Over the last decade, as I’ve been a student and then a teacher of personal development, there is one program that far outweighs all others.
Many of us in this industry have paid thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for courses, seminars, books and training, but the program I’m talking about is free.
What is the best personal development program around?
Being in a relationship.
Being in a relationship is the most intimate, soul yielding, self-discovery program. (<– Click to Tweet) It gives you the opportunity to mine your inner world for gold and refine the rest with love’s fire.
Even though “finding love” is high on most people’s list, it comes with the price of self-disclosure, vulnerability and someone else knowing the very best and worst of you. And that can be frightening!
Your partner is your mirror. Carl Jung said that you marry your unconscious mind (and I’d expand that to most long-term relationships). That means that what is repressed in you, is often expressed in your partner and vice versa. Sometimes this is met with awe, gratitude, and excitement, but just as often can conjure up resentment, jealousy and frustration. Love will draw you deep, and this is a good thing even though, at times, you’ll claw the air for a breath.
The key is to stay aware of the feelings, experiences and cycles in which we find ourselves. Our most intimate partners are often our best teachers. Do I mean to say that all relationships are equal or that you should always stay? Of course not. But I do know that growth comes from sticking with the ones that are good medicine.
Stay for the right reasons and leave for the right reasons.
It’s often uncomfortable to face the demons and skeletons that arise in intimate relationships, but what better way to do it than with a partner in crime? Someone who supports you and your growth, who loves you unconditionally. Growth comes through conscious relationships based on mutual maturity and respect.
In my own relationship, this is heightened by the fact that I married another personal development teacher. And we are both REALLY good at what we do: calling bullshit, taking a stand for each other’s greatness, re-framing events and circumstances into valuable life lessons… Nothing gets past us (which is both irritating in the moment, and wonderful in the big picture). =)
What about you?
What have you learned from your partner or your relationships in general? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
If you’re intrigued with the idea of relationships as the best personal growth program, but don’t know where to begin, I can help.