The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What Relationships Teach Us


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:  What Relationships Teach Us
How bad behavior can teach us good things about ourselves

     Our romantic relationships help us see all aspects of our personalities. All of our relationships do this, but romantic relationships do it in the most intense way. Romantic partners are mirrors, reflecting back parts of your personality that you may or many not want to look at. Romantic relationships offer the opportunity to heal wounded parts of yourself. Any conflict you have, especially if it’s a conflict that comes back repeatedly, is showing you where you have a wounded part of yourself that wants to be healed. Romantic relationships also show us parts of our personality that we may have suppressed because we learned as a child that those qualities were undesirable.
     They show us the good, as in when you’re initially attracted to a person. Their good qualities exist somewhere inside you, even if you don’t act them out. You don’t have the ability to appreciate a quality in another person unless you possess that quality yourself and it’s important to your value system. If you didn’t have that quality and it wasn’t important to you, you may recognize the trait but you wouldn’t be attracted to it.
     They show us the bad and the ugly, as in when you are irritated by something your partner does or says. It rubs you the wrong way because it conflicts with your value system. But just as the good is a reflection, those bad qualities also exist somewhere inside you. You may or may not express them, but they’re in there. When I talk about bad qualities, I’m talking about something that an individual judges as bad. Other people might not have a problem with a particular quality, but you do. Examples of ‘bad’ qualities would be messiness, or interrupting a conversation repeatedly. They don’t have to be really bad from an objective standpoint, but they trigger negative reactions in you because you don’t want to acknowledge them. Here’s an exercise you can use to identify and work through when you get triggered.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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