The REAL purpose of relationships

“I need to stop again,” I mumbled to my husband from the passenger seat.

He quickly pulled his truck off the highway and put the hazards on. My fingers fumbled around the door handle. It opened and I fell into the ditch below.

I hit my shoulder, but could hardly feel it since it took all my awareness to avoid vomiting on myself on the way down.

“Jordin? JORDIN??” my husband called, unable to see me in the dark.

“I’m over here,” I barely mumbled, opening my eyes to realize I did get throw up in my hair after all.

“Oh god, Jordin,” he said as he rushed to my side to help me up.

I was drunk.

Drunker than I had ever been.

And I had never felt so physically ill.

Joe supported me back to the truck and helped me up on the seat. Which had a towel on it because I peed my pants the first time I had to stop and throw up that night.

(You guys. I ruined another pair of leather boots by peeing my pants. This time wasn’t a funny story, though. It was just sad.)

“I’m sorry,” I murmured for the tenth time, “I just wanted to be cool.”

We were driving back from a night out with a sales rep from Joe’s work that I hadn’t met before. He’s the one I wanted to impress. I don’t really have anything nice to say about him, so I’ll just state a few facts so you can get a feel for the type of person he is:

  • He made an emphatic comment about how big his wife’s thighs were, hand gestures and all, while she was sitting right next to him (it made Joe and I really uncomfortable)

So why did I care if a guy like that thought I was cool?

Because performing for other people so they think I’m cool is an unconscious pattern I’ve been playing out for as long as I can remember, especially around unconscious men. And the function of relationships is to bring what’s unconscious in us to the surface. Regardless of if they are acquaintances like this guy or intimate romantic relationships.

This is why it is so important to choose your friends and your significant others wisely. If you spend time with people “asleep” in their unconsciousness, you’ll spiral deeper into unconsciousness together. In other words, me lying in a ditch in the dark on the side of the highway throwing up on myself will be a metaphor for your life.

But if you spend time with people that are “awake” to their unconsciousness, that is, on a journey toward consciousness (or enlightenment or their true selves or true happiness), the two of you will spiral into consciousness together.

Which, trust me, that’s where you want to be. Here’s why.

The function of relationships is to bring what’s unconscious in us to the surface. Click To Tweet

More consciousness, please!

People who have studied the mystics of every major religion have reported they all end up saying the same thing: consciousness is all that matters. Call it consciousness, love, enlightenment, nirvana, God, the present moment, your true self; it all means the same thing.

Odds are, you’ve already experienced it at some point in your life.

It’s that space in the present moment when you’re suddenly okay with all the not-okayness. When something beautiful takes your breath away for a few seconds. When we miraculously find peace even amidst intense suffering. It’s the glimpse of the present moment I got at the farm the other day.

Words fail to describe it fully. But if I had to sum it up, I’d say consciousness the deepest form of happiness.

And it’s the only thing in life that matters. The deepest knowing in you already knows this to be true.

Knowing this, the goal of life shifts from resisting pain, to healing the pain we already have inside ourselves through consciousness.

Consciousness is the deepest form for happiness. Click To Tweet

Relationships always push us toward consciousness

That’s why they hurt so much.

Relationships make what’s unconscious conscious. This, ultimately, is a good thing. But it can be quite a painful process because much of what we are unconscious to is bad habits and a deep-seated fear of loneliness. As a relationship shines a light on these bad habits, the pain of exposure can be unbearable. But it is also freeing.

Are you ready for the most mind-blowing part of all this?

The only pain we experience in relationships is the pain we already have inside of ourselves.

Even if your partner did something heinous, the pain you feel was already there, hidden as an unconscious insecurity or fear. You’re just conscious of it now. But before you rage quit this article, let me make one thing clear: this doesn’t mean that your partner shouldn’t be held responsible, or that the pain you feel is your fault.

Accepting that the pain you feel in relationships has been inside of you all along and wasn’t just created by your partner from thin air, means that you have full control over your own happiness. In this way, there is nothing more empowering than accepting this truth, because it means you have the power to be deeply happy (or at least peaceful), regardless of other people’s unconscious bad habits. It also means that while the situation is incredibly painful, it is an opportunity to heal another layer of your unconscious pain.

