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Levels of Development...Focusing on Yourself vs Your Partner

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inquiry & integration

inquiry instructions

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Inquiry:  How much have you been focusing on being accountable just for your own reactions and defenses in your relationship rather than your partner's?  Will you reflect now on how, in the context of a struggle, you have directed your attention?

Personal Integration :  This practice can be done alone or with a friend, lover, or counselor. Take one to five minutes or longer to contemplate and answer the question. When done with another, it is essential that the listener remains neutral and encourages you by repeating this inquiry as needed to help maintain focus.  Don't be surprised if you have dominantly been focused on your partner at the beginning, middle and end of a struggle.  Most of us want to see ourselves as more innocent and right than we are.  It takes great humility, courage and honesty to admit this.  This is a key step towards greater self acceptance and love, and also increases our capacity for intimacy.   For a few of us who are dominantly self critical, it will be necessary to focus on being less self judgmental, and instead develop your capacity to see yourself, but not with a critical edge to it.   A subtle part of this inquiry is looking at how critical we are vs. developing our capacity to be aware, without negativity or judgment.  

Inquiry 2:  What are the feelings that arise when you lessen or stop focusing on your partners issues? (refer to the Introspective Guides on feelings and needs)

Personal Integration 2.  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Once you have directed the attention towards yourself, you are bound to be in touch with feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt, inadequacy, fear, insecurity...   This is a healthy sign that you are peeling the onion into deeper layers of yourself.  You may also be judging yourself which reflects a wish to still be in control, and if this is the case hopefully you can ask yourself what is inside or underneath this layer of judgment.   See if you can appreciate that this vulnerability is an important stage of evolution that we need to go through if we want to develop our capacity for self compassion and intimacy.

Inquiry 3:  What are the needs that you discover as you focus on yourself?  (refer to Introspective Guides on Feelings and Needs)

Personal Integration 3:  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Many of us  have never understood deeply what our needs are.  It is so helpful to become intimately familiar, on a daily basis, with what our dominant two or three needs are.   This becomes easier to discover if we are in touch with the vulnerability that arises in the second inquiry, as it is easier to discover our needs if we are self focused rather than being distracted with criticizing ourselves or our partner.   Every day it is helpful to ask what are my dominant few needs that I have arising?

Inquiry 4:  What practices are most helpful for you to use to keep the focus on yourself?  What realizations does it lead you to now as you focus on yourself?   

Personal Integration 4:  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Some of the practices that are helpful include meditation, prayer, inquiry, short periods of silence or accessing your own wisdom.   Whatever your chosen practice let yourself zero in on your defenses, feelings and needs.  As these become clearer to you see if you can not only discover these, but also how you can care for yourself.  Let your practices identify your human sides, and also lead to the question how can I best take care of myself or what will support healing as I see my feelings, needs or defenses.  

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Since 1972, Humanistic Spirituality founder Robert Strock has maintained a private spiritual and therapeutic counseling practice that specializes in purposeful living, relationships, spiritual psychology, and death and dying counseling. Humanistic Spirituality provides various spiritual workshops, guided mediations, and licensed marriage family therapists and licensed social work continuing education courses. Contact us to learn how we can help you find inner peace and spiritual awareness through our counseling, or our free guided meditations, videos, audios, writings, introspective guises and more. A warm welcome from the team at Humanistic Spirituality.

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