Transforming the Darkness of Relationship Conflict Into Light

As we delve deeper into the month of December and the true meaning of this holiday season – love, light and celebration – may you remember that YOU are a gift and a reason to be celebrated!

We each have a light within us that is always ready to shine. And yet, through our human experiences of pain, fear and insecurities, we often hold ourselves back from allowing that light to shine.

I admit that I’ve done this many times in my life. And some of my most painful and ‘light-dimming’ experiences have been in the form of unresolved conflict within a romantic relationship.

Relationship conflict is one of our greatest teachers, it’s a normal part of our journey, and it gives us an opportunity unlike any other to find our way back to internal peace.

And so I invite you to find your way. To take down the walls of protection that you’ve built around your heart, and to give yourself permission to soften your heart and open it to the magnificence within you.

A Personal Story of Transforming Darkness into Light
When in the midst of pain, I know this is way easier said than done, believe me! I recently went through an experience in which a significant ex-partner and a significant friend decided to pursue their romantic feelings for each other.

At first, I thought I was okay with it. He and I had broken up years ago, and the romantic feelings I once had for him had dissipated before we broke up. But once I let the reality of this situation sink in – and let down the walls of protection I had built around my wounded heart – it hurt me way more than I ever thought possible.

Part of it was due to the fact that, when he and I were together, I often thought there was an attraction between the two of them, but my concern was always dismissed by him as an unnecessary insecurity. And even though we broke up years ago, the pain of that issue was never resolved, and it was now being triggered.

And part of it was due to the fact that she wasn’t the friend I thought she was, and the way she chose to handle this situation after more than twenty years of friendship felt like a stab to my heart.

There were other elements too, but for the illustrative purpose of this story, let’s just say the whole thing felt really shitty! So, what did I do? I let myself feel the pain, and I gave myself full permission to feel all of it.

I felt betrayed, I felt sad, I felt hurt, and I felt disappointed. I cried a lot, and I welcomed the tears. I knew deep down that these tears weren’t just from the pain of this particular experience, they were also from all of the unresolved pain from my relationship with him, which I wasn’t even aware I was still holding onto.

This is an excellent example of how unresolved pain will continue showing up until we learn what we need to learn from it, and are then able to heal it. In some ways, I believe some of the pain from this experience was linked all the way back to childhood wounds of abandonment. It was deep, and the flood of tears helped me release so much of it.

I had many moments of feeling angry, and I let myself feel that anger – and ultimately released it – by punching pillows, yelling and cussing, crumbling up my journal entries and throwing them across the room, etc., all in the privacy of my own home.

Anger is a strong emotion, and it doesn’t feel good. But it’s there for a reason, and if we stuff it down or just project it onto the person who triggered us, it won’t go away. Giving ourselves permission to acknowledge it, feel it and express it in a healthy way helps us let go of it. It’s impossible to forgive and let go of pain when we’re still holding onto anger.

Because they had both added a lot of joy to my life, I didn’t like the idea of losing them as friends (he and I had remained friends even after we broke up). I didn’t want to believe that they would treat me this way, and my mind started spinning with thoughts of how I could somehow make sense of this, and therefore feel okay about it.

I even found myself trying to rationalize their behavior…because they didn’t mean to hurt me. But as I let myself just feel what I was feeling, and worked through the wide range of emotions, the light of my inner guidance reminded me that I deserve to have true friends. And that, even when I choose to forgive someone’s hurtful behavior, it doesn’t mean I need to continue sharing my life with them.

Little did I know that, in my experience of assisting with the ‘Heal Your Life®’ teacher training in San Diego just two weeks prior to this upset, the Universe was helping me prepare to apply many of the tools taught in this training – such as releasing negative emotions, inner child work, self-love and compassion, forgiveness, etc.

I remember my heart being so full of love as I watched the participants heal and open their hearts through applying these tools – just like I had done when I went through the training myself five years ago – and now it was my turn…again.

There is much more to this experience than what I can share in a blog post, and I’m still cleaning up some of the residual emotional debris of this upset. But now that I’ve processed and worked through much of this pain, I am able to see the gifts of light that came from this experience of darkness.

The Light You Are Seeking Has Always Been Within
Much like any experience of grief and/or relationship conflict, my experience in this situation had many layers to it. Each time a new layer came up, it showed me what I needed to know in order to feel it, process it, let go of what I needed to let go of, and move on to the next layer.

And each time that happened, I gained a greater level of clarity on what the Universe asked me to see in all of this. This was definitely a gift, and it helped me see things that I had protected myself from seeing before.

I could see that, on a subconscious level, I had attracted this upset to give me the blessing of another opportunity to work through layers of unresolved pain at a much deeper level.

Perhaps I wasn’t quite ready for it before, but the Universe knew I was ready for it now. And when the unexpected pain came up as strongly as it did, I knew I had to show up for myself and face it. I knew from prior experience that I needed to learn and heal as much as I possibly could so that I wouldn’t continue carrying this baggage around.

We all know the experience of pain within our relationships, and I’m sharing this very personal story with you, as well as the other personal stories I’ve shared, because I want you to know that I understand and ‘feel your pain’. None of us are alone in this. We certainly can’t pretend to understand exactly what other people are going through, but we all understand what it feels like to be hurt by people we love, and it never feels good.

