We are immersed in a living and interactive world which is constantly changing from moment to moment, and we find ourselves constantly trying to achieve harmony within it's fluidity. We are dependant on our relationships with our fellow human beings to survive and navigate in this world.. Based on our past relational experiences we learn ways and means to interact, sometimes with varied results. The quality of our present day relationships is key for ensuring our quality of life and the degree to which we fully realise our potential in this lifetime. For within our relationships lies an opportunity to grow beyond what we are familiar with and the expectations we place on ourselves and others.
Our senses ensure that we are aware of what is around us at any given time, we know when it is safe and when there is a potential threat to our wellbeing. When we are aware of the presence of another human being we are on some level emotionally regulating ourselves. We might feel drawn towards another when they offer a genuine offer of contact that is heartfelt and warm. We may feel hurt, pull away and feel disconnected when another is angry and hostile towards us, Human contact is vital for our wellbeing and survival, and those of us who feel continually lonely and disconnected are more susceptible as research suggests to several mental and physical health conditions.
We all yearn on some level for companionship, where we are deeply met by another, it is the sort of contact we'd expect to experience in intimate relationships. These close relationships invite us to reveal our humanity and our vulnerability, they become a pathway towards deeper understanding of ourselves, and our partners. Yet the path of intimacy can be littered with a range of relational experiences, some hurtful, and painful and also moments of joy and happiness. Sometimes our partner feels close to us, and other times we cant get far enough away from them. Our intimate relationships are designed to bring up for us the parts of ourselves that didn't get fully met when we were growing up. We relate to others in ways that are most familiar to us, and often we choose partners that in some way represent the type of relationships that we experienced early on in life. We do this often because on some level it feels familiar to us, we understand how to navigate the relationship, whilst on some level we yearn to resolve our unmet emotional needs.
Our intimate relationships whist revealing our unmet parts of ourselves, as suggested also carry the potential for healing, a place where we are able to experience being fully met. When we are able to be vulnerable enough to express our needs, and to experience feeling received, heard and understood we nourish not only ourselves but the relationship. Being vulnerable develops intimacy and connection, when we share the deepest parts of our soul we create a safe space for our partner to do the same. Healthy relationships allow us to grow by having new emotional experiences, and to resolve inner tensions that we have carried all our lives. For when we are fully met and our deepest yearnings honoured we can feel sense of completeness and harmony within, and a connection to the world around us. For our relationships are a means by which we can find equilibrium in our intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of ourselves within a fluid and interdependent environment.
Richard Prince is a Sydney based Gestalt Psychotherapist in private practice. He works with clients that are interested in developing their inner wisdom, to create a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfilling relationships. He has trained in the United States and in Australia, completing a degree in Architecture, and holds Masters Degrees in Social Ecology and Gestalt Psychotherapy. He balances his therapy practice with life in the professional business world as a creative practitioner, as a father, a husband, and as a full time human being.