“When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love.” —Bell Hook
Linda: There are many issues, problems, and difficulties that we are challenged to address and work out especially in the early years of our relationship. But a time can come where the issues have been adequately addressed so that we move beyond merely struggling to make the relationship work. We can ultimately graduate to a higher level where sexual and emotional well-being characterizes our romantic partnership; but it must be earned.
To earn the loving partnership we long for, we must not turn away, but find the courage to look into the mirror that our partner can be for us.
If we make a contract to learn and grow together, there will be countless opportunities for challenging each other to become more of who we can be. Using our relationship as the extraordinary growth opportunity that it is, we can learn a tremendous amount about ourselves by thinking of our partner as mirror. Since it’s quite difficult to see ourselves clearly without a mirror, our partner can serve us well and we can do the same for him or her.
Once we have been in a relationship long enough for the infatuation to wear off, we begin to see each other more clearly, flaws and all. We will be seeing some unpleasant parts of ourselves in that mirror, for instance the weakling, coward, righteous judge, selfish taker, or the bully. All the shadowy parts that we don’t like to acknowledge will be reflected back to us. By becoming aware of them, those shadow characters are less likely to damage our relationships. And we have a chance to work with our least desirable aspects to develop more wholesome ways of being.
It may be uncomfortable, unpleasant, even shocking to see so much bad news. But there is plenty of good news as well. For the same mirror reflects back our greatness, creativity, intelligence, integrity, generosity, and kindness. So if we want our partner to show us our greatness, it’s a package deal and we will see the entire reflection, both the light and the dark.
Using our partner as a mirror is a splendid way to come to deeply know who we are at the core of our being, and to move from pain to joy. Spiritual practitioners may sit silently in meditation and prayer for decades to get to deeply know themselves, while the process is accelerated in the hot fire of relationship.
By using the magic mirror, we can observe all of our patterns, both those that are skillful and those that are not. We can see our flaws and shortcomings, our selfishness, pettiness, lack of impulse control, our fears, loneliness, and the ways we posture to cover up the parts of which we are ashamed.
To be forced to pass by the mirror on a daily basis due to the very fact that we live in close proximity with our partner, we are forced to look. Yet some people put a big black cloth over the mirror and refuse to use it. When they first looked they were shocked by what they observed and decided not to look any more. Some people want to break the mirror. Others just get the mirror out of the house by leaving the relationship altogether.
What a wasted opportunity to utilize the magic mirror to learn more and to grow into who we can be. Not only do we stand to gain a stronger and more enjoyable relationship with ourselves as we learn, we enjoy a delightful, thriving relationship with our partners as they are doing the same. The result of this dynamic process spills into all areas of our life in the form of more aliveness, vitality, health, wellbeing and feeling that we have an abundance to contribute to others.
As we become more intimate with ourselves we can become intimate with our partner. And as we practice being intimate with our partner, we grow more intimate with ourselves. By allowing ourselves to become transparent to be seen with love and acceptance by another, we develop additional self-love.
When this time arrives, we have gotten to know ourselves deeply and have gotten to know our partner as well. Through our interactions we have learned to develop patience, courage, compassion, gentleness, fierceness, and generosity. The dedication to not only our own personal evolution, but that of our partner as well, brings us to the higher levels of what is possible. Joy, happiness, and ecstasy characterize our lives and spills over to those around us.
So what do you think about all this? Are you already using your magic mirror? If you are not yet using it, are you willing to risk it?
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” —Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate