Why The Challenge of A Partner Is Truly Good For Us
Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby
I go to Yoga Class twice a week, because it works. If I do yoga at home, I get distracted.
My distraction excuse is that it’s hardly ever quiet at my house. Eric works from home and talks on the phone. UPS comes to the door, the dog barks, I hear a text come in, or — hey, it rains. When it rains, I might have to close the doors to the deck because the water is splashing in, or pull a couple of already wet potted plants out from under the downpour. Or maybe getting up to handle the plants reminds me that the laundry is going or I think to myself, “I should put the quinoa on to cook or the chicken in the oven so we can eat dinner.”
Whatever! Anything will do, and it’s not one thing, it’s many little things.
So leaving the house for my Yoga Class really works. I concentrate. My phone is off. I get on my mat.
And most importantly, there’s my teacher Lynn Edgar at the Brightwater Yoga Studio, showing me what to do and encouraging me to do it.
And guess what? I do my very best to follow her.
She asks me to do things I would never do at home. She encourages me to hold a pose much longer than I would on my own. And it’s not only OK with me — I’m really happy that she asks, and I’m happy to do it. It feels right and it helps me.
So Lynn is my challenging partner in my health and well-being.
If you were to contact me to do a consulting session, I would be your challenging partner regarding your questions about life and relationships. And you’d probably be happy with yourself when you were done!
I’d ask you to hold a pose (investigate your point of view) a little longer, or in a different way than you might have on your own.
And you know how a good yoga teacher gives instructions, and then walks around the room and gently adjusts her students?
It makes all the difference!
I do that, too. I help you tweak your position (point of view) so that it feels better as you hold it.
Ahhhh! Now that’s better!
YOUR CHALLENGING PARTNER
And your partner — that wonderful, awful, challenging, irritating, loving person you live with, work with, or birthed — they do this, too.
In a recent session, one of my clients was hurt about something her former partner said to her after they broke up.
She asked him how he was doing and he replied that since he moved out, things were less stressful for him.
On the outside, she tried to keep her calm as she heard his words.
On the inside, however, she went through the emotional roof! She took his comment very personally.
And at first, she said, “NO WAY!”
The way she heard him, she felt criticized. So I helped her tweak her position, and then she went “Ahh. That’s better.”
Here’s the thing. When we sign up for a partnership — with a child, parent, lover — we sign up for everything that goes with it, do we not?
So, if anything needs tweaking, it is probably not our partner, but our own reaction to our partner.
And guaranteed, our partners will hand us challenges on a silver platter sooner or later. My client felt criticized — that was the position she was holding. It hurt, so we adjusted her position, not her partner’s.
The bottom line: If something hurts in yoga or relationships, my position needs tweaking, not the other person’s.
In either case, if I hurt, I’m out of alignment.
HOW DOES ALIGNMENT TRANSLATE TO A RELATIONSHIP?
In a relationship, things hurt if I’m out of alignment with who I am. Things hurt if the way I’m looking at something is not ultimately true. Maybe the window I’m looking through is just too small. Maybe I can’t see how to appreciate this situation, so I complain or rail against it.
In these unaligned moments you might say I’ve lost myself. This is why most people leave a relationship or get divorced. It’s often not that the situation is so impossible. It’s that we have not found a way to continue to be fully ourselves in the face of a certain set of circumstances.
So my pain, my suffering, my irritation — this is my signal that I’m out of alignment with how my Inner Being thinks about the situation. And my Inner Being is the most loving, all-knowing part of me.
My Inner Being is a big, open thinker, and never even considers trying to change another person. My Inner Being simply aligns with what is true and waits for me to join.
Because you signed up for this relationship you’re in, you automatically checked the little “Terms and Conditions” box. In the fine print, it says, “I promise to learn from this experience…”
So my partners in relationship — sister, brother, mother, child, co-worker, lover — Ahhh! The best alignment teachers EVER!