Stay Open and Aware To Build the Best Relationships

I had the pleasure of stumbling upon this video, and it sparked a stream of insights. I could feel the truth in everything discussed.

Listening to the speaker, I realized that most of our relationships with ourselves and others are flawed. Many of us are not even aware of the unconscious ways we react and how these reactions affect others.

There is so much bad advice out there, which makes people try to behave like something they are not because they are afraid of looking weak.

Honesty and open communication, as I always believed, are at the heart of building deep, strong, and lasting relationships. This dialogue confirmed that for me.

It also sheds light on how our emotional traumas from childhood or previous relationships affect our decision-making processes in the present moment.

Many people have had imperfect experiences in childhood and relationships, leading them to become closed-minded. They feel like they have learned the hard way and start behaving like something they are not.

For example, let's say a woman gave her all to a man who took advantage of her openness and hurt her badly or cheated on her. Even though she tried so hard to change him because she truly loved him, she realizes later that he is not worth it. She eventually leaves him but vows never to be as open to any other man again because she is afraid of being taken advantage of.

That’s a natural response, but this response to become closed now works against her finding someone who would indeed value her loving nature. A response that arose as a way of protecting her becomes a barrier to finding what she seeks.

Or let’s consider a man who tried to be everything to a woman he loves, but she eventually cheats on him. He reads advice saying that women love bad guys and feels he has to treat women terribly to keep them. He buys into this poor advice, becomes a total jerk, and possibly finds women who admire this perceived "bad guy" trait. However, he still feels terrible in his new relationships because that’s not who he is, and as a result, he attracts the wrong people.

You see how it goes? He’s closed off his real nature of genuinely being honest and caring. He might have needed to incorporate a bit of the "bad boy" trait by knowing when to give his partner space and still be confident in himself. He would have struck a balance.

But he felt his true nature of genuinely loving and caring was wrong, so he pretended to be a bad boy. He attracted all the wrong kinds of women and felt miserable because no one can hide their true nature for long.

In the woman’s case, she was not wrong to be open and loving to her initial love. Changing her attitude to become closed is not the response that helps her heal and grow. Maybe she needed to know how to watch out for early signs that the man was not for her and when to leave because she’s not getting what she truly needs, as the man is not willing to work on the relationship as she is.

Maybe she tolerated it for too long, hoping he would change. And it was all wasted effort.

Maybe that was the lesson: stay open and know when to leave.

Maybe for the man it was: keep being loving, but watch out for signs, know when to pull back and not appear weak or always agreeable rather than just become a total jerk.

Sometimes we think it’s our true nature that led us to experience the problem. It’s often not. It’s usually letting ourselves get to the point of desperation when we believe we can tolerate anything from our partners because we love them, but they repeatedly show that they aren’t as invested. It’s knowing where to draw the line and walk away, not about pretending to change our nature, which hurts us more.

Those are just a few inspired insights I got from watching the video. I suggest you watch it. It’s one hour, but that hour is a great investment to learn a lot about yourself and how you approach relationships.

What he said at 23:15 in the video really got to me. How I understood it was: relationships bring out our true nature. They tap into our unconscious and bring out those aspects of our lives we hid as a way of protecting ourselves. That’s why people are so afraid of losing someone they feel so connected with because this person draws out their true nature, which, due to trauma and life experiences, is usually hidden. The uncovering of our most authentic selves leads to fear because all the pretense, the masks we wear to protect ourselves from further hurt, are being taken away. The fear of bringing out that loving nature that should always be open puts us in a confused state where we don’t know how to handle the battle between the authentic self and years of defense mechanisms. That’s why it’s very scary and difficult. But once the barrier is broken with communication, honesty, and mutual respect, love between two open, genuinely honest people who communicate regularly becomes bliss.

Stay open with wisdom and keep on winning!

- Ike


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