“He/she never listens to me.”
“No matter what I do, it’s never good enough!”
“I can’t trust him/her to follow through.”
“What about my needs?”
On a daily basis, I hear stories from people about their relationships.
They are somewhere on the scale of feeling frustrated - fed-up - frozen - finished.
They are not sure if the relationship will make it or not and whether they truly want it to or not.
They question what is best for themselves, their partner, and their kids.
They have tried talking, therapy, and yelling, as well as silence and separate bedrooms.
As they share their stories about all of the things their partner is doing that causes them pain or drives them crazy, I let them get it out for a while before I jump in and ask,
“What if it’s not about them?
What if this is happening for you instead of to you?”
When we are in relationships, we tend to make it all about the other person. We think about what they did wrong, how their behavior was inappropriate, and what they could or should be doing differently. But here’s the thing. The lessons you need to learn are not about the other person. They are about you!
One of the reasons I tell couples and family members who are experiencing angst in their relationships to run, not walk, to The Shadow Process Workshop is because at The Shadow Process we talk about one of the most powerful tools that can radically shift a relationship – projection!
Projection is the act of 'projecting' a quality of our own onto another. Any time we are triggered, blaming, or judging others as being wrong or the cause of our unhappiness, we are likely in projection. Simply put,
What we can't be with in others is what we can't be with in ourselves.
Our relationships, especially with those people closest to us, serve as our strongest mirrors and greatest guides. They reveal the wounds we need to heal, the actions and patterns that no longer serve us, and the outdated beliefs we need to reveal and shift. They illuminate our shadows – the parts of ourselves we have disowned, hidden from ourselves, or lost. They show us what in us needs to be healed. Our relationships are one of the greatest tools for shedding light on all of our sensitivities and insecurities since
What we can’t stand in others is something that needs to be healed in ourselves.
Ultimately, we all want to be whole and fully expressed. We want to make peace with and have access to all of the parts of ourselves.
But here’s the rub. By definition, we can’t see that which we have disowned.
That is why shadow work is so brilliant! It teaches us to use the mirror of relationship to bring light to the parts of ourselves that we have hidden in the shadows so we can uncover them, find their gifts, integrate them back, and experience a greater sense of wholeness.
That is why after people do The Shadow Process, so many of their relationships shift so dramatically. Instead of focusing on all of the things that their partner/child/parent does that angers, or hurts them, they learn to use their relationships as their mirror. And in doing so:
- They take responsibility for what they need to make peace with in themselves instead of fixating on what is bothering them about their partner.
- They shift from feeling like the victim of their relationship to being the architect of their personal growth.
Bottom line, we take ourselves wherever we go. Until we deal with that which is unhealed within us, we will keep attracting partners who keep triggering those same wounds and shadows. And although it may not feel like a gift, it is. The Universe is actually sending us the messages and messengers to support us in gaining awareness, healing, and evolving.
If you want to learn about projection and how to use your current and past partners as your mirrors, teachers, and guides as opposed to your punching bags, then I encourage you to run, not walk, to The Shadow Process.
It’s time to shift your relationships from the inside out!
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Join us at The Shadow Process September 14th to September 16th in Miami. Learn more and register at http://www.TheShadowProcess.com
(2) Work with the tool of projection:
a. If you are in a relationship, think about the behaviors you see in your partner that you judge as wrong or trigger you. If you are not in an intimate relationship, then identify a person that upsets or frustrates you and think about the behaviors or actions of that person that trigger you.
b. Ask yourself, "What is the quality or characteristic of a person who would display this kind of behavior?"
c. Identify how you display that quality even if it is in a completely different way. If you can't see how you display that quality now, allow yourself to see how you have displayed it in the past or how you could or might display it in the future under different circumstances.
d. Allow yourself to identify how that quality has or could serve, benefit, or protect you.