First of all, what is stress?
It’s not something external to ourselves, it’s not a situation or an experience; it’s our response to it. It’s a mental assessment of the situation (ie does this require me to worry?) and a physical response to that answer. The hormone that is triggered through our initial mental assessment of the situation actually causes our attention to stay focussed on the cause of the discomfort. A-ha. That is a really important factor.
The physical response involves a number of bodily systems all kicking into high gear, which lead to a variety of symptoms. It’s possible to be living with stress for long periods of time without being aware of it, because we so easily shift our normals to accommodate our circumstances that stress becomes the new normal. Easy peasy.
Secondly, I’d like to be sure that in looking at the idea of a relationship we’re starting from the same place. Relationships are the best mirrors I know of. For instance, if we’re seeing something in someone else we dislike, our most authentic, although often most difficult option, is to look at ourselves and see what it is in us that is causing us the discomfort.
Relationships, hopefully, begin with Love. You see in one another the potential for that shared Love to grow and fill every available space and spread through the world like a warm fuzzy blanket. At the time of the initial attraction, Love is there, waiting to be explored, developed and celebrated. You discover with joy all the things about each other, and maybe the not so joyful things, too. You find peace in the arms of the one who accepts you with their heart, knowing that your fears are as safe as your happiness.
The root is Love. You come together from a place of Self-love and strength, and join that together to form an even greater force, one that cannot be brought down by external forces. The passion you feel in your life comes from the joy of being authentic and seen for who you are, safe to express the innermost yearnings and joys of your soul in the knowledge of that Love. As you feel passion for life, you reflect it to your partner, who feels that as a reflection of themselves.
Enter Stress, Stage Left.
The situations that cause stress come in so many guises. Money is a huge one; illness in the family; a child with challenges; potential work problems; you name it, we humans can pick a whole lot of situations to worry about. When one of these situations enters a relationship, and the individuals turn their thoughts to worry, think about how that might play out.
On a physical level, the stress hormone kicks in, causing us to focus intently on the source of the discomfort. On a spiritual level, if you consider the laws of universal resonance, the focus of the relationship has now shifted from Love to something else.
Once that focus has shifted, the relationship begins to mirror new truths to each of the individuals. While each individual stood in their calm and centred place of Self-love and Self-care, they could share the joys of Love from a perspective that reflected their own worth to each other.
As the stress becomes the new normal, the Self-love and Self-care falls away, reflecting to each other that their worth has gone down in their own eyes. Once that happens, each individual begins to see the other through new lenses. If my worth has fallen in my own estimation, then it will also fall in the eyes of my partner.
As stress becomes a constant, a normal that persists over years, seemingly never allowing for any break from the situation that started the whole thing rolling, it slowly strips away everything the relationship had been built on.
Can you feel passion and stress at the same time? As you watch your partner fall into a pit that is focussed on the situation that causes the stress, passion disappears. Neither partner feels passion for anything in their life, because stress has become the new normal. As this reflects outwards, again, the partners feel no passion for each other because they see the spark in themselves has been extinguished. No one wants to see that.
If you can stay focussed on Love, always Love, for Self, for Source, for your partner, for all that is, then stress cannot strip away the foundations you’ve built your relationship on. Stay true to your own path, even when in partnership because in the end, we are all only responsible for our own life.
Do not allow your passion for life to die, under any circumstances. If the spark within you goes out, life becomes mundane and devoid of joy.
Stress is yet another teacher. It gives you the option to choose it or Love. The two cannot co-exist in the same heart-space. Sometimes the hardest lessons are learned too late.
About Jenny Griffin
Also known as 'The Catharsis Coach,' Jenny loves exploring life's twists and turns through the lens of transformation. Her own journey through catharsis, a deep, deep letting go of ingrained patterns and beliefs, resulted in a feeling of connectedness, with the world around her and with that wise and wonderful voice within. Jenny has learned to engage with her life and experiences in a way that allows her to use the knowledge gained through them to serve others. When she's not writing, she's coming up with new ways to help people move through change with grace and ease.