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There are several ways to understand the problems and issues that arise in our intimate relationships.
One of the ways that I have always found most powerful, and which has helped my clients the most, is the psycho-spiritual sense. Through this lens, we see that our subconscious is always at work trying to maintain order in our world, as we see it. This means that, whether or not our perceptions about ourselves or others are true or false, the subconscious continues to guide us toward the people who validate our deepest-held beliefs.
The following process is a tool I’ve developed to help clients work through issue resolution within their relationships using projections.
This is a self-reflective exercise designed for one person.
However, if your spouse, partner, or another person in a non-intimate relationship with you, such as a family member, is open to this work, it might be helpful to share the insights you gain with each other later on.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll use the example of a wife who feels that her husband does not appreciate everything she does for the family.
Step 1: Recognition.
At this moment, it’s important to recognize that a problem exists in your relationship.
This might seem simple, but too many times, one or both partners move through their lives in avoidance or denial that anything is wrong, just to keep the peace. Eventually, the pent-up pressure becomes too great and explodes into a volatile situation that could have been avoided much sooner with a bit more self-awareness.
It’s also important to admit that this problem is drawing your attention to a deeper issue within yourself that’s limiting your life in some way. There’s no need to identify what that issue is at the moment.
This is also where you get in touch with the anger, sadness, rejection, jealousy or whatever emotions you’re feeling. It’s a fallacy that people who consider themselves “spiritual” shouldn’t experience negative emotions.
In fact, the only negative emotion is the one that’s repressed.
Find a place that’s private where you can give yourself enough time to fully release what your feeling. If you want to yell and scream at a photograph of your partner, that’s great. If you prefer to beat your mattress with a tennis racquet pretending it’s your partner’s head, that works, too. It’s essential to fully realize and release what you’re feeling. This action recognizes your emotions as valid and helps you move into the rest of the exercise with a more neutral, less emotionally-charged frame of mind.
Step 2: Commitment.
Set a clear positive intention to resolve this situation within yourself, and make a commitment to doing the necessary work to see its outcome manifested in your life.
In the case of our example, it might sound something like this: My intention is to heal the source of the hurt and anger inside of me that I feel when my husband ignores all that I do for the family, and to embrace what I learn about myself from this situation to bring peace and clarity to my life.
“Claiming 100% responsibility for all the conscious and subconscious thoughts and actions that brought you to this present situation provides you with 100% of the power to change it.”
It’s best to write your intention down. Writing intentions and affirmations has a very powerful effect on the subconscious. It’s been proven that goals are more often accomplished when they’re written down. This also provides a way of making your commitment to yourself more real by bringing it out of the mind and into the physical plane.
Read your intention out loud often to recommit yourself to the work.
Step 3: Ownership.
Here is where the blame game ends and you accept 100% responsibility for creating the situation as you currently experience it in your life.
This doesn’t mean that you’re responsible for your partner’s actions or that anyone is condoning what he or she is doing. However, you are entirely responsible for the emotions you feel and how you’re experiencing the situation through the filter of your subconscious perceptions.
This doesn’t mean you’re to blame either. The situation is no one’s fault. There is no right or wrong here.
It’s just an experience generated from deep within you that’s providing you with the opportunity to heal an old emotional wound, reclaim a disowned aspect of yourself and live more fully as the person you really are. To do this, you must acknowledge that the situation is acting as a trigger for a deeper hurt inside of you that’s calling out for healing through the use of a projection from your subconscious mind.
Claiming 100% responsibility for all the conscious and subconscious thoughts and actions that brought you to this present situation provides you with 100% of the power to change it.
That’s because once you discover the subconscious limitation your projection is trying to bring to your attention, you can consciously choose your response the next time your partner exhibits the behavior in question.
The minute you make someone else responsible for any part of your life or your feelings, you’ve entered victim mode and made yourself their prisoner. You’ve left them in charge of your happiness because you can’t be happy until they change, do something or admit fault. This is the fast track to a lifetime of misery.
Changing people is an inside job, and the only person you’ll ever be able to change is yourself, but it requires taking full ownership for every thought, belief, action and choice you’ve ever made that has brought you to this moment. When you realize that it’s only you who can make choices in your life, anger transforms into empowerment.
This step can be the most difficult part of this process. Take some time to write out this statement inserting your personal details. Sit with it for a moment and then read it out loud a few times. If you have any resistance to the statement, you’ll feel it in your body. In that case, you may need to release more anger as described in Step 1.
My feelings are my responsibility. No one can make me feel anything. I recognize that my feelings arise from the judgments I place on a person or situation based on the subconscious perceptions I have about myself. When my husband doesn’t take notice of all that I do for the family, the upset I experience is a trigger for a deeper hurt that is trying to get my attention. I blame no one for this situation, including myself, and claim 100% responsibility for every thought, belief, emotion and action that has manifested itself in my life. I understand the real purpose of this situation is to realize and release a limiting belief I have about myself that’s been keeping me from being more of who I really am. I welcome this change and move forward in non-judgment for my highest good.
Step 4: Inner Treatment.
In this step, it’s necessary to go inward and establish a dialogue with your Authentic Self.
Whether you call it your Higher Self, Higher Power or something else, this is the highest part of your consciousness that holds all the answers you’re seeking. It’s the state of mind many people get in touch with during meditation.
