Relationship Help 101
Did you know that no matter what your age, you are attending school year round, no breaks, no vacations? This institute of higher learning is called ‘earth school.’ In earth school, you don’t just learn lessons in your head, you also learn in your heart and spirit. In earth school, if you don’t pass the courses, you must take the classes over and over until you get the lessons. In earth school,
No spiritual student is left behind!
It seems the smart thing to do is to learn our lessons using our minds, bodies and spirits and then move on. This was one of the messages of spiritual luminary Marianne Williamson (http://www.marianne.com/ ) who spoke in St. Louis at a recent day-long seminar I attended. Here are some of my notes and personal reflections on the wisdom she shared.
Our lives represent a ‘highly individualized curriculum.” That is, our experiences are uniquely ours. Our challenges are specific opportunities for growth and self-actualization. Indeed, the universe is a self-actualization machine. That’s a scary thought. You mean I’m responsible for how I react to everything?
One of our first assignments is “relationships.” Our earliest relationships are the families in which we are born or the families taking care of us. Most of our emotional programming is automatically programmed by age 7 or 8. However, most of this programming derived from the people and circumstances around us, not due to our conscious choosing. As we experience life and subsequent relationships, much of our responses, then, arise from our earlier programming, for better or for worse.
The challenge is to learn how we have been programmed and often to unlearn or ‘rewire’ these automatic responses. Of course, if you had the perfect childhood and parents and experiences, you may pass “GO” and skip ahead. For most of us that’s not the case.
Here are 5 ways to pass the ‘relationship’ course with an A+. These are based upon what I’ve learned from Marianne as well as my own curriculum in ‘earth school.’
- During disagreements, take a 2 minute break for ‘spiritual silence.’ Surrender your thoughts to God/Spirit/Universe and say to yourself: “I am willing to see this differently.”
- Express your emotions in “I messages.” Discuss your feelings as to how something felt to you when someone did or said something, not how much of a ‘jerk’ the other person is.
- Detach from the outcome. Express yourself for the purpose of releasing your emotions productively. Don’t expect or demand the other person agree with you. The point is for you to recognize the importance of your own emotions.
- Do not ‘text back’ to fear, anger or guilt. In fact, turn off the internal phone entirely!
- Seek a win-win solution. There doesn’t have to be one person who is right and one who is wrong. Compromise and communication are powerful keys.
Of course, relationships are just one course in earth school. But what you learn will have powerful ramifications on every other aspect of your ‘highly individualized curriculum.’