How comfortable do you feel in your relationships?
Comfort is a funny word. On one hand, it has a very positive aspect – where we feel comfortable and able to express our best selves. The shadow aspect of comfort though suggests stagnation and a refusal to grow.
To be clear, I am talking about the positive side whenever I use comfort in this sharing as we explore how we can find ‘comfort’ in a wide variety of relationships.
The Human Condition
This sharing is intended to share in a way which brings value to your everyday life. I believe real spirituality happens in our relationships. It is not easy to find peace in isolation, but it is even harder to find it in the midst of challenging real-world relationships.
So, let’s summarise the human condition
Every human being, no matter how spiritual or successful in the outer world, has many different aspects; the obvious personality they show to the outer world; the personality they may show in private; the shadow side that they are probably largely unaware of without a lot of inner work and a pure enlightened side. We are all capable of becoming familiar with all of these aspects.
The start of a new relationship brings together all these facets (of both partners) and offers the opportunity for great learning, spiritual growth and understanding. It can be gloriously rewarding and at the same time, challenging.
Advice for different types of relationships
Having worked with hundreds of clients and experiencing a number of challenging relationships (in all parts of my life), I would like to share some key points for each type of key life relationship (intimate, family, friendship and professional). Comfort is different within each type of relationship and of course, people and their relationships are so unique but there are enough common, key themes to draw reference to.
If you want spiritual growth, you need to be able to express all sides of yourself in an intimate relationship (especially the shadow side), so you need to feel very, very comfortable.
A relationship that helps us to fully express the best version of ourselves, including finding comfort to express the most uncomfortable parts that are hidden deep within. This takes a huge amount of energy and awareness, as well as mutual trust.
Of course, our needs are not only spiritual and people often need to grow in other ways (sexually, emotionally, mentally) and at times, these factors can take priority. To be present spiritually as well as physically, we need the full package.
I honestly don’t think I have ever met a spiritual person who had a perfect and easy relationship with their family. Otherwise, how would they grow? The spiritual path can at times be a lonely one, especially when your family don’t understand the journey you have chosen. Trying to explain can be futile and so much energy is wasted with the effort. Instead, focus on love. Every human being is doing their best to love (sometimes in incredibly hurtful ways) and, particularly in family relationships, it is important to truly show love by accepting how people are. Perform your family role with generosity, as well as lightness and humour.
Friends can serve us in so many different ways. For example, I have a friend who is more than double my age who I can have a great chat with about really intimate spiritual subjects. I also have a good friend my own age who I would chat about football to but would never broach spirituality! A variety of different friendship relationships allows all our human needs to be met. Being comfortable with all aspects of ourselves is so important; accepting the mundane, ordinary side demonstrates great humility and spiritual maturity.
Professional relationships are more monochrome. With awareness and consideration, they serve our careers and in turn, help others. Love can still shine through on a subtle level but there are clear worldly boundaries.
To be comfortable in our relationship with ourselves and, with those around us, taken effort, awareness and a depth of understanding. Relationships are challenging and being comfortable within them means we are able to express the best version of ourselves, allow us to meet our human needs and shine our spiritual light in a gentle and approachable way.