Recently a woman, whom I’ll call Ann, spoke to me about one of the most common issues of all, negotiating the challenges of relationships. In her case it was a relatively new relationship which had started very promisingly then unravelled a bit following a disastrous trip to a family wedding. Both had been divorced for a couple of years and each been on a few dates with others before they met. Their connection was strong from the outset and everything looked very promising. About 6 months in they went to a family wedding, with her young twins. Between family tensions, a sickness and diarrhoea bug affecting the travellers, and travel chaos all the way home, a massive argument on the journey seems no surprise. They arrived back each vowing that the relationship was over.
By the time our conversation took place several months had passed where they had exchanged emails and texts and there had been a couple of meetings but neither saw themselves as in the relationship. Ann knew that she still had feelings for the man but felt the situation was doomed and listed reasons why, including her take on his state of mind. He seemed to be giving very mixed messages. Essentially she was doing what many of us might, a kind of risk assessment, trying to predict the future, based on the past, and attempting to avoid getting hurt. When trying to defend against hurt it is hard to be spontaneous or connect from the heart.
It struck me that understanding how the 3 Principles operate can help. First the whole experience of hurt is one that is innocently created within, through the thoughts that we have about a situation. This is not an endorsement of abusive behaviour, but rather an acknowledgement that the behaviour is separate from our feelings about it. And thoughts and feelings can and do change. It’s almost inevitable that we will all experience a degree or hurt or disappointment in any relationship – due to our human tendency to get insecure. But the deeper part of us cannot be hurt or broken. Allowing ourselves to default to a more neutral attitude of clarity after a row enables a wiser course to emerge. We tend to get in our own way when we are trying to analyse situations from a place of insecurity. And sometimes that closes down wonderful opportunities.
Second, knowing that each of us lives in a separate, thought-created reality, with its highs and lows means that we will inevitably see the world differently. There are circumstances but there are no absolutes. If you are a parent your love for your child exists whether they are seeing things your way or not. Sometimes in romantic relationships the attachment is more conditional, due to a desire for a unity that just isn’t possible. Again this is not a suggestion to accept the unacceptable. But it can remove a lot of judgement when we remember the inevitability of separate realities and allow for times of insecurity in the other.
Third, knowing that we have unlimited capacity for insight or fresh thinking, can be very comforting. Ann is a wise woman and undoubtedly has her best answers within. This is one of the most expansive parts of the 3 Principles. There’s more and better available to us than we already know. And sometimes accessing that deeper wisdom comes from turning the problem over to the unknown.