We count healthy, intimate relationships as one of the main factors in our sense of wellbeing in life. But at the bottom of any kind of inner conflict is our relationship with others, the people around us or the world at large. Can you think of any situation or event in life that involved conflict, discomfort, pain or hurt that does not involve any other person around you? So does it mean our relationship with others, is the cause of our pain or lack of peace in life? In fact, without relationships and the inherent conflict, it is not possible to achieve inner peace. By triggering what needs to be resolved, relationships act as the most crucial catalyst through which we can achieve lasting peace and fulfilment.
Any emotional hurt we have faced in life, is originally caused due to our failed efforts to connect with others. That does not make relationships bad or wrong, as this happens in childhood while we were still making sense of the world around us. As children, we do not know how to communicate our needs, how to express our thoughts or how to process painful emotions. In the process of learning these things, some of the painful memories gets stored in our subconscious. These are the thoughts, patterns and perceptions that define our relationship with others in our adulthood.
In adult life, we start a relationship with ‘How can I live without this person!’, but end up wondering, ‘How can I live with this person, it is so painful!’ The people in our lives that we are most intimate with, are the ones that trigger us most. As those are the only ones that can show us what we are not willing to see within us. Often the person that seems to trigger in us the deepest emotional pain is not the real cause of that pain, they just managed to pull the past pain that is already within us to the surface so that it can heal now. Relationships are mirrors that show us the emotional pain and hurt from childhood that we are unwilling to face within ourselves.
We may think since healthy relationships do not have conflict, all we need to do is avoid all conflict in relationships. We may isolate ourselves from people around us, saying I am highly sensitive, or highly spiritual, or highly self-dependant or highly tolerant. But all that does is stuff up all the unresolved emotional content deeper into subconscious so that it creates an unending loop of unhappy relationships filled with more conflict. The only solution to resolve inner and outer conflict is to boldly face the pain with openness and vulnerability.
Many self-help gurus often say, healthy relationship with self is crucial for a healthy relationship with others. But without relationship with others, the elements of healing, integration or completion that are crucial for a healthy relationship with yourself are not possible to achieve. Hence, conflict in our relationships is not to be avoided. Our relationships serve the purpose of showing us what needs to be resolved within us so that we get to a place of deep inner peace.