Today I’d like to respond to a question that came from one of my readers:
“Why is there so much tension in the relationships I have with the people I love the most? What can I learn to do to honour the love that is there and not get swamped by the challenges?”
Great question! I’m sure many of us can relate 😉
Although I cannot respond to the specifics for this individual in an article, I do believe there is some universal value I can offer.
First, you often experience tension with those you most love because you are bonded more intensely. If you think of a bond, you might imagine a kind of strong energy force flowing between you; the closer the bond, the more intense the energy. As well, you offer your attention to those who are close to you consciously and unconsciously. For example, thinking of a loved one while taking the train to work. In a way, you maintain a kind of connection with loved ones without thinking. Any disruption to that energy stream can be felt more noticeably.
There are also the beliefs you might hold about who you are in relationship to your loved ones and the beliefs you have about them that might be playing out. I see many people fall prey to tensions with loved ones because they are holding on to a belief about the other person that is no longer true.
My advice is that if you are feeling some sort of tension, ask yourself, “What am I believing about me in this situation?” and “What am I believing about the other in this situation?” Write out the belief then ask yourself, “Is it true?” Most often you will find it is no longer true, or you were projecting your own thoughts about what they might be thinking! You can get so lost in these inner dramas when in fact you could nip the falsehood in the bud and move to clarity with your loved one. Be courageous, say what you feel and check out if it is true for them.
If you are a sensitive person like me, you also care deeply about the people closest to you. Because sensitives feel things more deeply, we must learn how to gauge our feeling responses. We must let ourselves know it’s ok to feel things deeply so we might feel more “tension” than another person. I just wanted to mention that in case the reader was comparing him or herself to others. I’ll always be the one to have tears in my eyes if a loved one says something mean even if I know it’ll blow over in a few moments. The reality is I’m not concerned about the tension anymore. I’ve accepted it as an indicator that I’m out of alignment with how I really feel and something needs to be clarified. It might be an insecurity I have, a judgment or I was just plain tired that day. The point is to check in with yourself and get to reality asap!
The wonderful truth is that you care about these relationships. But are you caring about YOU as much as them?! Are you validating yourself or waiting for them to validate you? Are you caring for them more than for yourself and therefore becoming resentful? Often, tension is just an indicator that you are out of balance with your own self-esteem in the relationship. Treat it as an opportunity to bring more balance to the bond.
Finally, once I’ve determined what is more true about the tension at hand, I like to change my inner dialogue. I often prepare myself before, say, a family event with the knowing that I deeply love my family and therefore I will feel things deeply and even though there might be challenges, the bigger picture is love… it’s always love. And I’m in charge of that, not them. This is an empowering stance to have so you can let “tensions” just be what they are… temporary energy shifts.
Hope this helps. I loved tapping into this real life dilemma and sharing my strategies for conscious living 🙂