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Pain, regardless of where or how it appears in our relationship, can either remain the seed of a distress destined to flower into a mounting resentment, or we can choose to use this same pain consciously. Then it can be transformed into the seed of something new, true, and beautiful: the birth of a new level of self-understanding – the realization of a higher order of love that can never turn against itself or anyone else.
A student once asked me, “It feels like my partner and I have come to a dead-end in our relationship. I don’t think he’s aware of it, but I sure am. I love him, but...I can’t let go of an old resentment that always rears its ugly head anytime he acts out one particular part of his nature that I just can’t stand.”
Many people have a similar problem. Here are some helpful tips for transcending the pain of relationships.
1) Transform Your Resentment into Compassion.
Any growing feeling of resentment toward our partner begins with closing our eyes to just how similar is our own character to the one we judge in them.
Here’s a big hint: weakness always pounces on weakness. The end of feeling this kind of resentment comes with seeing the above as being true. In this same revelation is also the birth of compassion. As far as your feeling of having reached the end of your road together, never forget the following: Nothing in the universe has the power to stop you and your partner from starting your relationship all over except for one thing: the temptation to identify with parts of yourself that want you to believe that the limit of your present understanding about your unwanted situation is the same as the limit of your possibilities to transcend it.
2) Take the First Step
If your own thoughts haven’t proven much use in the “better relationships department. Or if you feel that you don't have what it takes to “make it to the end of this painful journey.” Or if you just feel stuck, in your relationship, remember it isn’t your job to make it to the “end” of whatever you imagine is the “end” of love’s possibilities.
Love and its possibilities are endless, in every meaning of the word. So forget everything else but this: your job is to just take the first step, nothing more, nothing less. The rest happens naturally, as the illustration that follows makes clear.
Imagine a man trekking up a steep mountain path. All he sees ahead of him is what looks too hard for him to climb. But he takes one step at a time until and with what feels like the last step he can take he summits a small ledge. Waiting there for him, spread out before his grateful eyes, is a view so beautiful it almost moves him to tears. He’s thankful he took that last step. Otherwise, he’d have never known such a place exists for anyone who will suffer the challenge it takes to reach it. All of his doubts, even his fatigue, fall away. He looks up, and can’t help himself from wanting to climb higher.
3) Trust There is a Higher Love.
The fact that there are real places like this, not just on some distant mountain, but also waiting for you in the depths of your heart, is why your lower nature speaks to you in disparaging tones; it wants to discourage you from embarking on your journey to know higher love.
It senses, in some strange way, that even the smallest step you take in this upward direction is the same as walking away from its influence over you, and your relationship with the one you love. So, take that step, no matter how small, shaky, or uncertain. Take it. Let love prove to you that whatever it asks of you – no matter how impossible it may seem at the moment – it will provide you in your time of need.
Adapted from Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together by Guy Finley.
©2018 Guy Finley
Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.