Most folks in committed relationships feel that conflict is a bad thing. The shadow side of the self is often suppressed with tactics like “anger management” or palliated with the “power of positive thinking.” The subconscious will always leverage the shadow content for your “not so viewing pleasure” if you choose to keep it falsely couched behind an over active intellect. The intellect thrives falsely anchored in the past or projected into the future and true health can be achieved as long as this is the pattern. Relationships demand connection to our true feelings and it is best if we know what they are before negative conflict arises.
By offering yourself as a more explored whole to your partner, you risk less destabilization and demoralization on both sides. If you choose to use the the relationship as the primary vehicle for raising negative content from the subconscious, you risk destroying your relationship with your partner and over time, with yourself. You’ve heard how an abused man or women will enter into a similar relationship a second time. When the conflict arises, you often get taken by the thrust of stored negative emotions that leave you mystified and trapped in a “he says, she says” mode of negative communication. Really, no one ever benefits from a battle of wills. This primal loop of negativity just loops tirelessly around and around.
Most art and film, for example, reveals our suppressed feelings “in the now” that allow us to see who we are in the light of day. It will even expose our bad bits in a very positive medium. The movie The Matrix is a very good example how art can render just how unconscious we’ve become to the forces of evil that puppet us. In order to convert the shadow side of our being, and live outside our own Matrix, we need to shed some light on this nether aspect of the self. Our grief, fear, anger and guilt are not going anywhere, and as you may already suspect, they do despise positive thinking and will sabotage it constantly. If we commit to harnessing them correctly, however, we can know a greater self-powered consciousness than ever before. By first embracing what is, in the moment, our emotions will convert, offering themselves up as a fount of creativity. Safe expression of our feelings can become a vehicle to our greater creativity and ultimate healthy connectivity with others.
The parts of your relationships that you despise, or even abhor, is a good indication of what you need to wrestle with in your own shadow side. That emotion, then needs expression. Using safe modalities such as a punching bag, Judo, art therapy, journaling, and poetry can allow you to safely see what is hidden at the level of your sub-conscious. You can do this first, on your own, safely illuminating negative emotions positively. Shedding light on your dark side raises your knowledge of yourself, in a more positive light, ultimately building self-confidence. This allows the relationship to benefit from your conversion of the negative into the positive. No individual finds anything more sexy than a partner who already lives a fully examined life. By the time you get to the commitment stage, you are already starting most of your sentences with, “I feel …” breeding confidence and self-esteem even when the emotions are of a negative breed. This full engagement with your feelings, relieves you of the negative matrix, allowing you to embrace positive conflict in all aspects of your life. It begins with the self and your marriage can only benefit from it.