Relationship dynamics refer to the pattern and development of a relationship. In particular, focusing on how they work, why they work and what factors influence their outcome.
For many years we have been told that if we find our true love, settle down, and have kids everything will fall into place and we will be happy. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy. People have been left unsatisfied, disappointed and full of heartbreak.
But, there is another way.
We are in a new age, a time in our lives where society is working towards awareness and consciousness, and this is the perfect time to develop and build a new model for relationships to follow.
A model that is rewarding, which meets the fundamental needs of the individual as well as the couple, fostering a sense of security, belonging and acceptance.
Creating the space for individual and collective growth and development, where the aim is not on reaching a certain goal, but rather focusing on the journey and connection between the individuals.
This type of relationship is called a Conscious Relationship.
Conscious relationships are romantic relationships created with the intention of achieving individual and collective satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose.
It is a relationship that is purposefully built to foster growth. Individual growth. Collective growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place.Shelly Bullard, MFT
In a conscious relationship, you are given the opportunity to describe and request what kind of relationship you want. Discussing in detail what this ideal looks like, how it makes you feel, what boundaries need to be implemented and respected and how you prefer to love and be loved in return.
A conscious relationship is intentionally structured to support your needs and desires.
I want to be quite clear, a conscious relationship is not always easy, in fact, it can be quite challenging and conflict will arise. Positive relationships take practice. Forever moving, growing and changing.
The aim is to understand and work through our own mind and behaviour, even when it feels scary and vulnerable. It asks us to show up in all our moments and experiences and to do the same for our partner.
In a conscious relationship, you are not following a set of rules but rather embracing an attitude and quality of being. Therefore, no two relationships look the same.
Before I jump into the specific qualities that create a conscious relationship, I wanted to highlight the basic elements needed for any healthy relationship.
Trust, respect, and forgiveness in this context is a choice. It begins as a belief in the basic goodness of you as well as others in the world. It means being authentic, showing up for yourself and knowing your worth.
Trust is a crucial building block in any relationship. However, building and maintaining trust in an intimate relationship takes time, patience and hard work.
We often wait for our external environment to “feel” trustworthy before we begin to trust, but here we decide to trust because we ultimately trust ourselves deeply. We trust our intuition, our choices and our ability to decipher what feels right or wrong.
This type of trust happens in the present moment. It is the recognition that our past experiences, feelings, and thoughts influence our ability to feel safe in the here and now. By developing this type of awareness we create a powerful self-trust that comes from self-love and not from past trauma or judgment.
Trust enables us to notice how our subconscious mind attracts the familiar. For most of us, our intimate relationships have been mirrors of past trauma or relationships we grew accustomed to as children.
We begin to understand that we attract what we know and what feels “comfortable”. This can look like always attracting unavailable partners or getting stuck in abusive relationships.
When we develop trust we are able to ask ourselves, “Does this relationship look like a repeated trauma pattern, or is this a conscious choice?”. “Do I want this person to save me, fix me or validate who I am?”
When you trust and respect yourself enough, you know that only YOU can make yourself happy. With this belief the relationships you create then become spaces for freedom, love, and authenticity.
With this skill, we ultimately attract more positive, trustworthy and like-minded people into our lives.
So what about forgiveness?
Forgiveness is an active process.
First, we start by forgiving ourselves. We actively work on letting go of guilt and shame and intentionally work on our own feelings of resentment, anger, and retribution.
We accept that we are HUMAN, we make MISTAKES and its ok.
In our relationships, instead of running away at the first sign of conflict, we show up and we use the practice of forgiveness to create harmony, connection, and intimacy in the relationship.
You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, “I forgive. I am finished with it.”
– Maya Angelou
Mindfulness can be described as the practice of connecting and coming home to the self. It is the ability to use moment by moment awareness to develop a deep and meaningful relationship to the mind and body.
Mindfulness teaches us to nurture the mind and body connection and to use it to create self-awareness and consciousness. This connection gives us the ability to trust our feelings, to honour our needs and to listen when sensations or emotions arise.
When we are conscious of all that is arising within us we can respectfully communicate and express our needs, wants and desires to the people we love.
A mindful practice shows us how to prioritize self-care and self-love, helping us to maintain and value the relationship to the self as well as our independence within an intimate relationship.
Mindfulness encourages radical self-acceptance, by cultivating an attitude of “allowing”, letting all our thoughts, emotions, behavior and sensations be, just as they are.
It asks us to embrace who we are in the present moment, accepting and welcoming all our strengths and weaknesses. Then with kindness and compassion, it gives us the ability to accept others, just as they are, moment by moment.
In a conscious relationship, you need an environment that encourages…
Taking responsibility for your OWN happiness and well-being is vital. No other person can fulfill your needs but you.
This means you prioritize self-care and self-love. You maintain your own identity within the relationship and uphold and preserve your own values, beliefs, and boundaries.
The relationship dynamic that is valued most here is the willingness of each person in the relationship to understand themselves, their minds, and their patterns.
It is about making a conscious choice to work on yourself each and every day, identifying and managing your own emotions, thoughts, sensations, and desires.
This doesn’t mean you don’t fight or bicker, it also does not mean all your relationships will last; rather its a commitment to becoming aware. Noticing when you lay blame, project or isolate yourself. Observing your need to fix, force or judge your partner. Becoming aware of how you communicate, fight or sit with your partner during their times of need.
Then with openness, compassion, and kindness, you can observe yourself in difficult moments and notice what patterns arise. You begin to practice talking about issues instead of arguing. You encourage emotional expression where there is room to feel ANYTHING and ultimately foster an environment of vulnerability love, and gratitude.
The primary objective of all conscious relationships is growth, and the relationship itself serves as a platform for individual and collective development.
All past, present and future experiences no matter how difficult are brought to the surface deliberately. There is an acknowledgment that conflict, fear, and worry are a normal part of life, and the relationship in and of itself is then used as a tool for healing.
If we are in unity with our partner, we are acutely interested in what helps the other thrive. In unity, we know that if each partner is able to fulfil their life path, then the rewards for both are exponential.Monika Hoyt
Conscious Relationships invite us to heal ourselves. It is here, where love becomes a practice and the relationship becomes sacred.
Because everything is expressed through love you drop the walls you have built over the years, lean into the discomfort and finally show your heart.
Then through vulnerability and curiosity, you are able to tune into and connect to your feelings. There is now space for your sadness, grief, and jealousy. You can now explore what is behind your resistance, avoidance, anxiety, and pain or feel open enough to express your happiness, joy, excitement, and delight in such a way that you ultimately heal yourself.
Remember you are ultimately discarding years of relationship conditioning and adopting something entirely new and foreign.
It will be scary, you will make mistakes and you may even have a breakdown or two. Things will look messy.
What matters most is that you continue to believe that you are worth a relationship that embodies self-love, connection, and vulnerability above all else. So keep practicing.