Is there Trust and Honesty in Your Relationship?By
Most of us know how to support each other, at least we think we do, and how to be good cheerleaders for each other. Somewhere along the line, however, we realise that no matter however much personal growth we have gone through, there is a gap between the potential we feel and how life is really occurring. There is often a glass ceiling that we feel in our own consciousness, and patterns still keep showing up such as insecurity.
Common anxieties keep coming up in partnerships, such as fearing that the other is more visible or better, or feeling that one is not adding enough value to the partnership, or other limiting believes. We tend to look at the partnership through a lens in terms of, ‘there’s got to be a winner or loser in this’, rather than being a co-laboratory team, and that becomes even more visible when couples divorce.
So, how do we navigate the hazards and joy of living with an open heart? Will jadedness from past disappointments and hurt prevent us to be really real? Is there an answer?
Several thousand years ago, a very wise man, Solomon, gave this advice: “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”*
Allow me to tell you a story out of my own life. When I was a child, as well as growing up, I learnt two big lessons from my mother: 1. Never to trust anyone with the issues of my heart, my true feelings, my true hopes, needs, helplessness, and whatever really was going on inside of me; and
2. Never, never, never to use what anyone entrusts me with to use it against them at any time, but to love and respect them unconditionally regardless of their humanness.
Lesson 1 served me well for a long time, or so I thought. I survived my mother and was actually very glad when she died. Unbeknownst to me at the time, there was one other glad person at her funeral, her very own sister.
My mother was immensely popular, hundreds of people lined up around the family tomb (yep, a proper tomb with steps going down and several chambers …). People loved her. To them she was the epitome of kindness, thoughtfullness; a super-woman in many ways. However those really close to her, such as her only daughter, they could never measure up to her greatness, to her expectations.
I was a disappointment from the word go … I should have been a boy for starters … I was never good enough and she let me know. I could not trust her whatsoever, as she betrayed and abused that trust throughout the part of my life she was around.
It has been decades since she passed away, and I have long since forgiven her. She had her own issues, and pain; she probably meant very well, but did not know any better in dealing with those closest to her.
Lesson 1 stayed with me some time after her death. Often our survival and coping mechanisms seem to serve us well at the time, but eventually they hinder our growth, and being loved the way we need to be loved.
Vulnerability and trust can be an extremely frightening prospect. Life usually deals out pain and disappointments and we become very adept in survival by building protective walls around us. The problem is that the very wall that keeps pain and hurt out, will also keep out love that we so desperately need, and causes our hearts to close and shut down.
However, for a lot of folk they may not even have been shut down, but actually never properly developed their full passion of emotions. Maybe it was not part of their family culture to allow one’s full passion of emotions to mature.
A person with fully developed and mature emotions knows when it is appropriate to express them and when it is not. An indicator of whether or not a person either has a shut down heart or not fully developed emotions, can be noticed in situations when it is ok, appropriate, and indeed desirable to express the fullness of one’s passion of emotions, yet there is a block, one can’t … just can’t. Pretend, yes, make an outward spectacle, yes. But a genuine expression, no.
Let us not confuse being extrovert or introvert as an indicator of whether a person’s heart is open and their emotions fully developed and mature. Being extrovert or introvert are personality preferences. An introvert can have far more mature emotions than an extrovert, who might be able to cry at the drop of a hat.
I shall never forget this young lady I was friendly with. She was bubbly and outgoing, she was a giver and ever ready to encourage people, full of seeming aliveness in her emotions, until she was found having committed suicide by hanging. No one suspected, even in the slightest, that this extrovert bubbly girl was dying inside. Behind her façade of being the life of the party was a human being deeply in distress with despair and depression. Nobody knew at the time what was really going on, as she had her heart closed and shut down, suffocating behind her own walls of ‘safety’ against pain.
