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The real work in relationships takes strength.
Wanting to “make it work” in a relationship requires more than just mutual attraction, shared interests, or sheer luck—and of course, love.
To really make it work requires the hard graft and the digging deep. This doesn’t mean that it has to become a chore or enjoyment has to be sacrificed—it’s quite the opposite, in fact.
To truly be able to make it work with someone requires self-awareness, mindfulness, and going inward—the “shadow work,” so to speak.
To go inward also means being fully open, communicative, and comfortably vulnerable—this goes for both partners.
It’s not easy, not for any of us. We are all made up of a rich tapestry of archaic trauma triggers, limiting beliefs, bad habits, and experiences, but this is what makes us the “perfectly imperfect” humans that we are.
To evolve means to heal, and if we are stagnant, then our relationships will struggle to flourish.
We are fortunate to be living in a time when the understanding of human psychology is no longer just for scholars. As a society, our knowledge, acceptance, willingness to take responsibility for our issues is ascension in the human collective itself.
Many of us have been in situations where our partners might have said something we took the wrong way. Our rational thought reminds us that the remark wasn’t meant as offensive, but why are we still so damn triggered?
There is always an underlying reason for why we’re triggered. It’s usually from something that happened so long ago that the memory floats quite happily within the subconscious part of our brain, like a useless piece of plastic bobbing away in the ocean.
I recently had therapy that involved a mix of neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy. My therapist explained to me that we attach painful memories to pathways in our brain. When we are triggered, it is because these pathways fire up and lead us straight back to those old memories, often without any rational thought.
My therapy involved the process of cauterizing these particular pathways—the bridge that had linked me to past trauma needed to be dismantled and demolished for good. I can still see the painful memories on the other side of the river, but I have no physical access to them anymore.
Working on ourselves within our relationship does not always have to mean seeking professional therapy—unless, of course, our traumas are causing us profound distress. It can also be achieved through a mindful approach.
For me personally, I am triggered by many things. Therapy took care of the big stuff, but I am still prone to regular bouts of “why the hell is this affecting and hurting me so much?”
It could be a mix of being an empath, a chronic overthinker, a Cancerian, or I’m just simply too much of an over-sensitive person. Either way, I am taking personal responsibility for it—”owning it,” so to speak.
Finding myself in a new relationship at almost 40, after a divorce, is a learning process in itself, but what an enriching experience it is, too. I am fortunate to have a partner who feels so aligned—it feels like we are a couple of feathers just floating away together on a warm breeze.
Of course, this is absolutely wonderful and a solid foundation for us, but we are still battling our own personal traumas and addressing our triggers. This involves regular visitations to our previous relationships—not just our respective past marriages—but even the relationships before that.
For men, I feel that this is even more challenging. Historically, men have been conditioned to close the door on their emotions and to double-lock it, they are conditioned to be the practical problem-solvers, the hunter-gatherers, and the physically capable. Therapeutic communication and a space for their mental health have taken a back seat, but fortunately, things are changing.
Men deserve to have space for their voices to be heard.
I still believe that the key to a long-standing and successfully fulfilling relationship is an alchemy of magic. I am still a believer in fate and destiny, but I also believe that we as human beings hold the key to our own happiness—it takes work, but the work is so worth it.
We as humans are the alchemy of magic, and we all deserve magical, beautiful, profound relationships once we are ready.
“Making it work” with the person we love, may be the best job we ever had.