Being okay with your feelings is the best thing you can do for your relationship and all areas of your life.
But how do you do that?
It seems like we innocently live out our beliefs no matter how faulty they might be, and we are at the effect of them emotionally.
How do you get more freedom?
I spent many years of my life searching for that answer first in yoga and meditation practices then in various psychotherapies. I would diligently practice various techniques to try to have less emotional suffering and to experience more inner peace. But it was such hard work. Ultimately, the effort was taking me further away from peace rather than closer to it. I was preoccupied with trying to fix and improve myself.
My seeking was based on my belief that I wasn’t okay just as I am. I thought I needed to do all these things like yoga, meditation, therapy, and healing processes to get to a better place. I did not see that my okayness was right there all the time underneath, beyond, behind –– or however, you’d like to frame it –– my constantly changing emotional experience. My wellbeing and true nature of wisdom and love were right there –– always –– never abandoning me, never lost, never changing.
My misunderstanding was that my emotional suffering needed to be healed in order to get to wellbeing. I thought that I needed to eliminate the emotional suffering from my human experience to be okay. It wasn’t until I had a session with Linda Pransky, one of the early students of Sydney Banks, that I realized the deeper truth that my feelings don’t get in the way of my wellbeing. Wellbeing is there no matter what my emotional experience.
Knowing I am okay no matter how I feel in the moment was revolutionary for me. It was a realization from within that I had not felt or seen before. In that moment, I deeply understood that I was not broken. I realized that I did not need to try to ‘fix’ myself. I knew that I was good enough. Finally, I could relax and just be.
This is as true for you as much as it is for me. I don’t care what reasons you may that that you are are an exception to this. I assure you, there are no exceptions. You are this wellbeing, love, and peace. None of us can ever be separate from it even though we have experiences that feel like separation. Just like a coin has both a head and a tail side, the sides of our nature may look very different, but they are part of one unified whole.
Experiences of separation and oneness are part of the same complete package.
Why did I have that realization then? Couldn’t I have speeded it up?
This is the mystery.
There is no knowing why we have insights and realizations when we do. But we have them. As Linda Pransky said on the recent Soul-Centered Series free webinar, we all have had the experience of something simple and true getting past our intellect.
That is what happened to me in that moment of realization. In her words, the simplicity and truth of how we function psychologically hit me on a deep level. And just seeing it changed me and shifted how I saw myself and the world. It gave me more freedom to be comfortable in my humanity.
I was able to effortlessly let go of my striving to be better. I woke up to my okayness that was there all along. And even more importantly, I understood that I am okay even when I don’t feel okay. I realized that feelings are temporary. They are healthy and normal. They are nothing to worry about it. In that moment I recognized I don’t need to fix my emotional experience.
Just seeing that my personality and psychology are designed to fluctuate and shift liberated me from my intense focus on personal development and self-help. These fluctuations are normal for every human being, and there is a deeper intelligence that stabilizes us. We don’t need to do the stabilizing. It happens naturally and most effectively when we get out of the way. Just like water settles when we leave it alone, so do our thoughts and feelings.
Understanding this meant that I needed to shift my entire work as a psychotherapist. Recognizing that there was no need to work with the content of people’s thinking –– or to do anything at all within the realm of the ego –– saved me a lot of time and effort. It meant that I didn’t have to guide clients to re-experience and examine their painful feelings or help them identify their self-limiting beliefs. I was no longer in the game of self-improvement.
I saw a clearer path to experiencing more inner freedom, which was simply to share this understanding of how human psychological functioning works. This makes it possible for people to see beyond their thoughts and feelings to the deeper feelings and knowing within. By seeing the universal, generic ways of the human mind, our psychology becomes much less interesting, and the formless intelligence behind it far more compelling.
What does this have to do with relationships?
The more comfortable you are with your own human psychological experience, the more understanding and comfortable you will be with your partner’s human experience of your partner. Then the more likely you will be to have compassion when either or both of you get destabilized and aren’t at your best. Then, you are less likely to take each other’s negative behavior personally because you will see it as a reflection of temporary states of mind rather than something more meaningful.
This was a huge by-product from me feeling my own wellbeing more profoundly. I became more balanced and stable naturally. This meant that I did not freak out every time I got upset or Angus lost his cool the way I did previously. Instead of our relationship being a constant effort to restabilize because of chronic conflict, it became more peaceful naturally. All this resulted from my seeing that I was okay and that nothing could take that away from me –– not my upset feelings, not Angus’ upset feelings, not his behavior, not my behavior, not our life circumstances.
This is what the understanding shared by Sydney Banks offers –– more perspective on your personal psychology so it shrinks down to size and allows you to navigate your emotions with more grace and ease. It also gives you a deeper appreciation for your true nature so you look in that direction more often. A little bit of this goes a very long way to having more inner freedom and joy in relationships and life.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.