In the coaching world, some ideas can seem a little out there. For example, the idea of creating a conscious relationship may feel a little airy fairy to you.
I mean, it sounds like a good idea. But what exactly does it mean? What does a more conscious relationship look like, and how do you create one?
In this episode of The Loving Truth podcast, you’ll learn what it takes to create a more conscious relationship. I’ll show you what it looks like to be a more conscious partner with examples of how it benefits your marriage.
Listen to the Full Episode:
What You’ll Learn In This Episode:
1:04 – Defining the word conscious and what it means as far as your relationship
2:49 – How to become a conscious watcher of your relationship
5:49 – The piece that makes you easier to be in a relationship with
9:40 – The unpleasant (on the surface) piece that offers you an opportunity
12:19 – Ways in which growth can appear in a conscious relationship (and a quick recap of the three pieces)
Featured On Three Pieces You Need to Create a More Conscious Relationship
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Welcome to The Loving Truth Podcast where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host, relationship expert, and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope.
Sharon Pope: Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is The Loving Truth. Today, I want to talk to you about the three pieces to create a more conscious relationship. Now, I live in the life coaching space, which means I get exposed to a lot of ideas that can feel a little bit out there for some people.
I think that if I do anything really well, it's I can take a really complicated topic but make it real, make it actionable, and make it understandable for people. This idea of a conscious relationship can feel a little airy fairy, it can feel a little out there like it sounds like a good idea to be more conscious in my relationship, but what does that actually look like and how does that get created?
First, I want to start with let's just define what the word conscious means. Conscious is a Latin word that means knowing or aware. Now as it relates to our relationships, having an awareness about the relationship that goes deeper than the basic understanding, that's what a conscious relationship is.
It's not just about the business of raising children, going to work every day, paying bills and paying taxes. It's not about the logistics of being married and running a life, it's about how I show up and being very intentional in that process. It's also the ability to see different perspectives inside the relationship because when you marry someone, there's a whole nother human being there.
I know that when we get married, we think we're going to see eye to eye on most things, but inevitably, I promise you, you will not. You will see and experience life very, very differently. Who's to say that your perspectives are more valid than your partner's perspectives? We've got to be willing to see different perspectives. We've got to be able to relate to our partners in a way that shows them that they matter.
Let's talk about there's probably many, many pieces to a conscious relationship. We could go really, really deep into that but I don't want to lose you. I just want to stay here in this realm of let me give you three concrete examples of something that you can really consider and something that you can really apply to create a more conscious relationship for you and your spouse.
The first thing is what I call the watcher. There's an action that I do with my hand where I sort of bring people up. Think of it like you're a bird that is above the scenario of what's happening and you’re flying around. What you're looking at is you and your partner in the way that you interact down below.
If you can become the watcher of what is happening inside your relationship as opposed to the person on the ground in that dynamic of the relationship, now you have a broader perspective, you have a different perspective. Think about if you and your partner are arguing, and you're all wrapped up in your emotions, it's really hard to pull yourself out of all that emotion to be able to become the watcher.
Almost like a third-party person who's not emotionally wrapped up in the outcome, has no tie to how they think it should be but just an observer to what is actually happening. It just creates a different vantage point. When we can take that different vantage point so that we can better understand our partner's motivations for why they do what they do or why they think what they think, the lens through which they see and experience life, then we're not stuck in the way I see it is the way that it is. Period. End of Sentence.
When we can become the watcher, we can see things differently. Think about it like this. It's the way that I am able to, as a third party outside of someone else's relationship, I'm able to see their relationship through an entirely different lens than they have ever seen it.
Even though they're the ones that have been in the marriage for 20 years, and I just came into it, within a week or two, I'm going to see their relationship very differently. The reason for that is because I have that broader perspective. First of all, it's not my first rodeo. This might be the first time you've ever struggled this much in a marriage. But I've had thousands of marriages where I've helped people who have been struggling in the marriage.
But also I'm not tied to the outcome and I'm not wrapped up in the emotion of it so I'm able to see it very objectively. If you can pull yourself out of that to the place where you can see your relationship and to see what's happening in a more objective way, that might mean you step away, it might not happen in the moment of where a bunch of anxiety has come to the surface or a bunch of emotion has come to the surface, but the next day or two days later after some of those feelings have died down, now you're able to see, “Well, what really happened there? What was I feeling and why was I feeling that way? What was going on for me? What should I have said that I didn't say?” all that kind of stuff you'll be able to see when you can take on the watcher’s perspective. That's one way to have a more conscious relationship.
Now the second thing is all around responsibility and accountability. Look, if there is one thing that has changed my life in so many ways, and I can't even tell you where it came from but I know that it originated through books, learning, and teaching, so I know that this is possible for you when you get exposed to the idea.
Sometimes taking responsibility and accountability for ourselves and our actions, and what I like to call our side of the street, how did I contribute to where we are today as a couple? What was my role in the creation of this experience? When I went looking for what my role was inside my first marriage and how it ultimately ended, when I went looking for my role in the creation of my dating experience post-divorce, when you go looking for your role, it changes everything for you and it helps you be more conscious. It helps you take responsibility.
Even though taking responsibility can feel a little bit prickly at first, I promise you, there's so much freedom there. Honestly, you become an easier person to be in relationship with. We've all been in relationship with someone who never wants the blame to stick to them. They're always pointing the finger at someone else. It's always someone else's fault.
Is that person easy to be in relationship with or hard? They're really hard to be in relationship with because there's no accountability for what is happening in their own lives. My friends, it is our thoughts that create our feelings, not someone else's thoughts creating our feelings. It's our thoughts creating our feelings and our feelings are what's driving our choices. Then our choices are what dictate our results. It doesn't work any other way.