Prior to this exercise, take a moment and write down all the emotions you feel regarding your partner and the situation. Don’t focus on the details of who did what, but how those things made you feel and the judgments you placed on the other person. In the case of our example, the wife felt unappreciated, disregarded and taken for granted. She judged her husband as cold and selfish.
With eyes closed, take a few deep cleansing breaths. Sit for a few moments in silence and let the thoughts of the day fade out of your mind. In a calm and respectful way ask, either mentally or aloud, that your Authentic Self be present.
Wait for a few moments.
“Everyone’s situation is different, but there are lots of methods to incorporate your new belief into your life in a tangible way.”
There may be a slight deepening of your meditation, a sensation of warmth or just a sense of calm that washes over you. After another moment, focus on the emotion from your list that affects you the most. Try to embody it as much as possible, allowing it to flow through you. Ask your Authentic Self to show you the moment in your life when this feeling had the most significant influence on you. Sit with the sensation and see what comes forward. Move through the emotions on your list and allow your Authentic Self to reveal the hurt from the past that’s being triggered by your present situation.
In our example, the wife grew up poor and saw her mother struggle to handle the matters of the household. Swearing to create a different type of home for her family, she dedicated herself to being an over-achieving supermom. Through this work, she came to realize that it was she who wasn’t giving herself credit for all she did for the family, not her husband. She held a subconscious belief that according to her unrealistic standard, everything she did somehow wasn’t enough. In order to compensate, she projected her un-appreciation for what she was doing onto her husband, and then sought outer validation from him to alleviate her feelings of guilt and inadequacy from a belief that wasn’t true. It was also helpful for her to examine other areas of her life where she wasn’t appreciating herself.
Once the subconscious belief is discovered, it’s important to practice Authentic Self-Forgiveness.
This isn’t about forgiving yourself for doing something, because we’re all doing the best we can with life, at any moment in time. Here, you forgive yourself for judging yourself as bad or wrong for what you believe you did or didn’t do. The woman in our example might write: I forgive myself for judging myself as inadequate, and guilty of failing my family. I recognize the validity of everything I do for my family and appreciate all efforts I make to help others and myself. I am enough.
Step 5: Outer Treatment.
Now it’s time to apply your inner work to the outer world.
Just knowing how your subconscious dynamics are affecting your relationship, it becomes easier to interrupt the kneejerk reaction that used to come so quickly when its trigger appeared.
Sometimes, just having this information can diffuse much of the volatility from the situation. In our example, the woman might consider writing nightly in a journal ten things that she appreciated about herself each day.
Again, writing is a powerful door into the subconscious. She might schedule several activities she’s been wanting to do, free from her family, as a way to anchor self-appreciation into her consciousness. It’s also a good idea to use the second half of the self-forgiveness statement as an affirmation, especially if the old belief arises again. Everyone’s situation is different, but there are lots of methods to incorporate your new belief into your life in a tangible way. This is how the subconscious gets reprogrammed. Get creative!
Step 6: Gratitude
Here, you express gratitude for recognizing and taking the opportunity to free yourself from old hurts and false beliefs that were negatively affecting your life and relationships.
What was once viewed as a problem, turned out to be a gift. With the false belief gone, there is no longer a subconscious need to project it onto another person and create the same relationship problem again.
You’re free! It doesn’t matter how you do it, just express your gratitude in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Step 7: Surrender
Here, you release the outcome of your relationship to powers greater than you.
You’ve already done the inner work to heal the issue inside of you that brought you into this difficult situation. If you really commit yourself to doing things to anchor your new belief in consciousness, one of two things will happen. Either the other person in your relationship will change their behavior toward you because you have changed, or your higher frequency won’t be in sync with theirs, and they’ll move out of your life. Either way, it’s important to surrender to the fact that whatever happens is in divine right order and for the highest good of both of you.
“Remember: the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.”
Symbolic rituals are great for anchoring concepts into our subconscious. Try this to help you get a sense of releasing your relationship problem to greater powers.
Find a relatively smooth rock that can fit in the palm of your hand. With a marker or piece of chalk, write the name of the person involved in your relationship on one side. On the other, write all the emotions you’d like to release like anger, blame, jealousy, etc. If you’re near a body of water like a pond, lake, stream or the ocean, take it there and release it. Don’t just toss it in. Take a moment and feel the weight of the rock in your hand as if it’s the weight on your heart.
Then, with a wide swing and the feeling of freedom that comes with it, throw the rock into the water. Feel the lightness in your palm. Now hold it to your heart. If you’re not near a body of water, dig a small hole and bury the rock. The earth has great transformative powers. Be sure to sense the feeling of lightness in your hand and heart, as well.
This work is challenging, but vital for our own personal emotional health and growth. Remember: the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.
For more health and inspirational insights from Dr. Sadeghi, please visit Behiveofhealing.com to sign up for the monthly newsletter, check out his annual health and well-being journal, MegaZEN, or for messages of encouragement and humor, follow him on Instagram and Twitter @drhabibsadeghi
Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles. He provides revolutionary healing protocols in integrative, osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, and family medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology. He served as an attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA-SM Medical Center and is currently a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Sadeghi is a regular contributor to Goop, CNN, BBC News and TEDx. He is the author of Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, as well as the foreword to Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, and is the publisher of the health and well-being journal, MegaZEN.