Everyday I am reminded of how much our unconscious patterns – thoughts, behaviors, fears, judgments, assumptions and more – impact our lives. They so often define how we feel about the day, how nice (or not so nice) we are to ourselves, how we interact with our co-workers and friends, and how we interact with our beloved or even with people we haven’t meet yet! (i.e. perspective friends or beloveds).
I see myself and so many men and women around me who have been “programmed” to be a certain way, expect certain things, and to keep a “safe distance”. Our unconscious patterns drive us and then we wonder why life is the way it is and not the way we want it to be.
To have the joy, love, peace, and passion we want, we need to become conscious of ourselves and our environment – including the people in our lives. In the world of relationships, I call this Conscious Relating. Conscious relating truly means living and speaking from my heart – whether that communication happens verbally, through writing or through the touch of my hand. And… to live from your heart you must be conscious of what’s in your heart…which leads us to the first characteristic of Conscious Relating.
Looking deeper, conscious relating has four main characteristics: self-awareness, other-awareness (in other words, seeing and listening), taking responsibility, and authentic communication. We’ll take a brief look at each of these characteristics here and then in upcoming newsletters we’ll dive into more detail on each topic.
Conscious relating starts with self-awareness. In order to express ourselves honestly we have to know what we feel, what we want, or what we need. In order to speak honestly, we have to know what the truth is within ourselves… And for some of us, that may seem daunting – it did to me not so many years ago. I often had no idea what I felt, needed, or wanted… So how good do you imagine I was at sharing myself with others and expressing my needs and wants? …Not so good… lousy as a matter of fact! Start paying attention to yourself… it’s critical to your happiness.
Next, other-awareness reminds us that we are actually relating to another person or group of people and in order to have a conscious relationship we have to see and listen to the other person. We might remember that life isn’t all about us… The fact is the quality of our relationships often determines the quality of our life. And with that being said, life can get crazy and intense and we might feel like there is barely time to breathe! …We can forget that other people have needs, feelings, and desires too. So, stop, listen and really take notice of those you are relating to. How are they in this moment?
Conscious relating also means taking responsibility for everything that happens between the two of you (or the group of you). How you show up in any situation has a direct influence on the response of the other person or people. Our emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and rules about how things should be all directly impact our experiences in life – with family, friends, communities, co-workers, employees…everyone. Ask yourself, how am I contributing to this situation?
Finally, communicating authentically brings it all together. Have you ever noticed that when you meet someone and they are honest and real with you – no matter what the topic – you are often inexplicably drawn to them? Our hearts naturally open to realness and authenticity. It’s attractive. When someone we’re with expresses themselves authentically, it gives us permission to be real too. Ever noticed that when someone shares a personal “secret” we feel safe to share a secret of our own? Or that when someone in a room sheds a tear, it makes it ok for us to shed one too? This is power of authentic communication. Ask yourself, am I being real in my communication?
So, that’s an introduction to Conscious Relating. Together we’ll explore each aspect of conscious relating – relating with our intimate partners, our colleagues, strangers, family… everyone – including you!
Until next time… Blessings to all, Joanna
In love, light and ecstasy,
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.