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“You can’t handle the fact that you hurt me!” David said to me as we argued.
“What? Um, hellooo. I’m the master of handling stuff”, I thought.
“YES, I can handle it!” I said to him.
“No, you can’t.” He said. “You cannot handle the fact that you hurt me.”
Sigh. “What exactly do you need from me?”, I asked.
We were in the car, he was driving us to the grocery store and I said something that had hurt him, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I tried to brush off what I said. Meh. I thought….it’ll be alright.
An argument ensued. The whole argument was so stressful – it seemed like he needed something from me that I couldn’t give. I cried in frustration, not quite sure how to deal with this problem we were having, and trying so hard to understand what the hell was actually going on…and nothing I tried was working!
We were silent then. Just sitting in the car, both tired from the argument.
“Wait….” I thought to myself. Omg. It suddenly dawned on me….a light bulb went off in my sluggish brain.
He actually needs me right now, and he doesn’t need me to TALK to him, no… he needs me to feel his pain. The pain that I – YES I – had caused him, with my insensitivity.
“Oh god…” I thought. This is what it means to take responsibility?
THIS is what it feels like to take responsibility?
No wonder nobody does it!
Update: Here’s a video I have for you related to this topic and I encourage you to watch it and then read the entire blog post as well.
At this point, as I realised that he just wanted me to at least acknowledge his pain, I could already feel the weight of his pain entering my body. My body had begun the process of being at one with his pain. And shortly thereafter, I felt it; the hurricane of resistance to feeling his pain, right there, in my body. I squirmed in extreme discomfort.
And then I looked him in the eyes, and through his eyes I actually allowed myself to feel the pain I had caused.
And I think that was the defining moment in which there was no turning back for me. I finally realised that all he needed was for me to take responsibility and to feel his pain, which I was resisting like there’s no tomorrow.
That’s one of the hardest things to do, is to feel your lover’s pain. But it’s also one of the healthiest things you can do. And it’s one of the true things that create the deep trust and bond in a relationship. From that point on, I really learned what it means to take responsibility in my relationship.
It means to care, to be attuned and to get out of myself for the sake of my lover – and for the sake of my own intrinsic relationship value.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was to take responsibility. What do I mean? Well for example – I learned to take responsibility when I had hurt David.
I spent so long in a dysfunctional, toxic family. Because of decades spent in that toxic family, like a lot of people, I didn’t have a healthy attachment to my parents (it pains me to say it).
Because of that, I didn’t initially value the importance of ‘quality’ in friends or a romantic partner. Before meeting my husband David, I just valued having just someone there. I just needed some remnant of a feeling that I belonged somewhere, because I truly didn’t feel a sense of belonging anywhere. And so I wanted warmth and belonging, even if it wasn’t real.
Before I met my husband, I was unable to choose people who would actually be good to me. I had a couple of nice friends in the early school years, but as I changed schools a number of times, and I got older, I made more unhealthy friendships…and I subconsciously allowed them to be in my life, even though these people had less than pure intent towards me.
Yep. Of course, it wasn’t just THEM who were toxic – I realised that I added to the toxicity and unhealthiness of those relationships by staying in them and perpetuating the toxic patterns through my own actions.
It’s easy to do for anyone.
You see, when my husband David showed up in my life – he seemed like such an alien! An alien presenting innocence, love and purity in a world full of people who were manipulative, distant or cared only about themselves.
I even considered leaving the relationship out of fear that he could not be real. Imagine experiencing a lot of emotional trauma in your life (like many of us do), and not ever having a single healthy relationship; not a single person you could fully surrender to and trust…and then going out into the world to start “dating” people.
Could you imagine I’d be well prepared to have a healthy, securely attached relationship? Hah. Of course not. Over the last 13 years I have had to painfully learn to open up and surrender beyond my own masks. And you can too!
And in the process of opening up, I learned that connection is all we truly have in the end.
