Part 1: Start with yourself!
Angus and I work with many couples who are in committed relationships that have lost their spark. It is often described as living like roommates or having a business relationship. Sometimes these couples have very little conflict in their relationship, but they feel like they are coexisting. Other times there is high conflict at times that leads to polarization and periods of distance. Believe it or not, conflict is an attempt to connect and experience intimacy. These couples actually feel more hope than the couples that no longer have conflict in their relationship. They are still willing to go to bat to try and feel better. Unfortunately, these attempts are misguided and usually result in pain and suffering.
We believe that love can be rewilded in relationships. This doesn’t mean that the people in the relationship will or should stay together. It means that each person can be rewilded back to their natural state of love, feel the natural state of love in their relationship and make relationship decisions from that state of mind. Decisions made from a loving state of mind can be trusted. Decisions made from a reactive state of mind usually result in regret and course correction.
When helping an individual or a couple rewild their relationship back to its natural state of love we always start with the individual first. Most relationship counseling focuses on trying to fix the issues in the relationship dynamics. Strategies and techniques are taught to have more effective communication skills to try and ameliorate the painful relationship dynamics. The problem with this is that the state of mind of the individuals in the relationship is not taken into account or addressed. This sets couples up for failure because strategies and techniques require a stable state of mind in order to implement them effectively and when they are needed most usually one or both people in the relationship is anything but stable. When couples are not able to successfully use the strategies and techniques they often see that as meaning there is something wrong with themselves or the relationship or both. This is unfair because it is no one’s fault and it does not mean the relationship is hopeless. It just means that one or both parties weren’t in a clear enough state of mind to implement new skills.
Starting with you, even when the challenge is we, takes care of this. Rewilding your relationship begins with you finding your own wellbeing with things as they are in the relationship. This is profoundly empowering to experience that you have a space of innate peace of mind and wellbeing that cannot be touched or taken away from you no matter what your current circumstances are. Experiencing your “okayness” and authentic empowerment is key. This also means that only one person in the relationship needs to participate. We, of course, love it when couples rewild their relationships together, but it is not required. This is very freeing to not be limited by the state of mind of your partner. Your wellbeing and happiness are not dependent on them. They cannot hold you back from love.
Rewilding yourself back to your natural state of love does not require learning new skills or strategies. Instead, it is allowing yourself to come back to your natural state of love by getting present to yourself and listening deeply to the wisdom of your heart. When the mind gets quiet we can hear what the heart is saying. It might be saying it is time for self-care. It might be saying you need to rest. It might be saying it is time to cry and grieve. Allowing yourself to get present to yourself is key. Allowing yourself to fully feel your emotions is part of the rewilding. There is natural healing available in simply allowing our emotions to move through us without attaching a story to them and holding space for what wants to move to move.
Rewilding yourself means letting go of all of the painful shoulds you have used to tame and control yourself with the hope that is how you will feel good enough and be loved. They need to go. They need to be seen for the lies that they are. Your natural rewilded state is whole, pure, lovable, and good enough. Anyone or any thought that tells you differently is a lie. Your relationship needs you to see beyond these lies and misunderstandings so you can feel the truth in your heart.
The truth of your worthiness. The truth of your loveability. The truth of your value and importance. You need to know this. You need to take this in. We all forget at times, but you can remember. You can remember your wild nature that is beautiful and whole. You can return to the unconditioned state of mind that knows who you are without question. This is the direction to look in for rewilding yourself. It requires no one and no thing. All you need to do is to see the lies that tell you you are not enough and that you need to betray yourself to feel okay and to be loved. That can stop now. Not with a technique. Not with a strategy. Not with a new skill. Not with hard work. Simply with remembering the truth of who you are. You know it. It is there. Get quiet and listen to your heart. It will not lie to you, but you need to be listening. Start there.