Building Trust and Open Communication in Your Relationship
I want to start off writing this article saying, “I am by no means an enlightened individual.” I think moving forward, I should go about rephrasing that message to this, “I am constantly on a journey of trying to achieve self-actualization or enlightenment. A destination, I believe, which has no real arrival.” I don’t write this to displace my credibility in writing about these subject matters; however, to respectfully acknowledge I am here for the same reasons you are. To build, foster and learn how to trust. To build sturdy relationships using the most reliant materials known to man. What psychologist, David Richo, author of the novel, “Daring To Trust,” entitles the 5 A’s of Trust: Attention, Affection, Appreciation and Allowing. I think the truth is we all want to experience long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that bring out the best in us and help us grow. Many people believe meeting their soul-mate or life-partner to be a simple process. One that is seemingly effortless, paved with a slick road and no up-hill battles. That has certainly not been the case for me. What I’ve realized is your “soulmate,” I use this term loosely for its ambiguous nature and widely placed connotations of impracticality (For the purpose of this article, we will use the word “person.” Meeting your person), is an inner reflector of all of your deepest and darkest fears. They’re very much like a mirror. Reflecting back to you the things inside you have abandoned due to fear of facing the darkest parts of yourself. They allow you to see who you really are. They remove your mask and expose the child buried beneath the hard exterior you have built so diligently for years and years. To convey this concept accurately psychologists use the word “transference.” Transference is the triggering of psychological issues of the disempowering fear we felt in childhood. That is why relationships seem to be so much harder to maintain versus friendships. The emotional depth we reach with our friends does not trigger as many unhealed wounds. Our intimate relationships always activate early life issues and issues that have not been healed.
According to Richo, the foundation for any positive and healthy adult relationship is to develop lasting trust. In fact, Richo believes that the majority of couples communication problems is really a fundamental problem grounded in trust. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve ever been able to trust. That could be because of the fact I have experienced trauma and betrayal throughout the development of my early adolescence into adulthood. I think I trust my dog though. That’s an unconditional bond forever unbreakable, but I can’t keep living my life only relying on the companionship of animals. We were brought into this world to connect with each other. To deeply and intimately connect to other individuals so bearing the hardships in life does not seem so demanding and daunting. I think the first step to trust I’ve acknowledged is learning how to trust myself. I cannot discount my own emotional identity. The moment we begin to trust ourselves is the moment we begin to see a little more clearly. The moment you begin to trust yourself is the moment you’ll begin to love yourself. As apart of being ready for love, you must love yourself. You need to be happy and fulfilled before you’re ready for love. If you’re not, you’ll constantly be falling into a needy mindset and desire to use your relationship to fill an emotional void.
However, I think the first step to trusting yourself is to trust your own personal distinctive intelligence. The intelligence is in-part an ability to decipher ‘intelligibly’ when you’re entitled to fully feel and examine your own emotions. Sometimes, in the onslaught of romantic love our judgment and critical processes become incredibly muddled like the quirky saying, “It’s as clear as mud.” To maintain your senses and remain rational in your investigation of your relationship, Richo, advises that you perform checks and audits on the way you’re feeling when you feel it. He advises not to push your feelings off to the side as if they’re impractical and don’t matter to your inner-psyche because then you’re not practicing self-love. Losing the opinion of a partner is far less dangerous than losing the opinion of yourself.
We can do this by reality checking our feelings in a given situation. This is what reality checking looks like. Take out a piece of paper and write down answers to these 4 questions:
Name the Situation?
What are the Feelings? How Strong Are They?
What are my Beliefs Related to The Situation?
What are the Facts That Support This Belief?
Once you have examined and thoroughly investigated your current situation respond with statements of assertiveness versus aggression. This practice will help develop healthy, open communication between you and your partner. This is so important because honesty allows us to repair our relationships so that love can flourish.
Also, remember there is no birth of consciousness without pain. These ‘people’ are placed in your life so that you can see the inner-battles and struggles you have forgotten. They are literally calling you to wake up and make a change.