Are you someone who avoids conflict at all costs?
When you have a big fight do you take someone back with open arms?
Do you bite your tongue and hope those negative moments will quickly pass?
Do you push your feelings and experience aside to be agreeable?
It might feel like you are keeping the peace, but what do you win?
I’ve been there. I’ve tried to stay calm, keep things easy and light and try to find a more compassionate route.
But I’ve also come to realize that I miss out on participating in the very interaction that I want and am afraid of losing.
I’ve learned a hard lesson – the more you try to keep the relationship in a way that you imagine it should be, the more you end up compromising it. Let me explain.
Love is a losing game
Love and relating aren’t about winning. It’s very much a losing game.
So many of our relationships are about letting go of our expectations, and ideas of who we think we are, and realizing the reality of the situation we are in.
The reality is, we lie to each other, we deceive each other, we make promises we can’t keep, we get distracted, and we neglect and hurt one another.
What if I said,
Love isn’t about winning at all?
Fights, arguments, disagreements, and misunderstandings are moments of reckoning.
They ask a fundamental question of you:
Am I being honest? Not just with my lover, but with myself?
The moments of arguments, discomfort, and conflict call us to look at how we’ve spoken and behaved with someone else.
We need to be able to recognize the difference between what we want, what they want, and what we can give in a given moment.
We must be willing to move past our own opinions so that we can speak with an accurate truth.
The negotiations in each relationship require a strong sense of self-knowledge. They ask us to see if our thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions line up. Or in other words, are you living congruently?
After reading the book of a clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, entitled, Beyond Order, two tips on relationships and honesty immediately stood out.
1) Relationships take courage
Peterson writes: “There must be a broader, relationship-wide strategy in place to maintain romance with your partner across time. Regardless of what that strategy might be, its success is going to depend on your ability to negotiate. To negotiate, you and the person you are negotiating with must first know what you each need (and want)—and second, be willing to discuss both forthrightly.”
It takes a great amount of honesty and courage to be raw and truthful with the person we are closest to – ourselves.
And also to the person who can mirror us back to ourselves – our partner.
We have to learn how to handle mismatched expectations, face rejection, and navigate a seemingly unending game of psychological warfare in the guise of desire.
We all have areas of weakness and flaws. They come up as we let people in close, try to intimacy, handle our emotions, and communicate our needs, wants, and vulnerabilities.
2) Punishment is counterproductive, especially with someone you love
Do you find that you want to make your lover suffer when you think that they have hurt or wronged you? Again, what outcome does this achieve?
We can get angry, and tell someone how they failed, without our attention or affection.
But what do you win? And who ultimately suffers?
Peterson writes: “Here is a rule: do not ever punish your partner for doing something you want them to continue doing. Particularly if it took some real courage—some real going above and beyond the call of duty—to manage.”
He reminds us that it takes time to get to know someone else. That it takes time to change. Relationships are more ground for patience and perseverance than punishment if we so chose to take that on.
So if you are with someone willing to try to be upfront and honest and relate, how can you respond to that?
Instead of punishing another when things don’t go our way, we can influence the behavior of a partner for the better. We can aim towards encouraging positive actions, and open communication. And humbly express gratitude to one another along the way.
Relating is not easy by any means. But it’s something we can continue to refine and calibrate.
If you are struggling with your relationships and not sure of what you want it can be difficult, to be honest.
If you find that you are not being honest and true with yourself and your lovers, it’s a great moment to look within, a bit deeper.
Have you considered getting to the root of the issue of why you hold yourself back from true intimacy?
You see, most of our shortcomings in love stem from our complicated inner relationship with ourselves.
So how can you fix the external without seeing to the internal first?
I learned this from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, in his incredible free video on Love and Intimacy.
So, if you want to improve the relationships you have with others and start to understand your innate needs more deeply, then Rudá’s talk is a great starting point.
You’ll find practical solutions and much more in Rudá’s powerful video, solutions that’ll stay with you for life.