I’m rereading “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. It’s a book about the theory and practice of working toward being in a conscious relationship with your partner. The theory asks you to become mindful of relationships that you had in your childhood, how those relationships formed what feels familiar to you, and how that gravitation toward the familiar plays out in adult relationships.
For example, if you felt ignored as a kid, you might seek out relationships as an adult in which you are ignored. Or if you felt criticised as a kid, you might seek out relationships in your adult life in which you are criticised. Not because that’s what’s good for you. But because that’s what feels familiar. There’s a strange comfort in it. But not a healthy one.
When you’re unconscious of how your early relationships affect your adult relationships, you can get into a lot of trouble. Being unaware of how these relationships have influenced your thinking and behavior can drive you to form habits of blaming other people, engaging in negativity, and acting out. But when you become conscious of how your early relationships affect your adult relationships, you are in a position to break those habits and make positive change.
This consciousness helps you look more closely at yourself instead of focusing on other people. It helps you wrestle with your own issues and have empathy for others in knowing that they are wrestling with theirs (consciously or not). This consciousness helps you be patient with your pain. And work through it. So that you can be more loving. And more connected.