Whatever the popular love advice of the day says about “find someone who loves you as you are” … sure, that’s a wise ideal to lean towards, but make no mistake:
You don’t get to stay the same person when you finally decide to build a life with another human being.
Where a “bad” relationship will change you into someone you don’t like, and a relationship that doesn’t serve to change you at all will eventually bore you, a genuinely “good” relationship commands you to grow.
By “good” I just mean a relationship that compels you towards becoming the loving, heart-centered, wise being you were born to become.
Naturally, all the parts of you that are not yet loving, heart-centered, and wise will resist that push towards growth. (what else could those parts possibly do?)
From the outside looking in, you’d hardly believe both Silvy and I have thought of fleeing our relationship more than a few times in our 3 years together. If not to save our selves from the other, then to save the other from our selves.
But Silvy and I met as two individuals deeply committed to growing in love. This relationship of ours continues to command us both to grow in ways we could not – WOULD NOT EVEN CHOOSE! – to grow by ourselves alone.
That’s what makes our relationship great.
It’s not great because it’s easy, or we just somehow get each other.
Hell no! We’re two passionate, strong-willed people born with meaningfully different biologies who then marinated (for decades) in vastly different life experiences. Our two still-distinct worlds clash often enough!
Our relationship is great because we’re both willing to be changed and evolved by this experience in ways that require us to drop our stubborn allegiances to what we each think “should be” and instead learn to more fully embrace “what is wanting to become” … even when it’s uncomfortable.
In other words, our relationship serves to open us both ever more towards REAL LOVE – the mysterious domain of the heart, not of the brain.
I don’t care what the latest 27-yr old dating “guru” on Youtube says, Real Love is fucking terrifying to the mind that thinks it’s knows what love should look like.
Today, I am not the same man Silvy met 3 years ago.
For although she does her best to love me “as I am,” she also loves me – and herself – in such committed, penetrating ways that the best, most loving man in me is routinely commanded forth because nothing less will serve.
I still sometimes (often) resist that command, though in the end it’s always futile. For it’s my heart – not merely another ego – commanding me to grow.
As my resistance relaxes, I allow myself to not know what life should look like right now. This allows my heart to open to what is actually present in the moment, even though my mind may label it ugly and unwanted.
In that openness, I can (finally) show up for LOVE – not just for Silvy, but for LOVE – in ways the old Bryan would never have believed possible, would have scoffed at even.
Yet my daily reward for my commitment to growing in love is a brilliant “Khoucasian Smile” bursting with kindness and affection, and two gorgeous ocean-black Isis eyes in which I get to see reflected back at me all the joys and sorrows and passionate longings of the Universe.
That’s the true Alchemy of Love:
When we experience, even for an instant, our humanity transformed to reveal the divine within us, and we suddenly find ourselves in awe, touching the dazzling face of infinity.
Such a blissful freedom as this actually CAN be found in relationship … if you’re willing to be forever changed by it.
p.s. “Willing to be uncomfortable” is NOT the same as “willing to let our boundaries be violated” (i.e., allowing abuse). Silvy and I both have strong AND loving boundaries that set us up for success. Learn how we do that (and how to do boundaries better yourself) @ www.bryanreeves.com/boundaries
p.p.s. What does this inspire in you? Leave a comment below! (I read all of them)
Profound, sage advice.
Change (or growth) is not an optional extra is it when we truly love
Thank you and yes I agree wholeheartedly! It is. It is not optional, unless we prefer suffering. 😉
Yes, real love is terrifying to ones ego because to experience real love, one must die to ones small self (ego) and merge with ones beloved. Like a seed which goes in the ground and then bears fruit.
This sounds like what’s happened in my relationship. What the hell is that? It’s like we experience an actual physical death here and there. I’ve felt something similar before that was like ‘dark night of the soul’ but never in a relationship before this.
The key thing here is dropping the stubborn mindset. I can’t tell you how much that has changed me. It’s hard though 45 years of being stubborn almost allowed me to miss something very important. Love and life.
So profound Bryan!
This is so true. I laugh at people who say that couples experiencing challenges early on are not meant to be. Depends on the challenges. Me and my boyfriend are just over 6 months and we’ve experienced what feels like 3 or 4 deaths and rebirths (maybe ego death?) so far.
He has shaken all my core fears to the surface, I’ve done the same to him. And our love just gets deeper, we get more committed, and he continues to amaze me with the entirety of his being. My heart is overflowing.
So much wisdom and so poetically and perfectly described.