“Relationships are fraught with tension because most avoid expressing love in full.”
(Serge Benhayon) (1)
Blame is a prominent ingredient in our relationships – whether they are friendships, romantic relationships, parent-child, student-teacher, sister-brother or even those instant encounters (still relationships) between two so called strangers.
Taking into account that we are in constant relationship with everyone around us regardless of how well we do or do not know them, I have come to a conclusion that I have had more relationships than I could ever possibly remember, as I’m sure is the case for most people.
In (almost) all of my relationships I have made it a measurement exercise. In other words, I would calculate how much of myself I bring to the relationship with different people. With my mum I may be 90%, with other family members I may be 30%, with friends 60% or perhaps sometimes, even for a fleeting moment, 100% with complete strangers.
I used to get frustrated that there were relationships I had that didn’t work, or that had issues within them, and would almost always turn the finger away from myself and towards the other person: whether it was a behaviour of theirs, a trait or a historic mistake they made that I could use to hold them to account for as long as it suited me.
I have recently begun to let go of these tiresome hurts and see the magnificence that is on offer when we step up and utilise all the relationships we have on offer.
I had an example with someone recently where I had voiced something that made a situation a little bit awkward, and from that moment received cold and blunt responses, lacking the usual warmth and humour that I had enjoyed for much of the time with this particular person.
I realised I had a very distinct choice. Either, I too could stick my hand out and keep them at arm’s distance, holding them to ransom for the refrigerated phase of our relationship, or continue to love them and be with them like I would have with the closest of friends. I could continue to be myself, have fun and not hold a smidgen of a grudge or a sliver of bitterness towards them. In this instance I chose the latter.
I continued to be the caring, steady, sweet and funny man I know myself to be. And the result was priceless.
Gradually, they opened up more and more, and got to see that there is so much more to relationships than a disagreement or even an argument. That there is a way to be with human beings that is honest, open and outspoken, even when what we are hearing may not be music to our ears at that particular moment in time. Since then the work we have done together has been a lot more in-tune, on-track and at-ease.
This example (and there is a book’s worth for sure if I were to dig back) was such a great lesson for me in that the relationships in my life are all about what I bring to them. Do I give them my all? My unconditional love? My absolute attentiveness? My 100% understanding and acceptance?
If so, then let the relationship be what it needs to be, for I have also learnt that trying to be the controller, or finding fault in another, only ends up in exhaustion and frustration.
If, however, I am giving less than my all, if I ‘love’ with conditions on what is said/done/thought, if I am being dismissive, either verbally or just in my head or not actually caring what the person has to share, then I cannot be surprised when the relationship hits a brick wall and we end up at loggerheads, trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
I come back to the quote at the beginning, which I read recently:
“Relationships are fraught with tension because most avoid expressing love in full.” (1)
When I read this I thought, isn’t it crazy that we claim to want nothing more than a loving relationship, yet only experience the what-is-not love because we ourselves hold back expressing love in full?
And I came to the conclusion that we have all been hurt at some point or another, be it by a friend letting us down, a partner cheating, a parent not caring, a sibling bullying or a colleague scheming, and hence we learn to withdraw love and reserve ourselves because we don’t want to be hurt like that again.
What I wonder though, is what would happen if we took the stance that just because one, two, five and even five hundred people (a highly unlikely figure) have hurt us, it is not over seven billion people that have. Would we then see that relationships are not something to give up on and that if we recognise the hurt but remain open to the fact that at heart each and every one of those billions are worthy of our love, we might find we have far more support than we ever thought.
Would we then begin to heal those relationship issues which we often see in the very ugly, but totally superfluous, nitty gritty details plastered all over Facebook, in instant messaging chats and in our friendship groups? Perhaps then we could turn around the trend of choosing to let our relationships clobber us rather than evolve us.
- Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume II, 1st edition, page 445.
By Michael Brown, Maths Student & Retail Manager, United Kingdom
No Passport required: making Relationships about Love
The Science of Hurts
Relationships, Me and God
As we learn from The Ageless Wisdom Teaching, love shares in way that would never harm another, so we become non-reactive and thus deepen every relationship / partnership / family-ship and marital situation we have.
