My relationship with my husband has proven to be a wonderful place in which to become more self-aware. Perhaps relationships for most, if not all of us, allow us to see powerful reflections of our beliefs and behaviors in action, and that is certainly true for us.
On my part, it is fairly easy to see the reasons he loves me. The harder realities to witness are the justifiable reasons I drive him crazy and even hurt his feelings.
This particularly happens when we are discussing events of the past that we remember differently. It also comes up when I place my needs above his, or I expect him to know my needs without telling him what it is that would help me. And it came up a lot for me when we moved our home. I was not at my spiritual best!
I’ve discovered that periodically, it is wise for me to take a closer look at how I expect him to be the way I want him to be, rather than honoring and respecting him as he exists. My mother did the same thing. So did my grandmothers.
It does not serve my husband or me to perpetuate this pattern of thinking that he would happier if he would just become the man I want them to be.
This is more than a pattern in my personal life. We see this same pattern played out on a global scale too. For example, it has become a somewhat accepted policy when the US attempts to (and sometimes does) establish democracies in countries that never wanted a democratic government, as if we know what is better for someone else. Even against the will of the citizens of a country, we attempt to change them.
If we have the courage, it can be helpful for us to consider our patterns of behavior personally, nationally, and culturally. It can be powerful to choose the patterns we wish to perpetuate because they serve us and others so well, and to release patterns that attempt to control others for our own benefit.
For me, recognizing patterns and consciously changing them helps me in fulfilling my greatest potential as a spiritual human being.
It hurts and disrespects my husband when I attempt to change him, a really good and thoughtful man, into one that makes me more comfortable. He deserves better than to be consumed in my desire to control everything. He deserves my warmth and light.
I have experienced both sides of disrespect. I am the one who has been disrespectful and have also been disrespected. When I look to the root of disrespect, what I observe is that in this energy there is a dishonoring of an individual’s (or a group or culture’s) perceptions of the world and life and an unwillingness to create space for diversity. It is a way of trying to make oneself feel better at the expense of another.
I am willing to do my part—to heal my wounds from the inside out. How do I heal this? Personally, I take it into The Holding Meditation. I hold myself in compassionate respect and will do so until it is no longer an aching need within me. When I feel my self-respect in its fullness, I know I will no longer need to play out the dramas around respect.
When I accept others and myself in our completeness—compassionately recognizing the warts and the beauty—I enter into a state of holy and sacred awareness. I use the discomfort to help me enter more deeply into sacred space.