Through a Jungian Lens

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Walking On Eggshells Around Relationships

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Being held up with no more than a whisper and a prayer

Life is a fragile thing as are the relationships one has during the incredibly short span of years allotted to each of us.  We often find ourselves walking on eggshells around those we hold closest to us, hoping that somehow nothing will disturb the relationship.  We understand how fragile relationships are in the modern world as we see divorce rates rise. Abandoned wives, husbands and children talk to us of relationships broken intentionally, even those who take their own lives abandon those they leave behind.  Death through illness, accidents and old age – all unintentional breaking of relationship just adds to the sense that one can never take for granted the presence of another person.

But yet, we rarely think twice about abandoning ourselves, our dreams, our uniqueness. How quickly we abandon a principle or a belief about ourselves if we think it will please someone we hold in high regard.  Often we abandon our principles simply in order to keep a job, ensure that our relationship with the employer isn’t challenged – we come “yes” men and women. Often we abandon our principles in order to live within a community knowing that it is better for our spouse and children in the community if we adopt the community norms as our norms. Often we abandon our sense of self in order to encourage our spouse to believe that it is worth it to stay in relation with us.  But most often, we abandon the relationship with our soul, with the core of who we sense/know/intuit/feel we are.  We fall into a trap in which we have a problem balancing what others expect from us in return for a relationship and what we need to keep in order to have a healthy relationship with the self.

In today’s photo, I get a “dream” sense in which the woman is anima, the soul and she is retreating into the distance, heading back to the sea, back to the anima mundi.  And the self is left alone on the shore, standing tall and proud, a precarious and temporary standing.

What do we keep, what do we give up when it comes to being in relation?  This often is a critical question faced by those who enter into the journey of individuation, a journey of alchemical change, a journey that highlights differences in the face to face world in the eyes of others. The loneliness tempts us with relationship if only we would abandon the journey and rejoin the collective. But at what cost?

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