This is so true
“Blame is a prominent ingredient in our relationships ”
When we blame another we seem to go into a righteousness, which kills any form of togetherness because being ‘right’ puts another down. when we put another down we contribute to an abusive relationship.
Love this Michael. Thank you. Candid, honest and inspiring. It makes sense does it not to be the way we would like to be treated; to maintain and uphold standards that we say we want and to love unconditionally. The more I do this the more I realise that I cannot actually be hurt by others. If I hold love, true and strong, as my foundational quality, then I cannot be hurt.
Am I giving relationships my all? is a question that will unravel the often intricately designed stories about why we should only trust some people, have issues with others, behave in a certain way with this person etc. All this deciphering how we should be in certain contexts and relationships makes life very complicated. How much energy are we using running all the stories and justifications as to why we need to hold ourselves in a certain way with certain people, present a particular version of ourselves with others etc? It’s like we have to power a huge relationship calculator (picture a clunky machine) that is constantly working out percentages of love that we will have with some and not others. They are calculations based on hurts, ideals and beliefs, not actually on how much love we feel inside and around us. It also makes life a calculated affair where we are many steps back from life and the people in it. If the calculation is our first experience of a person then how much are we engaging in life and with people, or are we just engaging with the calculation?
Holding ourselves back from loving is painful and exhausting. This article has made me I consider my levels of exhaustion when thinking about this. Do I spend my energy calculating how much I love, and holding onto the reasons why I shouldn’t? This is exhausting, as it involves an incessant effort to live a complicated life and to fight our innate ability, and I would say raison d’etre- to give our all in all relationships.
Beautifully written and all so wise, Michael.
At any moment we, our respective soul, have a choice to be truly real and authentic or be guarded, refined, filtered, and less than who we are. So often we project the past into the present which, upon cycle of repetition, shackles our future. And we ask why history repeats itself – because we choose the same path over and over again. As Einstein purportedly once said, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’. Are we all in delusion, illusion and psychosis to expect a genuinely loving relationship by consistently and stubbornly holding onto past hurts, past mistakes and our own self-protection? Letting go of what’s familiar and known always seems so daunting and impossible we often opt to stay in our own miseries of a life while yearning and dreaming about freedom. Yet letting go and setting ourselves free to be and to love is, like many have echoed, the single most exhilarating and thrilling decision we can ever choose for ourselves.
I can relate to what you are sharing with us Long Nguyen
” So often we project the past into the present which, upon cycle of repetition, shackles our future. And we ask why history repeats itself – because we choose the same path over and over again.”
Learning to observe life rather than get caught up in it, it is possible at least to see the repetition of the patterns of behaviour we go into to protect ourselves rather than be willing to actually drop our guard as just be open to what happens next.
“Do I give them my all? My unconditional love? My absolute attentiveness? My 100% understanding and acceptance?” Michael your whole blog is gold, it’s something I feel I can come back to and use as a support for relationships, big thank you. Your personal example of being at the fork in the road during an awkward moment in a relationship and deciding to continue to be love, or not, is the same fork we are all in every moment. The going with hurts, withdrawal, emotional reaction is something I have done so much of, and it’s pretty pervasive in human life, you are leading the way to remind us that the norms doesn’t have to be that way, our normal can be love. Unconditional love is so worth working towards.
I agree with you Michael that we are in constant relationships with everyone whether we meet them or not because we are all emanating energy there is no getting away from this fact of life. We can determine what energy we are giving out, is it anger, rage, sadness, joy the list is long. This is our responsibility, so imagine if we took it upon ourselves to only emanate joy wherever we went surely this would have a huge positive impact on humanity?
Relationships, by our own hand, have grown into, what advantage to me, is this connection! Have we lost the selfless relationship and opted for only self. The isolation of others is turning us all into islands. But, we are all on the same planet, so how much energy are we expending to stay detached? We are walking up the down escalator and complain we are not going anywhere.
