Nature is not the only place to notice rebirth and renewal. We associate the New Year with a fresh start and even a new birth. The new year is a time of expanding boundaries and openness, and since many people around us are equally excited so many things feel just right.
In nature, rebirth is most noticeable in spring. However, we can experience a rebirth in our relationships and a sense of personal identity at any time. We are ever-evolving in our approach to life and as we value changes (and especially as we increasingly value ourselves) our approach to existing and new relationships changes. A new identity and self-concept emerge and this is not static.
If you can reflect back ten years ago and count how many of the same people from that time remain in your life, how many are no longer there because of your personal growth? Or, maybe you’ve noticed that you would not likely select these people as your friends now and in your future.
In existing relationships and with family members, consider how relational dynamics have changed along with other changes including life cycle events/stages, and health and career changes. Things by nature do not remain the same and this applies to absolutely everything.
So, what is rebirth in our relationships?
Consider a couple married for decades with grown children and even grandchildren. Perhaps, they met in college and married in their twenties. The relationship was initially based on a limitless future where all possibilities and career choices were before them.
In general, they spent a good amount of time together building the relationship and closeness between them and then at some point, the dynamics changed and so did their identities when they became parents.
Fast forward through child-rearing, career growth, grandparenting and perhaps health issues along the way. This includes major changes, such as the deaths of their own parents, financial stresses, and any other concern or life event that came their way.
This couple is certainly not the same couple from the beginning. Cellular and physical aging notwithstanding, there has been a combined relationship evolution and two separate personal ones.
In one respect if they have lasted this long and are still viable and relatively (everything is relative) a happy couple, then they've adjusted and experienced many rebirths in the relationship over the decades.
In Imago relationship theory, for example, we assert that intimate partners are attracted to one another because they unconsciously sense traits in a partner which will help them heal unresolved childhood wounds. These childhood wounds can range from any type of emotional injury - a deficit to a sense of feeling overwhelmed and invalidated and anything in between.
There is the subconscious ideal they hold of what love looks like is called an "Imago", which is the Latin term for image.
As couples progress through the lifespan they may connect and relate in such a way that overt childhood wounds are indeed healed through trust and consideration. A previously unheard partner may feel heard, a partner requiring respect of personal boundaries may be given space and time, and so on.
If needs are met and wounds healed through the partnership there is a chance other needs will emerge which were secondary to the most obvious ones since needs always change and in turn more healing (and sometimes conflict and resistance to healing) may take place.
Relationship rebirth also holds true for our relationship with ourselves. In fact, the pervasive societal shift to a more conscious and self-aware world offers a wealth of resources for nurturing the ongoing development of our inner life.
Previously people scoffed at the concept of a midlife crisis which is really an unfortunate misnomer for midlife rebirth and reassessment. Our generation's longevity has offered a stage of life not previously available to our ancestors who struggled daily with the basic needs of food and shelter.
We are fortunate on many levels to have this extended opportunity to be different selves or to enhance our more constant sense of who we are many times over. Perhaps that's the existential goal of having this chance. The universe is asking "If I give you this opportunity, what will you do with it?"
There is so much beauty and growth in the life cycles of birth, rebirth, and renewal. Take the time to enjoy the natural inclination toward renewal and repair to heal our interpersonal and internally divine relationships.
Make 2020 your year of rebirth!
This blog post was written by Aviva Chansky Guttmann, LMSW, CIRT, an Advanced Imago Clinician and Safe Conversations Facilitator practicing in the Mid Hudson Valley, in New York.
Her background includes several areas of practice including medical social work, energy psychology, sex therapy and EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique-tapping).
Aviva facilitates and launched the Red Hook Holistic Practitioners‘ Support and Connection Group and an Empath Support Group. She offers educational workshops about Imago and Safe Conversations to community groups and teaches safe dialoguing techniques in adult continuing education settings. Check out her website today!