This element of being willing and able to take responsibility for your choices and your actions is such a powerful way of being in relationship with people. When you are willing to do that, it's not guaranteed that your partner will also be willing to do that. But are they more likely or less likely to take some of their own accountability for their lives when they first see you doing it repeatedly and consistently?
Of course, they're more likely. Are your kids more likely to take accountability and ownership if they see you modeling that behavior? Of course, they're more likely. It's not guaranteed but we're not doing it to guarantee an outcome or a certain type of behavior in our partner. We're talking about this in the context if I want to have a more conscious relationship, there is no path to consciousness when you are not willing to look within yourself. It doesn't exist.
If there is no willingness to look at our role in the creation of our life experience because life is not happening to us, it is happening through us, if there is no willingness to do that, to look within our own selves, you cannot have a conscious relationship.
I would tell you it's just not even possible for you because the nature of knowing and the nature of being aware has to begin with self first. It's super convenient that we want to be really aware of everyone else and then we want to tell everyone else how they should live and how they should be but that's not how any of this works. It just doesn't work that way. We got to get back in our lane and own what is ours to own, which is our thoughts, our choices, actions, and behaviors.
Now, the third piece to creating a conscious relationship is, and this is not going to feel like good news at first, but nothing is going to force growth and change in you the way that your relationship will. You see, we think that our relationships, particularly our intimate loving relationships, should always feel good and when they don't feel good, something's gone terribly wrong.
I want to offer to you that that is never ever, ever the case. None of our most intimate relationships will always feel good 24/7. They're just not going to. That's not the way that it works. You are going to get triggered by your partner. When you do, it's an opportunity to go, “Thank you. Because that trigger is showing me something within myself that is unhealed.”
When we get triggered, most often what we do is we point blame and try to control their behavior in order that we not ever get triggered again. But then what are you going to do? You're going to write down your triggers, you're going to make 10,000 copies of that page, and every single person you meet throughout the entirety of your life, you're going to hand them that paper and you're going to say, “Look, if you want to be in relationship with me, these are all the things that trigger me and you're not allowed to ever do that so you need to orient your behavior accordingly so that I never get triggered.”
It's like trying to control the world. It's just not possible. It's not even possible to try to control that in your spouse. By the way, you're going to trigger the heck out of them too. Because this is what we do in our intimate relationships. Doesn't the person that you are in your most intimate relationship with, don't they know how to press your buttons better than anybody else? Don't they know your soft spots? Those little tender spots to be able to press on?
Don't they know that if they press the mom card, then you will adjust your behavior? Of course, they do. Growth inside of our relationships, I would argue, is inevitable. If we're not willing to grow, then we can't have a conscious relationship. Ultimately, the relationship won't feel satisfying in the long term.
Of course, you're going to get triggered. Of course, they're going to press your buttons. You're going to feel misunderstood, unheard, and unseen. Those are all opportunities to be able to open up the conversation more about what it is that the two of you need.
Growth can look lots of ways. I know growth sometimes sounds like getting a root canal. It doesn't have to be that way. Growth can be, “I found my voice as a result of this relationship.” Or “I got out of my ego. I no longer feel like I know it all.” That can feel like growth.
Or “If I want to love and honor myself, that can be real growth. I learned to love and honor myself in the context of this relationship. Now I can see and accept myself all the good and all the bad. I can see and love all of it. When I can do that for myself, I can do that for other people, including my spouse.”
Someone said to me recently, “My husband isn't all bad and I'm not all good. I'm starting to see the nature of that.” The three elements to creating a conscious relationship, I'll just say a more conscious relationship, a place to begin, the first is become the watcher, become the observer of what is happening as opposed to the reactor or responder that's all wrapped up in the emotion of it, because it will give you a different vantage point.
The second piece is self-accountability and responsibility. Taking accountability that I get to choose my choices, my thoughts, my actions, and my behaviors, and that is what creates many of the results that I have in my life. Some of those things are good. Some of those things aren't good. We can put them in different buckets, but that's just a subjective judgment anyway.
But ultimately, I am creating a decent part of my life experience. Not all of it. There's a whole bunch of things that I don't think I would ever choose to create in my life. But for the most part, if my life is feeling pretty good, I had a hand in that. If my life is not feeling so good, I had a hand in that as well, and so did you. There is no path to a conscious relationship that does not walk through the valley of self-awareness and self-accountability.
Then the third piece is that nothing is going to create the foundation for more growth in your life than your most intimate relationship. It won't always feel good, that growth that comes from your intimate relationships, sometimes that's downright painful.
But when we're willing to see our relationship as a path towards greater growth as opposed to looking at our relationship as we have to keep it together no matter what because that is what we said, those were our vows, and our family is depending upon it, that might happen, it certainly can happen in a more conscious relationship than not a conscious relationship, but that's not the point.
The point of it is that it is a breeding ground for your own personal growth. When you can start to look at your relationship like that, when those hardships come, those triggers come, and those challenges come, we're much more likely to be able to go, “Thank you. Thank you for that. Almost forgot about that. I would have missed that had you not brought it up so thanks for triggering me so that I can see what has still gone unhealed within my own self that I need to deal with.”
That's the idea that I wanted to give you today of just three actionable pieces of sort of a starting ground in order to create a more conscious relationship. Because the more conscious we are, whether it's in our lives, our work, or relationships, the better our lives are going to be. There's no way around it.
When we are unconscious, there's not a lot of good things that just start magically happening. But when we become conscious, when we become knowing, when we become aware, and we are willing to go there, now we can create some really special close connections in our lives and we can be really intentional about how we're showing up for ourselves. Alright, I hope that was helpful for you. Until next time, take really good care.
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