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The Paradox of Connection

Let's face it, relationships are hard. No matter how much you love another, chances are if you spend enough time with them, you're going to bump up against each other (and not in the sexy way). It's totally normal (and actually healthy) - the problem lies not in the conflict, but in our glaring inability to solve it calmly. We see this in most families, many relationships, and even on a global scale. If there's one thing that humans could collectively work on right now, coming together to support each other in a healthy way just may be it.

When emotions rise and tempers flare, we tend to get our backs up. The energetic exchange reminds of us a time when someone got upset and we got hurt. It could be an explosive parent, a super strict teacher, or even a well meaning friend. But all of us, somewhere, picked up the idea that in order to be safe, in order to be loved, we need to keep things calm. I call bullshit.

All emotions are healthy and everything you feel has a purpose. Your partner is going to piss you off (and you, them). If you're doing it right, you're going to get triggered. You'll butt heads, disagree, and possibly even want to kick each other in the crotch (please don't). It's totally normal, but since so many of us have witnessed not-so-healthy expressions in the past, we tend to back away from conflict (and even honest expression) in all its forms.

Feeling closer to another (partner, family, friend) actually requires you to be both willing to witness them at their worst, and to back away to give them space when needed. Feeling calm requires a certain level of detachment from what isn't yours, and creating a deep connection means being willing to set, express, and enforce boundaries. This flies in the face of the outdated, albeit romantic notion of being inexplicably entwined with the person you love. I don't know about you, but that idea just doesn't work for this girl.

So if you're struggling to feel truly connected in your relationships, turn things on their head, and consider doing things differently (think George Costanza doing The Opposite on Seinfeld).

Have the urge to run away? Stay and work through the discomfort.

Feel like you need to cling? Give yourself some sacred space.

Want to bite your tongue in order to avoid conflict? Give yourself permission to share your truth (even if it means getting angry).

Relationships are hard. But what makes them harder is the idea that we need to show up in a certain way, play by a set of ridiculous rules, or stick around at all costs. It's typically our own wounding that brings these triggers up, and although it's your responsibility to do your own healing ... inside a truly connected relationship tends to be the best place to do it.


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