirror that give us an opportunity to look at ourselves…..our words, our beliefs, our assumptions, our attitudes, and especially our behaviors.
They challenge us to grow. To live in an ongoing state of becoming. They encourage us to look inward. To become self-aware. To stop blaming others for “our” feelings.
Relationships with those we are close to can be a path to awakening and transformation. But the transformation of our consciousness can be difficult emotional work.
Because our primitive ego does not like looking at itself, our initial reaction to conflict is usually the assumption that the other person should change. Not us! After all, they’re the ones causing the conflict.
But over time, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we will begin to listen to the small quiet voice inside telling us that it’s “possible” that perhaps “some” of the conflict “might” be “our” responsibility. Of course, at some level of awareness, we almost always know that this is true. We just haven’t wanted to consciously admit it out loud to ourselves.
When we are willing to use relationship conflicts as mirrors to become more “self”-aware, we begin to grow spiritually. Authentic growth in self-awareness and authentic spiritual growth are identical. You can’t have one without the other.
Authentic spiritual growth is traditionally assumed to be related to religion, but unfortunately, inflexible religious beliefs tend to interfere with the creation of healthy relationships. More often than not, rigid religious beliefs tend to lead to marital stress, broken friendships, conflict in families, and global violence.
So the question is how do we determine whether our spiritual and psychological growth is truly authentic. How can we know for sure that we are evolving and learning to engage the world through the lens of a new “self”-consciousness awareness?
There are three simple self administered tests that we can use to answer this question.
First, do we find ourselves not “knowing” as much today as we did yesterday? Are we more able to sit with the questions without demanding answers? Are we more comfortable emptying our ego of it’s many beliefs?
Second, are we are less inclined to tell the world and others how things “should be”? Are we comfortable letting go of what’s right and what’s wrong? Are we able to let others decide for themselves how they need to live their lives…..to let go of the toxic energy of “helpful advice” so often present in the conflict, and lack of compassion, seen in stressed or unhealthy relationships?
And third, are we more focused on becoming the person “we” were created to be? Are we feeling more authentic? Does we are inside more closely match who we are on the outside? Is the world becoming a more peaceful and pleasant place to live in?
Are we becoming more comfortable with silence? Are we able to see the beam in our own eye more clearly, and worry less about the speck in the eye of others? Is the concept of do no harm and not speaking unless we can improve upon the silence beginning to make more sense?
If you can answer yes to some of these questions, you are growing….spiritually and psychologically. Stay on the path.
Authentic spiritual growth, the ability to grow in self-awareness, is essential to create happy, stress free relationships with others, and most importantly, a compassionate relationship with ourselves.
I would love to hear your ideas or questions. Click on the comment link below to comment.