I think a lot of you will probably agree with me on this, in that Disney movies, and all those fairy tales really ruined us in terms of how we define a happy marriage. Growing up, all the way up until probably the last five, or six years. My idea of a happy marriage did not involve conflict. It didn't involve arguments. I thought that if you argued that meant that your relationship was not healthy. Lo and behold, in my experience of conflict in my marriage earlier on and in my past relationships, there were a lot of conflicts. Anytime I got upset or annoyed or something didn't meet my needs, or I felt disappointed in some sense. There was conflict. That led to a lot of different beliefs from me, in my head, my lovely mind. It created a lot of drama for me. Beliefs, like, “Oh, I'll never find someone who fully gets me.” It was just a lot of back and forth a lot of conflicting beliefs around a conflict in relationships, about myself about my partners. And then there are the people that you choose to hang out with, which is important, by the way, and their relationships and what beliefs you are creating in your mind about that.
Whatever you expose yourself most to, is what you're going to start believing is normal, even when normal doesn't mean healthy. More on that “on another episode, though, I have a lot to say about normal versus healthy. But if you stop and think about it, what would a relationship without conflict even be like? Right? What would that even be like? And growing up with that? That vision of what a happy relationship looks like, you know, being conflict free. It sounds good, especially if you're in a relationship where it's lots of ups and downs.
Meaning you are prioritizing the comfort, the wants the desires, and the needs of your partner over your own. You are saying they matter more than me when the actual truth is that you both mattered the same. When you self abandon, you're essentially saying, Well, I can deal with this. But I want to control how my partner sees me, and want to make sure that they continue to love me. So I'm going to give in to their needs, even if it means that I'm compromising. I'm sacrificing, I'm just sucking it up and dealing with it because we know what we can handle, but that's not healthy. Both people deserve to be heard, to be seen, have their needs addressed, and work through them together as a team.
Plus, there is no way someone knows exactly how to be on it like on as in, you are just showing up perfectly 24/7 as a conscious partner, someone who's just super respectful, caring, compassionate, loving, fun, flirty, all of that 24/7. We're gonna have those days where we feel off, whether it's your hormones, whether you're experiencing something really tough in life and, your capacity shrinks, your patience shrinks, your ability to ride the waves and be resilient, or overlook things or be understanding can shrink. You're not ever the same way 24/7. And as a woman, you are deeply impacted by your hormones and then have their stuff too. No one is exempt from having life affect them in a way that they show up differently. So there's going to be those times where one of you is going to be short with the other person where one of you doesn't want to connect, you just want to go straight to bed where one of you isn't as aware and therefore may come off as less considerate than normal. What I believe now is that conflict can be a catalyst for relationship growth. Without conflict, what that tells me about your relationship is that there is no honesty. It tells me that one of you is self abandoning. Without conflict, there is no growth in your relationship because we don't change unless we have the motivation to do so. And when you are talking to your partner, baring your heart and soul saying how unsupported you feel or how you want to connect more.
Because that discomfort of conflict is actually what creates motivation for us to change. Change your thoughts, change your behaviors. Otherwise, you would just stay the same. If everything's all good, why wouldn't you just stay there, don't fix what's not broken? Plus, without conflict, you wouldn't know what areas you're being invited to grow through. Your relationship should not ever stay the same. It shouldn't be stagnant. There's always an invitation to grow. That invitation is always through conflict, through someone's needs, not quite being met. Through someone's desires, for more or different. And when done right, conflict can actually create a really beautiful moment where you and your partner can connect on a deeper level. Have you ever had those moments where after an argument, it's time for you to really drop the walls down, stop being defensive and criticizing each other? When you get down to the real meat of the conversation, and you're hurt, because of this and when we reach that level of vulnerability, then our partners can be like, “Oh, I see now.”