So for me, (someone who came from a toxic background) – I had to make a bunch of mistakes and learn along the way, in order to stay with my husband. It was an undoing of unhealthy mindsets and habits, turning myself into a valuable, healthy long term partner for the only man in the world I would die for.
It took me about 10 years to finally come to recognise what a truly healthy relationship looked like. Not only that, but it took me a while to practice in my body and develop habits that are truly healthy.
We are now very married with two very healthy, beautiful sons. Somehow, I made it. We made it, with some painful conflicts along the way. And you can too. Sometimes, whether we choose to stay in a relationship or not, we just need to gradually learn to open and trust love again, rather than trusting stress, or our past, or trusting what feels “comfortable”.
You see, my early relationships (in my family) were so unhealthy, that it got to a place where I believed that connection and relationships were not SAFE. Do you know what I mean? What a horrible thing to believe!
Plenty of relationships are unsafe, yes, but sometimes it’s our responsibility to put a stop to that. A relationship is supposed to be the thing that IS safe in this sometimes horrible world. A healthy relationship is the one invaluable thing that can make us stronger, and braver to go out into the world.
You only have one life. You are not here for long, and you don’t get a second chance. So don’t waste away your time year after year in an unhealthy relationship, no matter how much you worry that you won’t be able to get anyone “better.”
So please, give yourself a gift. Don’t waste years of your life in an abusive or unhealthy relationship because staying there can often ruin your innocence for the next relationship.
If you do one thing good for yourself today, ask yourself this question:
“Am I in a healthy relationship?” And…
“Am I doing my absolute best to BE that healthy, safe place for my lover?”
What you do with the answer to that question is up to you. But in this article I will give you some guidelines as to what makes a relationship healthy.
First, let’s define “healthy”. According to the dictionary, “healthy” means fit; in good physical or mental condition. Synonyms for “healthy” include “nourishing” and “beneficial”.
With that said, here are the 10 signs of a healthy relationship.
Sign number 1: You both feel like you add value to each other
Now, this doesn’t always have to be 50/50. Because there will be times when one of you is very sick or exhausted or just not in the right space of mind to add value that you normally would to the other person. We don’t always have to look for equality, because that can take away from our vulnerability and natural gifts.
So what does it mean to feel like you “add value” to each other? Well, value is perceived differently by everybody. And there is a difference in what is perceived as valuable by men and women. But in general, it means that the relationship is filling you up rather than draining you constantly. To add value means to be attuned to where your man is at, and to actively try to give to him what he perceives value in, in the way that he perceives value in.
For example, let’s say that you feel like being a great, high value girlfriend means to ask him “how do you feel?” often, and to check up on him often. He might perceive 2/10 value in that. Yet, he might perceive 10/10 value in feeling your willingness to give him your trust and surrender.
Which is more valuable for you to give? Well that obviously depends on the situation and the context. But in general, most men who are quite masculine in their core would appreciate feeling your willingness to try to trust him more of the time (yes, even if the trust is gradual).
This doesn’t mean that you should trust him all of the time, because obviously you’re going to have times when you trust him less and times when you trust him more. But what he would perceive value in is feeling the gradual surrender in your body to trusting him.
I’ve written an article on the 3 things that make women high value to men. You can check it out if you wish!
2: You both intend the best for each other
In other words, you build each other up. You both genuinely want the best for each other.
Of course intent is something that is difficult to measure, but it’s easy to feel if it’s there. So make sure you allow yourself to feel for not just your lover’s intent, but your own good intent as well.
It’s great to have a playful banter and rivalry in your relationship, but at the end of the day, you want to know that your intention isn’t to suppress or take away confidence, worth and esteem from your lover.
In other words, you not caught in a cycle of making each other small in order to feel better about yourself.
If your lover is doing something destructive to themselves long-term, then your loving and open heart seeks to inspire or guide them onto a better path. Because you want nothing short of infinity for them!