Steve I witness this everyday in the corporate world, where the company wants the sales staff to use whatever form of communication to reach out to bring in business. It’s not about the people per se but what the sales team can get from them. This feels so disrespectful its a form of abuse, you only want to know them for what you can get out of the relationship = money. Is this what we have reduced ourselves to – to look at people only as a commodity and what we can get from them?
Relationships are the whole point of why we are here, so no coincidence so much complication comes in to try to keep us apart. One way or the other we’re coming back together, so why not make bringing love to our interactions our Art?
So appreciate what you share Michael. Surely we are a world of human beings, mostly stuck on the back foot, waiting for a perfect welcoming scenario to present – when what we all need more than anything else is to live freely uninhibited by perceived rejection and pain. Perhaps this sounds hard but as you show it’s actually quite simple to understand others if we truly want to know.
This is a great conversation to be having as I feel it opens up our responsibility with each other even if we are just passing each other in the street or standing in a queue. I met a lovely group of people complete strangers in a over crowded train recently. I’ll probably never meet them again but while we were all together squashed in a very small space most of us interacted with each other and those that didn’t join in I could tell they were blown away by the comradery they could feel, something regular commuters were saying is lacking as they all usually avoid eye contact and never talk to each other.
“I too could stick my hand out and keep them at arm’s distance, holding them to ransom for the refrigerated phase of our relationship, or continue to love them and be with them like I would have with the closest of friends.” Thanks Michael, it dawned on me reading this that I hadn’t considered that as a possibility, as (almost) everyone everywhere turns away from whoever has hurt them, or reduces who they are, I know I’ve done that, instead of continue on to be love, be myself in full, and make that what is important despite the upsets that can happen at times. A timely read and very inspiring because these are the role models needed to show there is a different way to be in relationships.
I have a relationship with a colleague who is very jealous of me and the energy they have aligned themselves to is very unpleasant. Being able to read the energy and know it is not them but a spiteful energy coming through them allows me to have a greater understanding and not get caught in avoiding them or getting upset by their undermining ways. But to hold them with love because it is the love that they want but are also reacting to. We all want to be met and loved for who we truly are, me included.
This blog reminds me how important it is to keep my heart open to everyone. It’s not about us as individuals, but what this openness allows to unfold between us
‘Relationships – they are what we make them’, such a simple sentence and yet so very profound and to add that what we can use relationships for varies to an almost unfathomable degree. Relationships can be torturous things that we avoid like the plague or golden opportunities to evolve. They can be things in which we get our needs met, they can be things which we use to vent our frustrations, bury our pain in, avoid ourselves in, distract ourselves with, indulge ourselves in. Oh the list is pretty much endless………but what all relationships are is a mirror for ourselves, how utterly perfect is that and what an incredible support that is when it comes to helping us to evolve.
Alexis, I met someone recently who I would love to get to know more, but the barriers that have been erected by this person are so strong they emanate don’t come near me. Using your comment, but what if all relationships are is a mirror for ourselves? Has given me a lot to ponder on, where am I holding back and not letting people in?
It’s like we’re the ruler of our own mini kingdom. We sit there going ‘you’re deserving of my ‘love’, you’re not deserving of my love, you used to be but now you’re not and you possibly might be but you’ve got to prove yourself a bit more. It’s absolute rot as is the notion that someone needs to be ‘worthy of our love’. Love doesn’t need anything to be what it is, it just is, regardless.
“In (almost) all of my relationships I have made it a measurement exercise. In other words, I would calculate how much of myself I bring to the relationship with different people”, this is something that we all think that we do and yet in truth it is not something that any of us are able to do. It’s not possible to show some people all of us and then to reign ourselves in and show others only half of us. Either the whole of us is on display for everyone all of the time or it’s not. There is no hidden valve that gets opened and closed dependant on who we’re with or how we feel.
Michael what you have written about here is absolutely key because it effects us all, all of the time. We are all constantly holding back love from ourselves and from each other for any number of reasons and this has a dramatic effect on life as we know it and understand it to be. Imagine for a moment if none of us held back love, there would be an avalanche of the stuff and we would all be engulfed in love and truth, which would change our perception of Life instantly.