Sometimes, when we're upset, our past tends to have us frame our feelings and our desires in a way that's combative, but when done right, conflict can actually be seen as an invitation to self-reflection, and vulnerability. To have that be present in that relationship, where you can allow yourself to truly see yourself for your wounds, your patterns, your wants, your fears, and to be seen by your partner because you're sharing that and vice versa. What I mean is it requires a level of self-leadership, emotional intelligence, and emotional resilience. Without those conflict can be unproductive, toxic, and create more disconnection, rather than connection. When you don't take the time to reflect on your experience, and what wounds and patterns were activated, you could stay in this never ending cycle of suffering. I'm still in the process of revealing layers of myself, getting to know myself, my wounds, my patterns, what it is that I want, how I want my relationships to be what is required of me to create that as a possibility. I mean, the journey is never ending.
We never really arrive. But along the way, you feel more conscious of how you're choosing to show up in life. And so while learning effective communication, or what I call conscious communication, is really important. There's that bigger piece of utilizing a really big part of you that we aren't talking about. Why aren't we talking more about how to use less of our minds, and more of our bodies?
To help us through conflict, and I don't mean the naked way, although that is one method to fight naked. What I mean is, that when we do arguments solely through the mind, the mind is flawed. It's very convincing and manipulative.
Understanding on a nervous system level. What the hell is going on in your body? It was when I started doing that, combining it with Conscious Communication Tools combined with somatic healing, that everything changed for how I argued and experience arguments with my husband. Now, do I still get activated? Sometimes? Yes. But here's the difference. Our arguments are shorter. They're more productive, and now I'm not stuffing my feelings down, judging myself. Having myself feel guilty about how I react. Instead, I am taking my ass back into the driver's seat and saying, We are not doing autopilot. We are going into manual mode. We're gonna figure this shit out. And we mean me, my body, and my mind. And when I do that, when I do self-reflection, when I work through my emotions, and I lead myself through emotional resilience the conversation with my husband is next level.
Whereas No, there's no yelling. There's no back and forth. There's just raw, honest truth in the form of honesty, vulnerability, and an open heart. No blaming, no criticizing, simply sharing. When we can come from a place of presence, and responsibility for our experiences and our baggage in our wants, and desires, and any missteps we took that led us to this point that creates such a strong sense of safety in the conversation. A lack of safety is when both people are going back and forth, trying to defend themselves trying to be heard, exerting their power and force and control to be understood. But when you can be truly present to your experience, and work through your own shit, and share from that place, instead of sharing from your wounds, it's a game-changer. Because when you can come from a place of no, it's your fault. But from a place of, here's what happened, here's what I experienced, your partner's not going to feel the need to defend themselves, and they can then also do the same, share their experiences, self reflect, take ownership, share what they need. Then you can gain clarity as a couple you can resolve it together, move forward, closer together stronger as a couple because you now know each other on a deeper level. Isn't that the reason why you're together to grow together?
Here's the thing about growing, you know that phrase growing pains.
And that is a part of life. When you can choose to prioritize growth over being right. So much more as possible for your relationship. You reduce the amount of suffering you experience because while pain is not avoidable, Suffering is a choice, and we all do it. I suffer when I activate my victim mentality. Then why is happening to me. Why did he do this to me why, why, why why? That's me choosing to suffer. And that is also a pattern. And so when you know what's going on within you, what patterns you have, what wounds you have, what you want and need when any of that is compromised, you know what's going on?
When you can do this level of work, not just do the easy thing where you just point the finger and expect them to do all the work while you sit on your soapbox, or your pedestal thinking that you are exempt from doing anything like assuming any responsibility for yourself. Doing that inner work that self-reflection, being able to lead yourself through these moments of discomfort and taking a look at your wounds your pattern, and all of that stuff that contributes to how you are showing up, how you're reacting, how you're contributing to the drama to the conflict. That combined with effective communication is the key.
If you cannot support yourself through those times you are feeling activated, where your adrenaline is going right where maybe your chest feels tight, and you feel this urgency to really just give your partner a piece of your mind. Or, you know, what I would do is be passive-aggressive, criticize, talk over them. Even talk in circles until I felt like they understood me. Even after they said, they understand me, I sometimes didn't even believe them. Those patterns don't create safety. But that's what happens when we ourselves do not feel a sense of safety, with our emotions, with the narratives that our minds are playing in the background. So if you're experiencing this, know that I get it, you're not alone. While this is normal, this is not healthy for you. This is not healthy. I don't want you to think that you have to experience conflict exists every single time. I want you to look at me and my marriage as proof that it can be better.