Let me illustrate this with my stickman drawing:
Here, this person has surrounded themselves with layers upon layers of defensive protection against hurt. The walls eventually become so thick that indeed the person exists in a maximum security cell where next to no pain can penetrate. Whilst they are suffocating in the protective cell and still suffering with pain and loneliness, no love can come in either, nor is it possible for them to truly let love out … it’s just too dangerous. (The RED arrows represent love).
It surely seems hazardous to live with an open heart, as to allow ones emotions to fully mature means total honesty, vulnerability, loving deeper. When you really love well, you stand the risk of getting hurt more. But we need to learn to love beyond that fear.
To live with an open heart does mean setting appropriate boundaries communicated with honesty, love and respect for the other person/s.
I quoted Solomon at the beginning of this write-up. Not everyone can be a close friend where it is ok to be really real, and still be loved and respected. There are often different levels of closeness in friendship and partnership.
I am privilged to have several of such genuine friends around me, some of them I have known for decades, and others just a few months, such as a very special person I came to know via the Internet. We wound up talking almost daily via the webcam. When she finally visited me in London about a week ago, we just fell into each others arms as if we had known each other since birth.
What makes these people so special is that we know each others darkest and ugliest parts and moments, as well as each others sweetest, yet there is an unconditional love and regard for each other.
When someone is a bum and throws out their toys out of their cot, we let them know that this is unacceptable in a loving and honouring way. We will not confuse sympathy with compassion, meaning we will not join them in their dumps, rather, we work on evolutionary friendships and partnerships.
We refuse to collude around shared victimisation. In an evolutionary friendship or partnership you are bonding inside a shared commitment to realise a higher flourishing and the qualities that this would require. That takes bravery, love and willingness to take feedback around our blind spots, which we often don’t realise about ourselves, being reflected back to us by our brave friends, and the openness to soliciting that kind of feedback to actually take “truth” from our friends.
It takes trust on both parts that it is truth spoken in love and not out of own unresolved pain or some covert agenda. There are new goals in that evolutionary friendship or partnership vs. staying in the lie or staying in the safety of comfort.
It’s that quality of courage and unconditional love that would be required to step into that new version of co-creative relatedness.
It takes courage and also skill to stand with and for each other in a way which is beyond just supporting or cheerleading. It takes guts, love and commitment to say to each other: “I am standing with you and for you, I will not rest until you are the best you desire to be, and I am expecting you to do the same for me!”
This is the kind of love that becomes indignant with the way it had been, it is time where we find it is absolutely unacceptable for our co-creative friends and partners to ever doubt their value and the gifts that they have to offer. It’s time when we commit to each other, declaring, “I am standing up for you to cause your breakthrough!”
This moves us from the “I support you” Ra-Ra Go-for–it, I’m with you, I believe in you, to an emphatic “No, no, I am standing with you and for you, I will not rest until you have that breakthrough, and I will not tolerate the smallness you may perceive in your own self. Uplevelling the commitment will unleash this power to transcend patterns that otherwise we ourselves would not have been transcended on our own!
Can this level of realness, transparency, and honesty work in a male-female relationship or marriage? A resounding absolute “Yes!” – actually, it is the crucial key ingredient of any lasting, loving, passionate relationship!
What about the socalled ‘feminine allure’, the magic, the mysteriousness that adds all the chemistry? Doesn’t a succesfuly passionate relationship need that arc of masculine-feminine polarity? Absolutely! However without a genuine, trusting, transparent and honest evolutionary partnership and friendship, first, everything else becomes just fabulous façade, the icing without the cake, the short-lived sexy, and titilating romance, that soon gets you to crave for another sugar rush elsewhere, being in love with a fantasy rather than a human being.
So, my question is, can you be real? That real? …. Really??
© A.R.(“Geli”) Heimann, London 2012
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“Geli Heimann, B.Sc, M.Sc Psych, Holistic Psychologist in private praxis, as well as Energy Therapist, Sacred Sexuality Tantra Educator, Transformational Interventionist, Spiritual Teacher and Healer, Mentor, NLP Practitioner. Get confidential coaching or further tips at http://www.JourneyOfIntimacy.com”