Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Practice in Growth

I was hoping yesterday's post would stir up a discussion about how you handle conflict in relationships. But it was Danielle's comment that got me thinking:

"How do you work on this relationship stuff without a relationship, or at least without someone else to point stuff out, call you out, or just challenge you. I know the answer is work on myself, but sometimes I am not aware until someone shows me.

Plus, the "Gentleman Jacks" of the world seem to be a rare breed. The men that I come across are more comfortable with the non-growth."

Well, I'm no relationship expert. I only go by what I know from my own experience.

Mandy's comment right above that seemed to point to the answer. She is not in a relationship but said "In the meantime, I'm practicing with my kids."

That's it!

I do believe that growth comes from seeing ourselves through others. And the best "others" are our significant others. In those relationships, we will hide away parts of ourselves AND expose parts of ourselves that we don't show to friends or family. However it's those friends and family that are our biggest teachers as well!

Practice makes perfect, doesn't it? I try to remember to practice The Four Agreements in every relationship in my life. Trust me - these 4 little rules alone will challenge anyone in every encounter!

Click here to read about the Four Agreements in more detail:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

2. Don't Take Anything Personally

3. Don't Make Assumptions

4. Always Do Your Best

The author of The Four Agreements says: "In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible."

Relating back to yesterday's post, how do you handle conflict in relationships?

Do you take it personally when conflict arises in an encounter with a family member, stranger or friend?

Do you just assume what someone in your family means when they say something to you? Or do you let them finish their thought and ask questions for clarity?

Are you gentle on yourself when you make mistakes or don't feel that you're good enough? (Yeah, I'm still working on all of these but this one even more recently.)

Do you speak with kindness, honesty and love? Do you listen to others when they speak with an open mind and open heart?

All of these can be done in any and every relationship and encounter.

To finish Danielle's last thought that the men that she comes across aren't interested in growth: As you become more self-aware, you will no longer attract or accept less.

When you feel better about yourself, when you challenge yourself to truly listen and not accept what you think is happening, when you have a better idea of "who (you) are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible", you will attract that sameness to yourself!

At least that's what I keep telling myself.... Gentleman Jack and I are not alike in many, MANY surface aspects however, he processes feeling and emotion so similar to me. He amazes me that I can barely say 3 words about something and he instinctively knows how I feel. Its very weird. My guess is our "sameness" on that level is what attracted us to each other.

Well, and I definitely think he's a hottie too.

Every relationship, past, present and future, challenges us to grow. "Every encounter is a holy encounter," according to A Course in Miracles. That thought alone brings so much more awareness of the people in my life. It is through them that I see my own misgivings, lack of self-worth and negative thoughts about myself. And it is through them that I learn to forgive myself.

Learn from what is currently in your life. Find love there. Feel that warmth in your life.

Thank YOU for teaching me.

"Take the ingredients you already have and make the best meal you can."
~ unknown


  1. Thank you for the reminder that we have lots of different relationships. They don't all have to be about romantic love. I'm feasting with my kids right now.

  2. Some people seem to THINK they are interested in growth - until there's an opportunity to do so anyway. And that's when you learn what's more important to them; growth or their ego. Unfortunately so far my experience has been that ego wins every time. Back to the drawing board!

  3. I can SO relate. :)

    It's funny, but like you and Rascal, CBG and I seem to be so different when it comes to the surface things, but we're so much the same on a deeper level....and for me, at this point in my life, is what matters the most. :)


  4. Totally ordered The Four Agreements - cannot wait to get it in the mail.

    Growth fascinates me. It would seem that it's what everyone is after- personal growth, moving forward, bettering oneself...
    clearly, this is not the case- as so many of us have experienced in our lives.

    Great post.

  5. T-Thanks for this. One thing that you just pointed out is this;
    Do you just assume what someone in your family means when they say something to you? Or do you let them finish their thought and ask questions for clarity?
    This is something that I need to work on for myself and you are right, I can do this with anyone, not just a man.
    I am going to go buy that book today!
    Even if it takes me 10 years, I am going to get this "I respect me" so I can "respect you" stuff down. Thanks for the help along the way.

  6. T,
    You are waxing wisdom! I love your thoughts right now. Very well done. I love the 4 agreements, thanks for reminding me of them. You are correct as we change our vibrations we change whom we attract. That is key to remember as we consider our relationships.

  7. This really what I needed today. I've been feeling stagnant and thinking that because I haven't been out there, dating and such, that I'm not learning and growing, but that's because I am thinking of growth too narrowly - only in terms of men and relationships, and that's just part of it. Good read, and I may borrow from your post for a future blog :)

  8. It took well into my 30's before I was even in a relationship with someone that took the time to work thru issues with me, it was an eye opener but wonderful. Up until then it was just me not wanting to speak up and then sitting around being resentful that I wasn't getting what I wanted. It was all about me, poor me, I'm not being treated how I want. Didn't occur to me until I was with someone that really cared about the relationship that there were two sides to it. That one kind of stopped me dead in my tracks. "Huh? When I do xxxx it makes you feel xxxx" Awww crap.

    Having someone that cares enough to say what's bothing them so it can be worked on is amazing, even if it does involve coming to terms with areas where you need to improve as well.

    I don't want to go backward in the next relationship so am trying to apply that to my non romantic relationships as well.... it's not always about me and what I want and need, *sheesh*.

    OK that was long... it was the "Don't make assumptions" that got it rolling because that was pointed out to me as something to work on.

    Thanks for the place to let this out today.

  9. T, I don't comment as often here. Sometimes it's because I don't know what to add to what you have already said, except, "Yes. Yes, you have spoken some very real truth."


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