Relationships can create the greatest joy or the greatest pain—including the relationship you have with yourself! When you are aware of your behaviours, it is easier to create the relationships you want. Awareness allows you to understand your behavioural patterns rather than being unconsciously driven by them. Emotional issues arising from relationships can become all-consuming, drain you of energy, and take you away from your peace. However, becoming more conscious or aware of your behaviours and changing your perspective allows you to develop deep and loving relationships.
Being conscious involves observing your thoughts and feelings rather than being swept away by them. This new awareness allows you to grow, and make choices in your life that make you happy. As you become more conscious it helps the quality of your relationships improve because you have the skills to deal with your reactions and conflict in a healthy way. Conflict can be an opportunity to bring you closer together, and create greater understanding, if it is dealt with in a constructive way.
A conscious person respects the choices of others. People no longer have to be a certain way around you for you to be happy—you are in touch with your internal happiness system. It is freeing for everyone when you respect others and let them experience life in their way. You are responsible for experiencing your life in a way that makes you happy. If someone wants your advice, it is likely they will ask for it. Unsolicited advice is generally unwelcome as it gives the unspoken message, I know better than you.
To be in touch with your internal happiness system you need to go beyond the chatter of your mind to a place where you feel loving. When you experience yourself as the loving individual you are, you will recognise that same love in other people. When you see the best in yourself, you see the best in others. For example, if you constantly think guilty thoughts (even unconsciously), guilt will manifest in your relationships. However, if you go beyond those thoughts, recognising that guilty thoughts are not who you are, they are just thoughts or a trick of the mind, you will connect to the real you, which is love. You can then choose to base your relationships on love rather than guilt. Remain very present in the relationship rather than ruminating over old issues, or worrying about the future, and watch the quality of your relationship skyrocket!
In a conscious relationship, you take full responsibility for your feelings. For example, if you constantly feel fear around a particular person, they are not making you fearful—fearful feelings are being activated in you. It is empowering to take responsibility for those fearful feelings and understand why they are occurring. This person may remind you of another fearful situation. It may be your intuition telling you this is not the right situation for you. Gaining insight into your behavioural patterns allows you to make choices that enable you to maintain loving connections with others.
In a conscious relationship you give the people around you the space and support to take responsibility for exploring their own feelings. You also have the ability to draw clear boundaries. You are able to be empathetic without taking on their feelings, which don’t belong to you. When consciously relating, you develop the skills to manage your energy. Observing and accepting your feelings and acting on them from choice rather than reacting, helps you to feel emotionally stable. An emotionally stable person is usually more fun to be around. When you don’t take things personally and instead stay in the moment, you will be more in tune with people and have wisdom to share.
In a conscious relationship, when issues do arise, you do not gossip. There is a difference between gossiping and using someone you trust as a sounding board to help you gain insight. If a conflict arises, it is important to take responsibility and gain clarity around your feelings. Then if it still seems necessary, get together with the other person and discuss the issue. Once you have sorted out your feelings, you may see things differently and no longer need to discuss the situation.
- Recognise and address conflict in the early phases when it is easier to resolve.
- Deal with conflict if possible by sitting down and discussing it in person. Messages sent by email and text messages can be easily misunderstood further escalating the situation. GOLDEN RULE: Speak to someone directly to sort out conflict. However, it is constructive to praise in writing.
- Manage your own emotions by breathing, taking a walk in the park for example, until you calm down and work out what is going on for you.
- Determine if you are reacting to the situation, if so, sort out your reaction independently before talking to the person involved.
- Listening empathetically and acknowledge how the other person feels before you share how you are feeling. When they have been heard it allows them to hear you as their emotions have been diffused.
- Seek first to understand and then to be understood. ~ Stephen Covey
- Take responsibility for your feelings. Say how you feel without criticizing or blaming others. To avoid the person feeling attacked and becoming defensive (escalating the conflict), focus on your feelings rather than on their behaviour. Be open, honest, and communicate only when you are ready to do so from a loving perspective. If your fears or concerns are spoken from a loving place, the other person is more likely to hear you.
- After stating how you feel, it can be helpful to brainstorm ideas. This will help you both come to a natural solution that is more likely to meet both your needs. Be light about it. This process can even be fun! Do not focus on the outcome, but remain open to a range of possibilities.
Innately we all want to connect and get on well with others. Often a conflict can escalate despite our best intentions. Being aware of our “triggers” and what is going on for us internally is the key. When we are aware of our thought and the resulting emotions it give us a choice in relation to any action we may want to take. The ability to consciously choose our behaviours is what determines how “conscious” we are. Develop the ability to turn your focus inward in times of tension and stress and then choose your behaviour to experience the true joy of consciously connecting in your relationships.
To discover more about conscious relationships see: Love Now eCourse