So bottom line: don’t enter relationships hoping they’ll be a permanent band-aid over your pain for ever and ever amen. Because relationships do just the opposite; they make your unconscious pain conscious. It can be painful if you are friends or partners with someone asleep to their bad habits, because they’ll continue to play out their bad habits in your relationship until they finally become conscious of them, using you as a punching bag in the meantime.

But relationships can be incredibly freeing and intimate when we’re friends or partners with someone on a journey to greater consciousness, whose focus is supporting us in our own consciousness journey.

Don’t enter relationships expecting them to be a permanent band-aid over your pain. Because relationships do just the opposite; they make your unconscious pain conscious. Click To Tweet

What happens when my friend or partner is asleep to their unconscious bad habits?

Gosh. I’ve so been there. Great question.

On one hand, you care about them, like hanging out with them, and have a history with them. But on the other hand, you’re tired of being their crash test dummy as they continually make the same mistakes.

What I’ve found, though, is when I focus on raising my own level of consciousness, the answer to this question just falls into my lap. Because there are really only three scenarios:

1) Worst case scenario: You’ll spiral into greater depths of unconsciousness together.

It takes someone dedicated to raising their level of consciousness to avoid being dragged down by someone who is deeply asleep in their unconscious bad habits.

I mean, the story I told at the beginning of this article happened just the other day. I already had glimpses of enlightenment. I was more conscious than I’d ever been. But when I was surrounded by the low-level unconscious energy of the sales rep guy, it beckoned to my own low-level energy, and I was totally dragged down with him.

It wasn’t pretty. My body felt like shit. I got throw up in my hair. Lost control of my bowls. Ruined another friggin’ pair of leather boots. All around no bueno.

When this happens, the best we can do is face ourselves with love and compassion. Accept our bad habits as they are, and take small, manageable steps to becoming your true self who is free of pain and fully conscious.

2) Best case scenario: Your consciousness acts as a catalyst for the other person’s consciousness.

Which then acts as a catalyst for your own conscious journey. In this way, you spiral up into consciousness together. This is true intimacy. It won’t be without it’s pain, mind you, because part of your journey to consciousness is becoming aware of all that is unconscious inside of you, even the pain. But you will be supported by someone on the same journey, which has the potential to accelerate your healing and heighten your happiness.

3) Most likely scenario: You separate like oil and water.

Not because it is hard for the conscious person, but because it is extremely hard for an unconscious person to be with a conscious person. This is because the conscious person silently calls upon the unconscious person to be their best self, which for many unconscious people is too much to bare. The unconscious ego needs struggle and conflict to exist, while the conscious person is learning to love and accept everything as it is without a struggle. There is no basis for the unconscious ego to hold on to when it is in relationship with a conscious person, therefore it feels like it will die (which it will) so the unconscious person will avoid true intimacy at all costs. In this way, the conscious and the unconscious person separate like oil and water.

Choose your relationships wisely

Relationships are always pushing us toward consciousness, which means bringing the unconscious parts of ourselves to our consciousness to heal. Whenever you choose to be in a relationship with anyone; friends, family, or significant others, your unconscious pain is going to be brought to the surface. The more unconscious the person you’re in a relationship with is, the more painful the awareness of your own unconsciousness will be. However, if you’re in a relationship with a conscious person, your unconscious pain will be brought to the surface in a gentle, loving way.

If you choose to be around unconscious people, you may find yourself spiralling deeper into unconsciousness, like I did the other night. If you choose to be around people willing to become more conscious, you’ll spiral up into consciousness together. It is your choice.

If reading this has inspired you to increase your own level of consciousness, I encourage you to check out the healing guide I created. It is all about identifying your first great sadness, or first unconscious pain, and healing it.

Check it out here.

Originally published at ourweirdlives.com on March 27, 2018.

Trauma-informed coach helping survivors of narcissistic abuse thrive in relationships. IG + Twitter: @justjordinjames