When we are in a loving relationship with ourselves first and foremost, how can we not be, in a loving relationship with everyone without exception?
So true Steve and when we can’t bear ourselves then how on earth are we gonna love another when we’re full of self loathing?
This is something that we have got upside down Alexis, when we are incapable of loving ourselves we enter into relationships with the expectation that the person we have chosen will fill the gap by loving us instead. No other person can fill the gap, only we can love ourselves. This can explain why so many relationships fall apart because they are not based on true love but an expectation.
Your blog supported me the other day when I felt someone be cold towards me. I stayed open and in doing this their response changed to me later on. It makes such a difference when we don’t go into reaction.
And it is this simple, yes. Thank you Vicky.
Yeah it’s really simple, a great question to ask ourselves, “what would my relationship look life if I brought love to it?” Rather than demand it form another.
I love this ‘Do I give them my all? My unconditional love? My absolute attentiveness? My 100% understanding and acceptance?’ a great question to truly ask ourselves in not blaming another or wanting anything from them but how are WE with them. On reflection I can see where I have done this with a colleague and so what I can do now ❤️
Love is a constant, that’s one of the magical things about love. It’s us humans that blink in and out of our fabricated version of love but that doesn’t change the fact that love is the underlying foundation of who we all are, nothing will ever or can ever change that.
This is a great reminder that we are love. Therefore when I don’t feel that for myself or another then it’s a choice to do that. As much as I would like to think I can invent things, there is no reason or justification for dismissing, criticising, rejecting people. And yes, I very much agree with comments from above – this only happens when we don’t hold ourselves in love first and reject that love of ourselves first. It always starts with us.
Simon Gibson from my own experience I agree with you that when we reject loving ourselves then we reject everyone This makes complete sense to me. If we are empty of love how can we love another in the true sense of the word ‘love’.
When you start with the fact that you are love, from love and nothing else, how then can you let go of that because of someone you meet, are in relationship with?
It makes sense. In holding ourselves dear we hold all those around us dear as well … even those we walk past in the street ✨
Love is a constant terminal, a radiating beacon that encompasses all and everything that it encounters, it doesn’t acknowledge individuality it simply sees everything as itself and one day we’ll all be able to be the activity of love on Earth rather than the activity of not love on Earth.
Yes Nico if someone is in a bad mood or angry that doesn’t mean to say that we have to allow ourselves to be effected by them. If we stay open 9 times out of ten it allows them to come out of their funk and if they don’t it’s their choice. Just as it is our choice not to join them in the funk in the first place.
It is so easy to point the finger at others rather than to honestly look at where we are with ourselves that then affect all others. We have produced a victimhood and blame culture rather than taking responsibility for our own actions. So that it is then possible to blame a company and take them to court because the beverage they had paid for was too hot to drink and they burnt themselves while trying to drink it!
“Do I give them my all? My unconditional love?” In offering our all and unconditional love to ourselves this is how we meet another.
If a relationship becomes frayed because of one of the members of the partnership rejecting the other’s light, it is not the issue of the one expressing the love. And, never be the reason to become less or stop loving them all the same.
Very wise words Steve, words to take heed of.
Our relationships are what we choose to make of them. It takes two to make a relationship work and I know for myself that in all that blaming and withdrawing from them I then don’t look at what I am bringing. Often it’s the same that I blame the other for. The relationship then it’s a drag but a perfect reflection and a chance to address me in the relationship and change it.
I remember Serge Benhayon saying something similar to – if a handful or two of people have let us down. Are we going to hold a grudge about the remaining 7 billion in the world? Made sense to me and still does. Since attending Universal Medicine courses I have become much more open to people and hold far fewer grudges, as I know that life is about energy first and what we allow through us.
Sueq2012 it’s grasping the understanding that energy is passing through us continuously but what energy is it that we have aligned to? The analogy is that we are a car but what energy do we use to drive the car. If there are only two energies to chose from which one are we choosing? We can tell which energy is being used by how deeply loving we are towards each other or not. If we are being abusive then we know which energy we are choosing as there is no abuse in true love.