On that note, here’s an article I wrote about the 10 Seemingly Harmless Signs of A Toxic Relationship.
(What Is The One Specific Emotional Trigger Within Every Single Man in this World That Inspires Him to WANT to Commit to One Woman, Want to Take Care of Her, Worship Her and Only Her? Click here to find out right now…)
3: You are willing to face and deal with inevitable conflicts without having to push them down or avoid them altogether
Here’s the truth, in any intimate relationship, conflict is necessary, I repeat, necessary for that relationship to grow. And if the relationship doesn’t grow, it dies!
I know it can sometimes be easy to avoid conflict in order to keep peace, but that doesn’t work long term. Ultimately the purpose of conflict is for us to understand and appreciate each other at a deeper level.
Men and women are inherently so different, biologically, psychologically, and spiritually.
What makes a relationship healthy is the strength of love that you both grow together AS A RESULT of going through tough conflicts and painfully challenging times together.
Remember this – Love not tested by conflict isn’t worth anything. You wouldn’t know if it’s real or not because it’s never tested. You would not have that sense of certainty.
So face those conflicts, and don’t walk away from your lover, no matter how difficult it may be. I promise you will become stronger, more confident and resilient as a result.
Walking away from conflicts is like saying that you want to get fit and healthy, but you run away from the difficult exercises at the gym; the exercises that would give you all the growth.
What makes a relationship healthy is fitness – not mediocrity or staying comfortable, because comfort perpetuates distance, not deep emotional connection.
If your relationship has never been tested by conflict, something is very wrong. Or you don’t really have a relationship at all. That’s right, if you’ve never had a disagreement, or an argument, that doesn’t mean the relationship is healthy.
This doesn’t mean you should deliberately start an argument and try to bring conflict up for the sake of entertainment. No way. What this means is that the natural conflicts that show up (as they do in every relationship) aren’t pushed down or avoided out of fear of losing that person….because that way, you just end up in a superficial relationship!
Sign number 4: You have no need to keep weapons in the relationship
What do I mean by weapons?
Power trips, guilt trips, shaming, anger, aggression, passive aggressiveness, words that cut deep.
Now I can understand the use of some of these weapons as a last resort to try to get what you want in a relationship. However, just know that these weapons are always desperate and low value ways to get what you want.
And they are always only just short term solutions to long term problems.
There are much better ways to go about it. You can inspire something different by adding value first. You can get what you want by adding value first, so much so that it’s reciprocated.
That is the real solution. So always take the high road. In an ultimately healthy relationship, there is no need to resort to these weapons.
By the way, It’s not that you cannot ever feel angry in a relationship, it is more about asking yourself this question: “is the aggression and anger used as a weapon to take from the other person?”
“Is it used as a weapon over and over to make the other feel inferior and unsafe?”
If one person is trying to make the other feel inferior, that’s not healthy, that’s toxic.
If one person is trying to make the other feel unsafe and threatened, it is abuse.
If one person is being violently angry over and over, in front of the other person, with no regard to how it might hurt the other person, and disregarding their pain over it, that is abuse.
Sign number 5: You HOLD emotional space for each other
In other words, you don’t consciously or subconsciously invalidate your lovers feelings. The term holding space has become rather popular in the last few years and it just means that you give space in your relationship for each other’s feelings.
You don’t belittle their feelings, you don’t ignore them. And most of all, you don’t try to talk your lover out of their feelings. Feelings are there to be acknowledged, not ignored.
Feelings don’t need to be solved, they need to be felt.
Ultimately our emotions are here to serve us and it’s important for all of us to feel through our emotions. Otherwise we hold it all in and eventually it turns into resentment and comes out one day in a pathological and destructive FIREBALL.
The longer you deny your own anger and hurt, the more you let someone violate your boundaries, the more “damaged” you become, and the less emotionally “healthy” you become. Which in turn, makes you less fit for a truly healthy relationship and a secure attachment.
