I believe that for two emotionally healthy people, love and integrity are enough. I believe those two things can bridge idealogical differences, extended family problems, money issues, illness. Because two emotionally healthy people will own their own shit. They will have the strength to be honest even when it is painful, motivated by a deep respect for the other person and a confidence in their partner’s ability to do hard things. This is everything. It requires that both people be willing to take up space in the other’s world. To be inconvenient and be inconvenienced. To be joy. To inflict pain. This is integrity in a relationship.
The love is important because that’s what we fall back on. It’s trusting that even through the pain and the inconvenience, the other person is loving me too and reaching back for me and plotting kindness for me. It’s trusting in the goodness of their intention. It’s not that they keep their eyes closed to my faults but that they see them and choose to love anyway and I do the same thing. It’s not two people looking into each other’s eyes. It’s two people looking in the same direction. That’s what I want.
I feel this with little R. He rages against me and in the next moment pulls me in for the tightest hug. We laugh together and cry together. I try not to shield him from all of my pain because I hope he won’t shield me from his. I try not to keep him on too tight of a reign because I want him to know himself. I want him to explore and experiment. I want him to trust himself.
I feel this with my parents. As I have brought them closer to my interior life, I am blessed that they have made space for me in their hearts. Maybe that space alway existed and I only needed to believe I could fit within it, but I sense that they have continued to carve away at the walls and find a way to hold me.
I have so many people, my sisters, grandparents, friends, colleagues. People who have opened their hearts, people willing to have hard conversations. People willing to search honestly along side of me. Eckhart Tolle said, “If I accept the fact that my relationships are here to make me conscious, instead of happy, then my relationships become a wonderful self mastery tool that keeps realigning me with my higher purpose for living.”
Even my patients, even strangers. On Tuesday one of my patients told me that I looked radiant. “You didn’t used to look like that,” he said. Then he connected the dots. My last name is changing so my patients are learning that I’m recently divorced, and with surprising empathy, amidst his delusional chatter, he said, “You must have been going through a lot when we first met.” It wasn’t creepy. It was honest and it was compassionate.
So, Michelle, please keep your heart open to all the love the universe is pouring in your direction. Remember what healthy love feels like. “How wonderful to go beyond wanting and fearing in your relationships. Love does not want or fear anything,” (Eckhart Tolle).
Also from John Mayer, (I won’t speculate about his ability to give love advice but will just enjoy these words): “If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it’s just ‘Congratulations about your face.’”