Updated: Jul 11, 2022
How To Look Beyond The Surface of Your Disagreements
For Greater Healing
“Do you need to be fully healed before entering into a relationship?”
People often ask us, “Do you need to be fully healed before entering into a relationship?” Or, in other words, “Do you need to be free from your unhealed past trauma and have yourself completely figured out before committing to someone?” And our answer is always, “no,” and here’s why.
Our Partner Is Our Greatest Mirror
They challenge us. They trigger us. They show us aspects of ourselves that we might not have otherwise looked at. Why? Because in less-intimate relationships, we are more likely to avoid or run away from doing our Inner Work. It’s easy to ghost someone who triggers you if you have no commitments to them. We can just leave acquaintances “on read” if they rub us the wrong way. Whereas in a committed relationship, we are much more motivated and encouraged to dive in and explore our discomforts instead.
So in this sense, we shouldn’t be shocked when things come up in our relationship. It’s bound to happen! What if we could actually look forward to facing those problems together, knowing that whatever is coming up in the relationship is a monumental opportunity for growth, healing, and transformation⏤if we can learn to lean into our discomfort and become curious about our triggers instead of running away from them.
Most of the pain points that show up within a relationship reveal unhealed inner child wounds or unresolved past traumas.
“Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” - Carl Jung
In the yoga tradition, this conscious take on relationships is called the yoga of relationships. It is known to be the most effective and enriching yoga path for spiritual growth and enlightenment.
We’ve all heard of the yoga term guru. This term is a Sanskrit word that has nothing to do with being an expert. Guru translates to “remover of ignorance.” So in a sense, we can think of our partners as our greatest guru, for they are the most likely to reveal to us the aspects of ourselves that are still unhealed, limited, or triggered. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially when the world tells us to seek ease and instant gratification wherever possible. But, there are enormous blessings awaiting those who do the work to heal that which is unhealed.
Unhealed Past Trauma in Relationships
Of course, this type of dynamic requires both parties to be committed to doing their own Inner Work and to have compassion for the unhealed parts of themselves and their partner. It’s never our responsibility to fix each other. Still, it is our responsibility to have awareness and empathy for each other’s traumas, programming, and survival defense mechanisms—otherwise, we can’t support each other in healing them.
Being a supportive partner doesn’t mean sacrificing your own boundaries because of your partner’s traumas, either. It doesn’t mean making excuses for them or enabling them. Instead, it’s compassionately, patiently, standing beside them as they face their own demons. And it’s doing your best to show up for them in a way that you know their inner child would appreciate.
Knowing your partner’s unhealed wounds
is a love language
There is richness and depth in knowing and understanding the shadow tendencies of your partner, which are likely rooted in unhealed wounds or childhood traumas. Underneath all self-sabotaging behavior is a child who is still wounded and coping. It’s not our fault for whatever happened to us as children, but it is our responsibility now as adults to do The Inner Work and to begin healing ourselves. And it’s the partner’s role to be supportive throughout.
One of the things we have discovered along the way is that communication between one another is key to thriving as a conscious couple! It's challenging enough just doing your own Inner Work as an individual. Add a second person with their own shadows and discomfort, and it can become overwhelming at times. Especially in the heat of a disagreement. Remember, arguments are likely connected to a past unhealed trauma. It is so important to approach conflict with each other’s sensitivities and inner-child in mind. To move forward and heal together, we have found that what we say and how we say it makes all the difference when we find ourselves at a crossroads.
Here are our top 5 tips to dissolve any disagreement and transition back to love
When triggered, turn your gaze within: Whenever we are pulled away from peace, we must turn our attention away from the surface scenario and instead look within ourselves with curious eyes. Triggering moments are often revealing of a wounded inner-child who is still acting out of protection or defense. This is what doing The Inner Work is all about. Developing self-awareness and connecting the dots. Sometimes what we say in the heat of the moment has little to do with how we actually feel and more to do with what was modeled to us by our parents. Likewise, all of our self-sabotaging behaviors can be connected back to unconscious parts of ourselves that still require healing.
Use "I" language when expressing how you feel: Avoid using "you" language, as it tends to always lead to blaming. Instead of saying, “you hurt me because you don’t listen.” Try instead, "I feel hurt when I don’t feel heard." Remember to connect the dots back to your own personal experience. This may be a trigger because you didn’t feel heard or seen as a child. By switching to “I” language, you are taking accountability for how you feel and giving your partner the opportunity to help and respond from a place of compassion.
Be solution-focused instead of problem-focused: Focusing on the problem will only lead to going in circles. Instead, switch your language to focusing on what you can do about it now and in the future. Refrain from bringing up the past as a weapon. Instead, focus only on what you want moving forward. This might look like, “I have a wound with not feeling seen and heard, so it’s really important for me to heal that within our relationship. I appreciate your awareness around this. I would feel very seen and loved if we could commit to keeping our phones off during quality time. How do you feel about doing that moving forward?”
Actively listen rather than anticipating your turn to speak next: Don't worry about defending yourself. There is nothing to prove. Most arguments have a lot to do with feeling like we are not heard or understood. By actively listening and caring about what your partner says, you are already likely dissolving an escalation. Make eye contact and refrain from cutting your partner off. Let them fully finish expressing themselves.
Repeat back what you hear in your own words and have your partner do the same for you when you speak: This solidifies that each person was heard by the other and that each person was understood. This might look something like, “What I am hearing, is that you feel unloved and unheard when we we are distracted by our phones during quality time. And that you would feel very loved if we could commit to keeping our phones off during our time together. I am willing to try that!” Without this step, we might think the other person heard or understood us, but that would be assuming, and you know what they say about assuming!