Here are 7 Burning Signs a Man is being Low Value.
Sign number 6: Your relationship is multi-dimensional
It other words, it’s not all about the sweet, ‘light’ energies. You also embrace other parts of yourself. We all have many different parts to us, and it’s important to be aware and appreciate those different parts.
For your relationship to be strong, you need to connect the different parts of you with the different parts of your lover.
So an ultimately healthy relationship isn’t all just full of light feminine energy and light masculine energy… because after a while, that gets really boring. If you’ve ever had boring sex, you know what I’m talking about. In a healthy relationship we have to also embrace the dark energies that exists inside of every one of us.
And to do that, it’s important to not make any part of yourself wrong or any part of your lover wrong either.
By the way, It’s FINE to feel like you’re not ready for something. That’s totally OK and I hope you don’t do something you’re not ready for.
On that note, we talk a lot about light and dark femininity in some of our programs and I think it’s a concept that you really need to become familiar with. Because ultimately the more you are able to embrace the whole of you, the more value you can bring to the relationship table.
This progressing into connecting deeply with all parts of yourself and your lover is a gradual process, and what you want to look for is that you don’t make each other wrong if one wants to do something dirty and the other doesn’t.
Just because a man wants a blowjob in a particular way, doesn’t mean he’s “dirty”, it just means he wants to feel fully expressed and alive. Just because a woman has an unconventional fantasy (like a rape fantasy), doesn’t always mean we should jump to conclusions and say that something is” wrong” with her, and it doesn’t mean that she should be judged for it. It might legitimately be something to explore together in the relationship safely.
Through exploration, we might release old emotional blockages that lead us to a deeper truth. For example, maybe her fantasy isn’t “rape” per se, maybe it’s is to feel a man desiring her uncontrollably. Or, maybe she legitimately does just have a rape fantasy. Perhaps the real fantasy is to consensually act out the rape scenario with a trustworthy partner. Who knows, who are we to force our own rules upon others?
Sign number 7: You embrace each others fears and face them together
In other words, you don’t abandon your lover to face his or her fears alone. You make sure your lover knows that you are in this together and that you can depend on each other to build each other up.
In order to do that, you have to volunteer yourself to be responsible for each other’s feelings, especially fear. Because ultimately a healthy relationship requires both individuals to participate fully. And one person’s fear is going to cripple that process.
You see, we all have deep fears whether we admit it or not. And it’s even more challenging to identify, feel and respond to a man’s fears because they hold it in much more so than women do most of the time.
So sometimes in order to do this, we need to know our lovers better than they know themselves.
That’s why we’ve published a whole program called Understanding men, and there’s a section in it where we specifically talk about men’s deepest fears. If you want, you can check it out here.
This is why I often talk about attunement. Attunement is something that a lot of people bypass in their relationships altogether, and it’s one of the number one neglected areas that lead to a relationship’s demise.
Attunement just means to adjust how you act, and what you say to the other person’s feelings and situation. Most of us at least try to adjust to our own feelings, but forget to adjust and be at one with our lover’s feelings.
You can be more attuned to your man by understanding men’s fears. You can develop the capacity (and the willingness) to be very sensitive to what your man is going through and what he values right now, in this moment.
However, most of all, you need to be present with yourself first. You can’t ignore your own feelings and fears and then expect to somehow embrace your lover’s fears.
Sign number 8: You are both emotionally invested in each other’s future
As we mentioned just before, if your relationship isn’t growing, it’s dying. Some relationships die a painful death. Some die of a slower but soul destroying process.
In order for a healthy relationship to grow, there must be a compelling future. There must be a sense of a greater future head for the relationship, whatever that may be.
In order to grow together, there has to be a level of emotional investment. Emotional investment means that if you win, I win. You’re in it together.
It’s not a game of I win you lose, it’s a game of you win I win.
