The Responsible, Compassionate Relationship
The Responsible, Compassionate Relationship
A FREE 36 page booklet on building the most deep and meaningful relationship possible. You'll find encouragement for finding a depth of meaning as you learn about yourself and share it, intimately and clearly, with your partner.
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It’s time to look more deeply at establishing a highly functional relationship, which I call the compassionate, responsible relationship. Now, the first and most obvious question is, "compassionate for whom?" and "responsible for what?"
Compassion: For yourself. For your partner. On average, in balance. Without compromise.
Responsible: For yourself. For your behaviour and for meeting your needs. Without manipulation. Without compromise.
That should effectively eliminate 90% of all relationships out there. Those relationships are based upon winning, being declared right, or "teaching my spouse" all the things she or he is too stupid to figure out for him/herself.
As you’ve likely noticed, I am an advocate for being a responsible adult. As such, I am responsible, totally, for what I feel, what I do, how I act and how I choose to relate. As a responsible adult,
I am not genetically predisposed to be a jerk, although that may be how my parents behaved toward each other.
I am not the victim of others, who I judge are out to get me, despite the fact that some people may not like me or have used their influence to attempt to hurt me.
I am not the wise and all-knowing person who, by force of will, persuades others of the error of their ways, using sarcasm, "logic" or nattering to change their minds.
As a responsible adult, I have the choice, always, to deepen my relationship, or to alienate myself from my partner. And all of this, no matter what my partner is doing.
Now, if it appears, on the surface, like a responsible, compassionate relationship is an impossibility, let me assure you that it is not. Nor, on the other hand, is it easy.
Easy is falling into the same old bad habits you’ve always fallen into.
Easy is blaming, rolling around in the mud, using guilt as a weapon.
Easy are all of the manipulative behaviours we discussed in the " Relationships" booklet.
Interestingly, were you to put this booklet aside and simply make use of what you’ve learned in the first two booklets, you would have a successful relationship. I call this "Level One change."
You would be able to identify the patterns of behaviour that get you and keep you stuck.
You would be speaking in "I" language.
You would be identifying what you need and asking for it.
You would be learning to discuss issues through to conclusion rather than simply fighting to win.
The next level of relationships ("Level Two change") is "where the action is." At the level of a responsible, compassionate relationship, we enter into a bond with another person, and that bond is designed, as Scott Peck once put it, to allow each person to actively participate in the Spiritual growth of another person.
I unpack Peck’s language to mean that, in my relationship with Dar, we have in each other a witness for what we are learning about ourselves. This "witnessing" is a participation, through dialogue, in the depth work (soul work) each of us is undertaking. Our loving for each other is somehow mysteriously tied up in our willingness to enter into the depths of ourselves, and then to reveal what we find to each other – both the mundane and the significant. And this witnessing involves a commitment to comment on Dar’s process, and vice versa.
For example, I used to have a doom and gloom scenario that would play in my head, concerning money. As in, we don’t have enough, I’m not working hard enough (despite 10 hour days 7 days a week . . . ) I should stop counselling and get a "real" job, etc., etc., etc. At the heart of this scenario is my deep belief that worth is measured in work – that if I never stop, I must be valuable. It is only in the last two months that I have chosen to dismantle this belief, slow down and begin to notice who I am at this stage in my walk. Needless to say, I have shared my interior theater with Dar for some years now.
I suspect that Dar has listened to my fears and doom and gloom scenarios once per month for 16 years. I hold this up as a shining example of her patience, as she waited for me to work my way through this self-created dilemma. (Please note, by the bye, that my language in describing the above was "I" language; I’m emphatically not blaming Dar for my internal drama. Dar listens, nods sympathetically, encourages me to tell her more, and after five minutes, I wind down and get over myself.) Because of our disciplined process, we have been able to listen to each other over the years, offer support and encouragement for continued exploration – and we’ve reaped the benefits when we’ve reached clarity regarding our issues.
Contrast that with the case study that begins the next chapter. Happy reading, and if you like this booklet, tell a friend.
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