Relationships are the cement that holds the bricks in our foundation together.
Love this Steve and so very true ❤️
Certainly relationships have the potential to be the cement that holds the bricks in our foundation together but relationships can equally be the quicksand that allows the whole foundation to permanently collapse.
Reading your comment Alexis Religion came to my mind as I feel that our over reliance on mainstream religion has led us all away from the true meaning of religion when it was an action not a word. And so this to me is an example of a relationship built on quicksand, mainstream religion will collapse from within because it is not built on truth.
I agree Mary and when we reinstate truth then all of our false foundations will literally collapse overnight. The whole rotten stinking lot will slide into the sea forever.
It is never about what happens in the outside world and the people in it but first it’s about the level of love we hold ourselves in, our innerworld and then holding everybody else without this ‘measurement exercise’ you have mentioned.
Great point Annelies – how much love do we hold ourselves in? If we are ‘full’ then there is no need to judge another.
There are no measurements to love, love is an all encompassing everything or it’s not, no gradients, no scale, no bartering, no negotiations, it’s either there for everyone equally or it’s not, it’s as simple as that.
Annelies do we measure as a form of control? If we are in control of a relationship is it possible we then feel less out of control with the world around us
You said it all really. I notice that my cravings for sweet foods are strongly related with how loving I am in relationships. When I shut someone out because they are not how I expected them to be then I also don’t feel my own love and then I start to crave sweet foods. Not that the sweet food ever matches the loving warmth of being open with everyone but that is where cravings can come from.
I know my sweet cravings come from wanting love and comfort – all began when I was ten in a boarding school. Am currently on an experiment to clock when the desire comes in and just feel my feelings – day five so far. Loving me more…..
Lieke there is something in the word expectations that resonates with me. That we have expectations about people and relationships and when they don’t meet our expectations we are disappointed and hurt. But where do these expectations come from? I know that I do this I box people in with my expectations of how they will be towards me based on our last meeting and so I gauge how I will be with them rather than just being open and honest.
Gosh Michael, what a timely blog! Only this morning I found myself criticizing my husband for reading something on the internet while eating breakfast. It can be very easy to fall into the habit of imposing our beliefs onto others. I am asking myself -how could I have expressed my love in full at that moment? Answer: by accepting him for who he is, without trying to change him. For imposing feels the same as blaming or judging. None of these ways of relating lead to harmonious, loving relationships!
I’m sure so many of us have done this – imposing our wants on another, rather than accepting them for who they are and what they bring. Great to observe these patterns in ourselves so we can make different choices.
I had a great conversation today Anne with a lady in a newish relationship, she has been with her fellow for about a year, and she was telling me her partner has never been with someone who didn’t need, expect, or demand him to be something as a man, husband, and father, and that she is just loving him for him and letting him be – and the healing is huge for this man and he is naturally enjoying this partnership very much. It was a great reminder for me of how simple love is, we just love people for who they are without imposing our own needs, expectations, etc, onto them. Relationships can get very convoluted and entangled when we don’t take responsibility to be our own love, and then place so much onto other people.
Great catch Anne to be honest enough to look at your behaviour too. It seems to me that we are all judging each other taking the moral high ground rather than perhaps a step back and bringing understanding and observation to any given situation. When we step back it allows for space and in that space is it possible we are given the grace to see everything before us, and so not react?
Looking at relationships like this really makes us responsible for every single interaction we have. We can then either pass or embrace it in full; the choice is always ours and ever new, from moment to moment.
As I read your comment Gabriele I got to feel how I am making choices about the relationship that I have with you in how I respond to your comment, not just in what I choose to write but in the feelings and the thoughts that I have about what you have shared and who I perceive you to be. There is no end to the detail of relationships.
What you are saying Gabriele is that there is such an enrichment to life when we embrace it in full and see the beauty in every moment and every movement. If we were to bring this depth of quality to ourselves and everyone else our society would instantly change and we would never want to go back to the other way of living again.