Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

How can we truly serve others in a relationship?

Fight your own battles to win your individual peace:
Parable for the savior within

How many of us have been in relationships where we are trying to “save our partners?” How many of us have believed that we could reach into the depths of our significant other’s emotional or spiritual abyss and heroically hoist them out? I can say that in romantic relationships, I have been in the place of trying to be the “savior” of my significant other.
Until recently, my pattern in relationships was to partner with a mate who, I perceived, needed my help to heal some mental or emotional duress. While in one relationship patterned as described, I wrote the story that is below. This story poured out of me almost as if it were a parable to self; a way for me to begin to release the emotional necessity of having to “help” my significant others:

Two brothers, battles and a lesson

The father looked over to his two small sons. “You will have to fight your own battles in life to win your individual peace.” These two sons grew with that knowledge of individual battles.
They were both warriors, each mastering a different art. They trained daily for several hours.  With stolid gaze, their father oft would check in on their training. Sparring, each so good that they would often fight to a draw. A day, one of the sons fell ill and remained as such for a month. The other began to train harder, got stronger as the other weaker.
It was in the midst of this (im)balance the father stated: you two are ready, leave and return at night fall. The sons, confused, but listened, leaving their father’s house at once. That day they were befallen by two dogs, snarly, rabid creatures, each going for one of the brothers. The stronger brother, struck the dog in front of him, not killing it but distracting it, and then ran to his brother aid, his brother easily fell the beast, but the stronger, with back turned was mauled by the animal, maimed, but still managed to fall the beast.
They returned to their father’s house, the weaker one, now the stronger one, the stronger, now the weaker. Their father looked upon them and said: rest. A fortnight later, the father again came upon the two sons sparring, and said you are now ready to leave and return at night fall. The two brothers, confused, but listened, and left their father’s house at once. They were both smaller shadows of their former selves, but went anyway.
That day they were befallen by two men, snarly, vicious individuals, each wielding knives. The sick but stronger son stunned the assailant with a mighty kick, and ran over to aid his brother. His now maimed brother easily fell his assailant, but the sick but stronger, with back turned was slashed by the assailant. Cut, he but still managed to fall the man.
That night the sons, ragged and tried, came to their father, despondent, angry and cynical. “Father you have always told us prepare, prepare, prepare, but you send us out, knowing the dangers, maimed and sickened?“ “Yes my sons, but I also told you that you will have to fight your own battles in life to win your individual peace.“ You attempted to fight for one another, thinking each could not fight for himself. You never know someone’s strength. Also, you must fight your own battles first. You see this scar across my back, the one you two always ask about, this is how my brother and I learned this lesson from our father. You will have major battles to fight in your life, much greater than the physical one— internal ones over principalities, thus learning this now, understanding this now is crucial…
“Brother, brother, are you ready?” The younger brother was startled arising from sleep. He checked his arms and legs and forehead, all intact. The younger brother breathed a sigh of relief. The elder stated “You had the dream, didn’t you?” The younger nodded his head, “why have you never told me this.” My brother, I could have told you, but I love you enough to let you understand on your own…

My Lesson

I, along with many of us who are self-proclaimed “helpers,” move through this world, including, and especially in our romantic relationships with the desire to save others. Yet for many reasons, I have learned that entering a romantic relationship with the undue pressure being a savior, is not healthy.
In releasing my desires to fill a perceived need of my significant other, I have allowed myself to become okay with not being the anointed spiritual warrior in the relationship. I have allowed my significant other the space to fight for and embrace their own individual peace, and in many senses have become more ready to be a true partner in the relationship; yet and still my journey continues.

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