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Entries in relationship therapy (2)


The Best Thing in Life is Not Free

Whoever said, “the best things in life are free” was dead wrong. One of those best things, LOVE, actually comes at an enormous price. No, we are not talking about diamonds and pearls, but something even more precious to us--our ego. The ego is in the business of keeping us separate from others rather than feeling connected, and it won’t allow us to have true empathy for another. It is concerned with reward (what’s in it for me?) and image (how will that look to others?) and protection (don’t be open or vulnerable) and will do everything it can to keep us from seeing the connection we share. The more the ego is running the show, the less capacity we have to genuinely love. But to tame that ego is one of the greatest challenges we face as human beings.

I was reminded of this recently when I felt hurt in my relationship by something relatively minor, but my ego wanted to make it a big deal. It kicked and screamed loudly, throwing a tantrum in my mind like a 3 year old. That is one of the ego’s specialties you know, making something very important/dramatic out of something so small. I allowed it to take me down a path of negativity, judgment, and projection for quite a while before turning it around. Ironically, I coach couples every day on the importance of repairing hurt as quickly as possible, and in this instance I failed to follow one of my own principles. To my ego I say, "You may have won that battle but you will definitely not win the war!"

I know LOVE will be victorious as long as I am willing to pay the price of that oh so precious ego.



Cupid Must Die!

In honor of Valentine’s Day it is time to lay Cupid to rest. He goes around shooting innocent folks with his bow and arrow, leaving them with uncontrollable desire and causing them to “fall” in love. But we should say goodbye because he is now doing more harm than good.

Now before all of you romantics enter into a deep state of grief, let me be clear I am not saying that romance should end. Romance adds spontaneity, excitement, passion, curiosity, etc., to relationships and should be exercised regularly. What I am saying is that our concept of romantic love needs to be discarded. We are still holding on to the idea that if we just find the right person, i.e. get pierced by Cupid’s arrow, then we will know how to love. Genuine love does not work that way. We must cultivate it from within (BTW-we all have an unlimited supply of it) and radiate it outward so that we are in love with life, with ourselves, with the Earth, with Humanity, and then include our significant other in that love. We cannot sit back and wait for love to find us because it is already here, waiting for us to peel back the layers of defenses and fears to let it shine through.

It is true that the experience of falling in love can have the effect of removing the layers, but as we all know this is temporary. At some point in a relationship our partner will begin to annoy us, no matter whom we are with. If we want to be loving people we must continue to develop the skill of setting the layers aside and returning to love, and I believe this is part of our life mission.

So Cupid, please lay down your bow and go quietly into the night. Don’t put up a big fight and make this hard on yourself. It’s the modern age my friend, and a bow and arrow won’t do you much good anymore. Thanks for your service and don’t worry, we already have a replacement for you—DIVINE LOVE.