Mind Your True Intentions
Understanding your true intentions is one of the most important aspects of both knowing yourself and keeping your relationship healthy. We all have triggers: words, phrases and actions that can cause us to lash out without thinking, losing sight of our true intentions in the heat of the moment. In these heated exchanges, the person we love can be perceived as an enemy, causing us to act in ways that are potentially damaging to the relationship. Generally these destructive behaviours are unintentional, a result of powerful surges of emotion that can be hard to interpret.
Love is a powerful emotion. When we’re in love, we open ourselves up to another person, gifting them with a level of influence over our emotions which can be uncomfortable for some and downright terrifying for others. This fear can spark disproportionately emotional responses to relatively benign comments and actions. Therefore, it is critical to stay focussed on our authentic desires and what we are trying to achieve with our words and actions.
When something happens to make us feel unappreciated or undervalued, we might respond by attacking our partner’s character instead of dealing with conflict in a constructive way. The end result is anger, hurt and confusion for all parties, along with a fresh collection of resentments. But, if we take care to remain mindful of our true intentions, we’re more likely to find a positive resolution. Instead of reacting with anger and hurt when our partner triggers negative feelings, we should focus on open communication: ask for clarification and explain to your partner how you feel. This approach will keep an argument from raging out of control and help grow mutual understanding in your relationship.
The Perils of Projection
Perhaps the most dangerous result of a lack of self-awareness is the tendency to project. Many of us have aspects of our personalities of which make us extremely uncomfortable. When we avoid taking ownership of these traits, or acknowledging them at all, we will often project these traits onto those around us, especially romantic partners.
For example, you have a tendency to exaggerate, which is a trait you dislike in yourself but you are unwilling or unable to change. This might manifest itself as a dislike of other people who share this same perceived flaw as you don’t like it in yourself.
When we are unable to take ownership of these flaws, but also unable to accept their existence in ourselves, we begin to see them more in our surroundings, including in our partners. As we know our stories are inaccurate and should be subject to doubt, we begin to doubt the word of our partners as well, even if our partner does not share our flaw.
When we project these faults onto our partner, they are understandably confused and take offence. They begin to see us as paranoid or irrational, and resent being accused of a behaviour they don’t exhibit. If they don’t realise we are projecting our own traits onto them, then this behaviour will ultimately lead to the demise of what could have been a great relationship, all because we are unable to face the truth about ourselves.
Always Know Thyself
It’s almost impossible to have a healthy and intimate romantic relationship, if we don’t first intimately know ourselves. Without self-knowledge, we often find ourselves hurt and confused by romantic relationships. If we are aware of our faults and and emotional triggers, then we can change the way we respond to these, which in turn allows us to truly connect with another person and grow as a couple.
My guest writers Jake and Johanna