You want to make sure that neither of you are being treated as a “backup option”. I often see men and women in these situation-ships where one person is devoted to trying to make the relationship work, but the other person doesn’t value the connection or the relationship.
If someone isn’t serious or was never serious about the relationship and is just dabbling around out of convenience, that leaves the other wasting their time and valuable reproductive and emotional resources.
Again, this is where attunement comes in. It is important to be attuned to your partner and where they are at. Attunement is healthy. Blindly trying to keep someone around out of fear of losing them is not necessarily healthy. I mean, it’s definitely not “wrong”, but it’s not really healthy.
Stay attuned to not only yourself and how you feel, but to the person you are invested in. Feel outside of yourself into them. Feel where they are truly at. Feel whether they are truly emotionally connected to you and emotionally attracted to you.
Sign number 9: You both know that your first duty is to yourselves
You cannot give to another person if you don’t give that to yourself first. You can’t give strength, joy and love unless you cultivate it inside of yourself first.
So you need to be adding value to yourself, appreciating yourself, reassuring yourself, and letting yourself know that you are worthy. You have to make it a habit to replenish yourself first, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
In a relationship, if one person continually feels unworthy, the relationship cannot grow! In fact, the state of that relationship will be dragged down for as long as that person feels unworthy.
So perhaps it’s time to tell yourself today: “I appreciate you so much. I appreciate you just for existing. You are a wonderful expression of life and an infinite creation of the universe.”
And most of all, give yourself the permission to believe it.
Sign number 10: You both have a strong sense of identity outside of the relationship
What does that mean? It means that you both have ways to meet your sense of worthiness outside of the relationship, so that you’re not both always feeling dependent in the relationship.
So that you’re not always looking to take value from the relationship in order to fill up. Instead, you come into the relationship already filled up.
You see, it doesn’t matter how we want to twist it, every human being has a need for connection. Even the ones who seem like they don’t need it or are very “independent” (people with an avoidance- attachment style, perhaps…)
Every human being also has a need to feel significant….sometimes we try to deal with having these needs by pretending we don’t have them, or pushing them down. But really? The best way to deal with needing to feel important and significant is to meet your needs for significance in several ways – not just within your intimate relationship.
And that concludes the 10 ultimate signs of a healthy relationship!
What can you do now? Where can you go from here?
Well, you don’t always have to LEAVE an unhealthy relationship. The best and most authentic thing you can do for yourself is to give yourself the space to feel. Give yourself the quiet to feel. This will give your body a chance to register any intuitive feelings, and any gut feelings you have about the relationship that you have been pushing down.
Your gut will usually tell you whether this relationship is wrong for you, or right for you. The only challenge in this noisy, stressful, busy life we all live is to actually be able to feel and hear our gut feelings.
What if you’re really unsure whether to stay in a relationship? Well, in this circumstance, sometimes it really pays dividends for you to stay, and to become that inspiring, emotionally resourceful person first.
Unless you’re in a physically, psychologically and mentally abusive relationship, you might find that all that is needed in your relationship is for you to have the courage to ‘go first’ and lead by example with your newfound healthy relationship insights.
You can hold space for your lover, you can alleviate their fears without forcing your own impulses onto them. But most of all, just give your presence. Presence is a gift. It’s not something you have to learn. It’s simply a gift of getting out of your own head.
In many cases, your man or your lover will eventually be so inspired by you that he will want to become better just like you, and he will want to give back to you.
And let me tell you a little secret. When we truly give value to others in the way they perceive value in, they are motivated to reciprocate to you, and give you more than what you originally gave them. The most selfish thing you could do is to be selfless.
Have you noticed any of these 10 signs missing in your relationship or a past relationship? Do share them with me, reading your story and your thoughts is one of the greatest gifts of my life. Thank You.
By the way, I want to teach you 5 secrets to having your man fall deeply in love with you and beg you to be his one and only. These 5 secrets are inside of my brand new DVD, and right now it’s free. Click HERE to get yourself a copy before they run out!
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