Your ego-self is the package of beliefs that determines and defines" you." Many of the beliefs that compose this package are beneficial to you, many are not. Unfortunately, we tend to plod through life rarely stopping to consider what beliefs actually result in this mundane plodding. We tend to live our lives in default and our "love" relationships reflect this zombie-like existence.
One belief that is particularly damaging to relationships is that of avoidance. In avoiding conflict with others, you believe that your experience of conflict will also be diminished. Out of sight - out of mind.
All conflict is composed of what occurs outside your experience, and your actual inner experience of that conflict. It may be beneficial if you make this distinction as well, since your experience of the actual conflict is certainly different, and most likely opposed, to what another experiences and both may be opposed to what is actually occurring.
But how would you know since, caught up in your experience of suffering, it is your internal experience that becomes your WORLD (or reality). This is because the "world" is nothing more than an inner experience. So much happens 'under-the-radar' that, unless experiences are deeply understood, we become alien to one another (I love when people try to tell me what the "reality" of the situation is. HA!).
Is there a world outside your mind? Why that’s ridiculous, of course there is.
Ahh... but all you have to go on is your experience and often experiences are diametrically opposed and they will easily become opposed IF they are NOT shared (in fact, this seems to be the natural course).
"I'm not really sure who you are, so I'll just fill-in the blanks and make you what I think you are"
If you refuse to share your experience then, make no mistake, you will remain in two different, diametrically opposed, “worlds” and you will both be strangers to one another. Alienation results from the avoidance of sharing your experience, no matter how uncomfortable such sharing might be, over a gradually longer period of time.
Avoidance erodes, sharing evolves….you can't have both.
The longer this avoidance is perpetuated, the more FEAR you will accumulate about sharing, because sharing your world with a stranger (what the "loved" one has become) is always an anxious experience. So, why deal with such discomfort, just close down, right?
When you don’t know someone, you can’t predict their responses and your egoic self-concept does not interact very well with the unknown. The ego loves to predict and so shuts itself off from SURPRISE.
Essentially many egos have never truly engaged in intimacy with their own self-concept (internal belief system), let alone become intimate with someone else’s self-concept. In deeply understanding 'them,' you come to know yourself. For some folks that can be a scary process.
Yet, alas, this is why we have wars and clearly when minds fail to join through the sharing of 'world' experiences, strangers come to fear one another even within the self-created hell of 'love' relationships.
Sharing your experience of your own personal world is INTIMACY and when you come to deeply understand my 'experience,' and I understand yours, my 'inside' becomes more available to love... as does yours. This is an infinite process of self-mutualization.
So why avoid conflict? What are you protecting? Are you afraid of “fighting”?
I cringe when folks use that term “fighting.” No doubt that when you attack me, you make a stranger out of me, because your attack demonstrates that YOU DON”T KNOW ME. Therefore, did you ever? Contrary to pop psychology, you don't attack the one's you love. Therefore, if you are attacking, the question becomes, is there really love?
But if you don’t know me then what are you really attacking, me or your concept of me?
Obviously, if we have regularly avoided sharing our experience of the world with one another, then clearly you no longer KNOW ME, if you ever did. Contrary to the ego's past tenuous attempts at sharing, we now live in different 'worlds.'
If you no longer know me then you will simply fill in the blanks that may have materialized from our alienation of one another, due to our mutual avoidance of sharing our 'worlds.' In your mind you will conceptualize me as NOT what I am, but as what you decide I am, based on what your ego-self needs me to be. If your ego-self attacks me, then clearly you have made me a stranger.
But will you even try to share your ‘filled-in’ experience of me. Nope, you’ll keep it to yourself, but you will avoid me based on that self-created experience of “me," resulting in us both constructing concepts of one another that have no basis in truth whatsoever. This is the definition of "alone together."
In this process ‘love’ is a lie, simply because it has no basis in truth, just made up mental concepts.
I meet people that live out this lie their whole lives. The longer we avoid sharing our experience of one another out of fear, the larger that fear grows in consciousness. Of course, your fears are justified, just look at how awful your concept of me has become.
But is your concept of me, really me or just a mental picture you created to avoid me in the fear of having to face yourself? Because, if you ever truly get to know me, you will come face to face with YOU. Such is the discomfort of convergent unity. However, this 'discomfort' is based on a mistaken interpretation that has been lived out in millions of relationships. Make no mistake, when you first got together the goal was unity.
Then your ego took over...
So what's the goal now?
Artwork by Chris Peters - "Stranger in the Mirror"