The Romans had it right with Cupid, their god of Relationships. Cupid, the son of the Mercury (god of communication) and Venus (goddess of Love), was a winged sprite that wore armor and shot love-arrows through the hearts of innocent victims. He perfectly represents the inherent paradox we all deal with in relationships – we must open our hearts to receive love, but then we are vulnerable to being hurt.
No one wants to get hurt. The urge to protect is a survival instinct – it’s a biological priority and a primary need. But a truly, embodied, self-actualized life requires relationships. You can live without meaningful connections, but you can’t realize your greatest self that way. There’s the rub that causes friction in every person. You need safety to survive – You need connection to thrive.
In a healthy relationship, when problems arise you work through them and restore safety so that you can resume loving one another. But when safety is not restored and every one keeps going as if nothing happened, the relationship can turn dysfunctional. Whenever you consciously want love, but subconsciously feel unsafe, the love will not happen. Survival instincts win out every time. You try and try but the relationship will either end, turn sour or never go into deep intimacy.
How can you resolve this hard-wired conflict?
First, understand the dilemma and observe the two urges in yourself. Meditate on memories of wanting relationship, of conflicts in relationship, and of the outcomes to those conflicts. Feel the pull of longing, then the push-away from difficulties that arise. Get the two kinds of emotional messages clearly: wanting love and then the feelings of anger, fear, sadness, giving up.
Next, achieve both! Once you can decipher the purposes in all those feelings, align them to work together rather than against each other. You desire a relationship of trust wherein you don’t need to be on guard. But in order to open up to that degree, you need to establish your safety. This requires some skill!
Unless you had great relationship models growing up, this skill-set is not automatic. This is why there are so many relationships in need of support right now. People believe that relationships should be like driving blind- but they aren’t. Luckily, you can learn these skills and they can start to help you right away!
– Be in touch with your own needs. You have to know yourself, and what really makes you feel safe.
– Ask for it. Get comfortable with asking for what you need, setting boundaries around your safety and taking care of yourself FIRST.
A lot of people have trouble with these simple, but important skills. They often feel like they are being selfish or cutting the other person off. Let’s be clear. You want to open up and be in true relationship. That means you need to establish safety. We know that love can’t happen without safety, so start making sure it happens.
Take these recommendations and see how incredibly deep your love can become!