All of us have been taught to conform to our social systems, institutions and norms instead of trusting who we are as totally unique and amazing creatures. We have listened far more to the outside voice than to our own inner reality. Our need for acceptance is so strong that we struggle constantly with feeling inadequate.
We need to find true, life-giving, guiding images to help us in our quest to become our whole and authentic selves. It’s very important to do this work, to discover and retrieve the parts of ourselves that have been stolen away. Marriage in our society is often spoken about as “finding our other half.” But in reality, unless we have done our inner work, and are two whole people coming together to make a whole union, it will simply be two half people making half a marriage.
All of us have a hidden, shadow self that we need to come to know, to embrace and accept in order to bring our full selves to the world. We need to come into right relationship with ourselves in order to be able to give our whole selves to another. We can’t put our needs at someone else’s door and expect them to be able to meet them. It’s our job, not theirs. In a fulfilling relationship both people are working on their own transformation. Each has much to share and as life stories are compared, both are enriched. For this to happen, it is crucial that both people are wanting to look.
Let’s now reflect on the dreams we carry for our future. These need to be ‘earthed’ in our present reality so that they give us direction for how to live now. It’s important that hopes for new relationship, marriage and family don’t judge us and distract us. Phrases like, “If only…” and “when I’m…” can be paralysing. If we constantly look ahead then we may miss today’s reality. If we set a manageable relationship ‘horizon’ for ourselves the future is energising.
Authentic inner work can be very life-giving. Like creating a garden, the work is hard, but rewarding and often we have to trust that the secret life will manifest. If there’s been no struggle, we will remain shallow. Our relationship with ourselves will always be our ongoing, long-term relationship.