Reflections on Conscious Relationships, Two

Conscious relationship means different things to different people. Some people think it refers to open sexual relationships, while other people think it is about spiritual awakening in relationship. Yet others may see it as understanding inner demons, rather than taking them out on our partner. For me, however the essence of conscious relationship is all about self-responsibility and choice!

Making Real Choices

How many times have you found yourself reacting to your partner’s words or actions, only to later wonder why you reacted in the way you did? How often have you found yourself on the receiving end of your partner’s judgements or projections and wondered “where did that come from”? Conscious relationship is a practice of mindfully bringing awareness into our own thoughts, feelings and actions when caught in relationship dynamics. Only through this type of process can we see our own projections that we put on our partner and make a choice… “Do I believe this projection and react out of my unconscious patterns or do I chose to “turn the magnifying glass around” from my partner to myself” (as Susan Jeffers would say!).

Conscious Relationship & Self-Responsibility

Self-responsibility is simply the ABILITY to RESPOND! If we are driven by unconscious patterns, then we tend to REACT. These reactions may involve lashing out verbally or even physically, or they may  involve withdrawing into ourselves and becoming evasive or avoidant. The way we can tell if it is a reaction, rather than a response, is if the emotion seems to possess us and take on a life of its own. The other way we can tell that it is a reaction is if it becomes a repetitive way of acting towards our partner. Patterns are automatic habits of thoughts, feelings and action. They are often instant and tend to lack conscious thought or awareness, as well as lacking understanding for self and other and compassion.

There are no choices without conscious awareness… not real choices anyway. We may believe we are making choices when we are really driven by unconscious patterns however, this is an illusion. After all, how can we make choices in how we are acting towards our partner if a) we do not understand them or where they are coming from, and b) we do not even see or understand our own patterns? The answer is simply that we cannot!

The Challenge of Conscious Relationship

This process of self-responsibility and choice sounds simple and it is in principle. However, in practice it can be challenging. Blaming and projecting our realties onto our partner is very common and can be powerfully convincing. So many people in couple relationships do not simply connect on an intimate level where they allow themselves to see their partner as simply human. A lot of people do not stop and simply listen (and I mean REALLY listen) to their partners. Many miss the person and their inner struggle within their partner because all they can see is their own inner child struggling with mum or dad, or another significant childhood role-model. The beliefs themselves, and our emotional attachments those perceptions and beliefs, are strong. Most of the time we do not know our perceived reality in intimate relationship IS ACTUALLY a projection!!!

An example of patterns and projections harming an intimate relationship is the pattern of rejection. For example, we may genuinely think that our partner is rejecting us and feel crushed and betrayed. Yet the partner’s reality may be that they are overwhelmed at work or that their partner is not listening to them and therefore not available to them anyway. Ironically, the person feeling rejected may desperately want connection, however they do not know how to connect with their partner, often due to communication differences. So this pattern leaves both people isolated, hurt and confused. Neither one wanted this. Nor are either to blame. Either one could pick up the sword of clarity and self-responsibility and look at their 50% of the relationship dance to help resolve the misunderstanding. It is even more powerful if BOTH choose to work through their respective 50% of the relationship dynamic and fully resolve the conflict.

This is just one of many challenging patterns and projections that can happen in intimate relationships. The core essential point is that taking self-responsibility and making conscious choices to co-create an intimate relationship, where both people grow into better people and better partners, is a desirable goal.


What ways do you consciously choose to take self-responsibility in your intimate relationship?


9 Responses to “Reflections on Conscious Relationships, Two”

  • Fantastic Blog, wow you hit the nail on the head! Thankyou<3
    Blessings Ceinie xo

  • Once again, great insight.
    I had to have a little smile as I read this though. The insight is there so is the theory and the practical stuff is the difficult bit. It’s what I was searching for year after year after year. We all look for a pill and it doesn’t exist (well it does through medication and we both know THAT is not the way to go). Mind you I did find a recurring pill, took years of self exploration and help from others and it does work. My pill has become my seminars and workshops.

    The really difficult thing is not reacting, to staying proactive (I call it “Above the Line”) and empowering. Ironically, being empowering and proactive can be very easy if we remain conscious of our thoughts all the time.

    Such a big topic.


    • Hi Andrew, I am loving your comments!!! The reality of Conscious relationship is that it involves the practice of on going mindfulness, self awareness, communication and opening to intimacy. You’re right, there’s no pill!!!! Yet we grow and transform through intimate relationship. In fact this is one of the most powerful transformers. Our choice is to take up the challenge and grow or shut down and bunker in (which often leads to more pain).

      Great comment!!!
      Lots of love

  • Great info Vanessa – self-responsibility is so important in relationship… And so tricky. Often so difficult to know what is whose ‘stuff’ to claim. x

    • Hi Leonie, that’s a great point, it is so hard to work out whose stuff is whose!!!! I always come back to simplicity… I am only responsible for my own thoughts, feelings and actions. It may be that my partner triggers my past emotional memories or that I experience adaptive emotional response to his actions or words, however, that is still my responsibility. There is nothing wring withe emotions, it is up to me to work out what are projections, triggered reactions and adaptive responses and then take action accordingly. If I am triggered then I may seek therapy and a deeper understanding of myself or energy work to clear my inner space. Or if I am responding adaptively, then I may chose to communicate or establish healthy boundaries.

      I love your point, I could write another blog on this!
      Lots of love

      • yes it’s a big one! The problem arises when most of us can’t be quite as reasonable as you! It’s so much easier to project and blame the other person… Triggers from the past is huge too. I think it takes immense amounts of insight and maturity to realise these and not project this on to your partner. Thanks again Vanessa for your thought provoking posts. :)

  • Kama:

    Big topic and such an important one. I believe that a true conscious relationship is when both parties are in a space of self responsibility. However generally one person has mastered this more than the other. I believe the secret lies in those split seconds before we react to another. When something is said or done that we find upsetting, if we can find a moment of reflection of our own assumptions, emotions or thoughts before reacting then we are more likely to respond (rather than react) from a place of self responsibility. Relationships are vulnerable and often our reactions are caused by our own insecurities and not by reality. A rule of thumb is if someone has said something that allows you to feel angry or hurt then there is a lack of self responsibility on your part, you are blaming the other for how you feel. We could talk about this for hours couldn’t we … Simple but not easy!

  • Oh babe, you are singing my song!! I am sooooo passionate about people being conscious in their lives & not just puddling along. It doesn’t actually matter if they make the same choices, just make them consciously, so thank you for this post.
    Of course the other part of this you soooo rightly mention is communication – we all get caught up in our “stuff” & yet it is the person closest to us that bears the brunt & we do not give the greatest courtesy to.

    Thanks for a great blog honey xxx

Leave a Reply