Save Your Marriage with Self-Awareness
This is marriage saving tip 9: I will be using excerpts from Journey of the Heart: Intimate relationship and the path of Love, by John Welwood, Ph.D.
"Love is profound because it roots us in the earth, shining its light on all the different sides of who we are, including those we would rather not have to look at. The profound question love poses is, "Can you face your life as it is; can you look at all the pain and darkness as well as the power and light in the human soul, and still say yes?" (Love) It allows us to use all the garbage we find inside ourselves as compost - to nourish the growth of awareness, courage, and compassion and to enlarge our capacity for relating to life as a whole." p. 139-140
Here we are days after Valentines Day focusing on another important expression of love - self love. When i say self-love, I am not talking about narcissism, or self-consumption. Instead, I am speaking of a true, honest self-appreciation, a compassion for oneself, a patience for oneself and a tenderness for one's imperfections. And when I say a tenderness for one's imperfections, I am not speaking of a get out of jail free card. I am speaking of a dedication to developing a clearer awareness of you, your motives, drives, blind spots and underlying intentions that can strengthen your willingness to grow, gain insight and learn to love yourself and others better.
I have a dear friend who is Lakota Sioux and she was walking with me in the forest one day. She took me to a large rock. Under the rock was the most disgusting, smelling slimy stuff that she called tree slime. It was gross. She said she was concerned that I wanted only to be attached to my inner soaring eagle, but that she thought I struggled with loving and embracing my inner tree slim. I thought she was a bit crazy. Who really wants to learn to appreciate, and feel tender toward, their inner tress slime? But she was right. I loved the times when I felt I was flying high in the sky, and being my most noble and honorable self. But I didn't like those moments of truth deep inside me when I had to get gut-wrenching honest with myself about my capacity to behave or think in slimy, disgusting ways.
None of us are perfect, but we can't even grow if at first we don't recognize and claim our tree slim. My friend explained that all new growth in the forest came from being fertilized by the tree slim of the forest. Take those aspects of you that you want to keep hidden and give them light. Look at them carefully, embrace them and with patience, allow them to grow and heal. If we hide from ourselves, what do we really have to offer others? What are your most tree slimy behaviors? Are you willing to bring light to them? If you will face these pieces of yourself with courage, you will find a self-love that will positively impact all the people you want to love in your life, including yourself.