One of the most powerful things I have learned lately is to separate the relationship from the situation.
This is something I found harder in the past. Whenever the situation was uncomfortable, there was a crisis in the relationship. It was me versus them.
But when there is a separation between the relationship and the situation, the relationship can be amazing, nourishing, deep, and healthy – in a complex or triggering situation. Now it’s us versus the situation, and we are on the same side.
It doesn’t necessarily make the situation any easier, but having your partner/friend/etc on the same side makes things easier. As allies in the same game, there is the space to make a game plan, listen to the emotions of everyone involved, take deep breaths, and ask about their needs.
It still takes another layer of emotional maturity to not step into reactivity (and me versus them) when I listen to the other, their emotions, and their needs. Because the need may be time or space alone. Resources may need to be allocated elsewhere. It may be that I need to hold myself or find support.
But as long as I can see us as pals in the same game, both with our own challenges, but also our own capacities to hold ourselves and create space for the other – there’s a totally different game.
Photo made by the Wizard in Wales this summer, with one of the most impressive trees I’ve ever met.