We love to be shown qualities within us that are positive. But love often shows us what is un-loving within us, much as the light of the sun creates shadows. To understand this is to realize that even in the darkest moment of some unwanted revelation, we are never without love; it is always there, even if – as clouds sometimes hide the sun – it is momentarily obscured by our negative reaction to what we’ve been shown (about ourselves). 

More than anything else, relationships serve a great single end: the ongoing revelation of the truth of ourselves. Our willingness to honestly examine what we presently love ­– and what we are becoming because of our relationship with it – is the beginning of not only learning to love what is truly gracious, forever good, and kind, but also of loving to realize these truths about ourselves, whatever their nature. More than this, one cannot ask for; less than this… is to miss the purpose of having been given life.

Our relationships become “magical” as we realize that whatever remains concealed within us can’t be healed, and that our partner – our “mirror” in each moment – is actually the agent of these revelations that alone can release us from our limitation. Our resulting freedom not only liberates us, but also liberates our relationship from its former boundary, allowing both of us to grow into better, more loving people.

Taking full responsibility for our relationships begins with recognizing that resentment, fear, and regret choke the life out of our chance to unconditionally love one another. Further, it comes of realizing that running through these old patterns – while holding others accountable (or punishing ourselves) for the pain in them has utterly failed. Acknowledging this truth initiates the birth of being fully responsible for our relationships, realizing, if we wish to have true harmonious relationships with others, then it is we who must change.

Ultimately, we must face the fact that it is not in our power to change the nature of others in life. On the other hand, as their nature reveals in us what it inevitably does, those revelations empower us to change ourselves.

Relationships, especially difficult ones, show us aspects of our own consciousness that would otherwise remain invisible; but, used properly, they can help reveal and then release us from parts of us we can see no longer serve us. This illumination is our liberation from any troubling relationship, whether with others…or ourselves!

It is in conscious relationships that we gradually grow – individually – into all that is self-sufficient and good, because it is through them that we become stronger and wiser, allowing us to transcend our unseen self-limiting level of self.

What this means is that wherever our relationship unfolds (marriage, family, on the job, etc.), it is always here and now that we need to work. Nothing speeds up our inner work better than working with someone who helps us realize the need for change! The closer the relationship, the more likely this dynamic exists.On the other hand, our wish to work inwardly does not depend upon the compliance of anyone else, nor can any other human being impede it.

In a way, we are each both a “jewel in the rough” and the jeweler’s wheel, all at once. One moment, we are being acted upon, asked to see facets of ourselves that need to be polished; a heartbeat later, roles are reversed, and we are the wheel that reveals what needs to be healed in our partner. 

That is what love has always intended for us to do and to be with each other: to work as polishing stones so that each of us exits the moment of relationship more perfected than we entered into it. The more we understand and agree to embrace these roles and their revelations, the more magical all our relationships become.

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