I also want you to know that (I believe) the only way out of this pain is to move through it. Our normal human reaction is to stuff it down and throw up walls of protection around our hearts so that we don’t have to feel any more pain. But when we build those walls, we unintentionally keep the pain in and block the love out.

By letting those walls down, yes, you will likely feel the pain that you’ve stored, but then you get to release it and let it go. And the more you let go of all that weight, the lighter you feel, and the more clarity and peace of mind you gain. It is a true blessing! It takes a willingness on your part to believe in yourself and know that, no matter how difficult, you can handle whatever comes your way.

This is especially helpful when you’re in a relationship in which you’re questioning whether to stay or go. Because the more clarity and peace of mind you gain, the more confidence and courage you’ll have to follow through with a choice that feels right for you.

A Helpful Perspective
I’ve been re-reading some of the gems that have helped me get through painful experiences before, and I was recently reading a book called, ‘The Untethered Soul’. The author was talking about how many of us end up being so sensitive to pain that we are unable to live in this world without getting hurt. And then he shared these words:

To get some distance from this, you first need to get some perspective. Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. In fact, it is estimated that there are over a trillion stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it. You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars.”

Wow! I don’t know about you, but when I’m reminded of how much more is going on in the Universe than the little individual worlds we create for ourselves, I immediately feel a greater sense of trust in knowing that it will all work out. And I love how this ties in so nicely with the quote I found for this blog post:

We are stars wrapped in skin – the light you are seeking has always been within.” ~ Author Unknown

When a cloudy night covers the stars, we don’t see them shining, but they are still shining anyway. And when our emotional clouds cover our own light, we are still shining, but the darkness of our pain dims that light.

When you’re in a funk about your relationship, sometimes you just need to allow yourself to feel the frustration and not spiritually bypass your pain by detouring to ‘the high road’ too soon (speaking from experience, that doesn’t work). But it’s best to not stay stuck in those negative feelings for too long.

Relationship conflict will cause pain, frustration and resistance, but it’s a part of life and cannot be avoided. It can, however, be acknowledged and appreciated for what it brings to you. The trials and tribulations in your life are here for a reason.

They give us the opportunity to learn from our pain and mistakes, and use that awareness to make different choices to improve the quality of our life moving forward.

Some lessons are quick and take a minimal amount of effort to learn such as, when we touch something hot, it burns, so we learn not to touch things that are hot.

Other lessons take a lot longer to learn and we end up getting ‘burned’ many times before we finally move away from the source of pain. Whether that source of pain is unhealthy relationships, unfulfilling jobs, bad habits, etc., we always have the freedom to transform those experiences into something greater.

And remember, what shows up in your life and how you handle it are greatly influenced by your relationship with yourself. So it’s important to examine your habitual thoughts and relationship patterns with a willingness to change the ones that are holding you back from being the woman you truly want to be.

When I look back at how I handled this recent conflict, I know in my heart that the healthy relationship I’ve created with myself over the years helped me move through it in a much more beneficial and effective way than I would have when I didn’t have a healthy relationship with myself. I see a huge difference, and I am thankful for my progress.

Did I handle it perfectly? No. Did I sometimes react from a place of pain, rather than love? Yes. But I acknowledged and apologized for that behavior when it happened, and I forgave myself for having a human experience.

A Healthy Path to Love
Your relationships and your life are not meant to just happen without you taking part in their journey. And it’s often the painful experiences that give you the greatest gifts of learning how to show up for yourself in a bigger and more loving way than you ever have before. This is how you can transform the darkness of relationship conflict into light…it’s a beautiful thing!

A HEALTHY Path to Love is all about showing you how to empower yourself from what you’ve already learned the hard way, so you can create the healthy and loving relationship you desire. It’s about tapping into your internal light and letting it guide you to your next best step.

Whether that means reconnecting with your current partner in a way that feels right, or letting go of a relationship that no longer serves you, it’s about breaking through the unhealthy patterns that bind you, and letting down the walls of protection that keep you from feeling the love you deserve.

It’s about taking your power back and channeling that power for something greater – so that you can step into the life you want to live, be the woman you want to be, and express your love and light to its fullest potential.

As you prepare to transition from 2017 to 2018, and to a new chapter and phase of your life, I encourage you to remember the limitless potential of your Divine nature, and to give yourself permission to let your light shine.

We’ll be talking about how to make the most of this transition in the next mindful message. Until then, may you have peace in your mind, love in your heart, and joy in your life.

Happy holidays! And be sure to see the P.S. below for my gift to you…another valuable resource to help you let your light shine brighter.

Stay tuned for more mindful messages and other valuable resources – giving you helpful insights, tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!

With love and support,

Catherine Dietz
Healthy Relationship Coach

P.S. As 2017 comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on what this past year has brought to your relationship and what you’d like to create for 2018 and beyond. If you’re looking for guidance and support, coaching can help. Having an objective person who listens to you and what’s going on in your relationship, and offers insights to help you feel more empowered, heard and understood can be a catalyst for transformation in you and in your relationship. To find out if we’re a good fit for one another, schedule your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session here, and then choose to honor that time as a gift to yourself.