Have a Relationship rift? Try R.I.F.F.

by Matt on February 19, 2013

I am getting confronted with how I show up in relationships lately and I’ve discovered a little tool that I would like to share with you to use to help bring any relationship back into balance.

I call it R.I.F.F…. Real Intimacy First and Foremost.

Probably at least a few of you are gagging at the very mention of the word “intimacy” while others are like “YES! I like where this is going!”

So here is the basic situation that I am wanting to shed light on:

  1. In every relationship there is a balance of power. There is your side, the other persons side, and then the totality of the relationship, or God’s side. (If you don’t like “God’s side” then substitute “reality” for “God”)
  2. When we are not intimate we are not real. I am not talking about getting saucy in the bedroom, though there can be an element of your sex life that lacks intimacy. I am talking about resting the relationship on the foundation of total openness with each other. Total openness.
  3. If the ability to tell the truth is hampered, then “reluctance” becomes a force. When we can’t be totally honest with each other and fear is present, we may start to hide from fear, and so we hide from ourselves and our partners.
  4. We when hide our true thoughts feelings from each other, we create a dark space where dark actions can start to manifest. We may be able to suppress those actions for some time. But, likely this suppression will spill over into other areas and become expressed in an unhealthy way, like drinking, or other avoidance strategies.

Of course, there are perfectly healthy ways of dealing with this situation.

One way to deal with any rift, is to create RIFF.

RIFF is an agreement that you have with anybody with whom you share common goals: colleagues, family, co-workers, and more, that you can tell each other anything with out fear of recrimination, abandonment, or judgement. Of course, we are going to judge, but the point is to agree that it is safe to share with each other.  Judgement, of course, says more about the judge than it does about the judged, but that topic deserves another post to itself.

An example:

14 year old Johnny goes to a party and there is pressure from his friends to drink some alcohol. Johnny decides that he is interested in what alcohol is like, and knowing or assuming that his parents would not approve, he tries it out. He gets mildly(or overly) intoxicated, but he is sleeping at a friends house so his parents don’t have a chance to know what has happened.

The next day Johnny comes home, and his parents sense that something is off and ask Johnny what’s up. Johnny has 2 options:

Create a Rift:

He lies to his parents, because he fears their reaction. He tells them he is a little tired only because he stayed up late playing video games and hurriedly tries to change the conversation.

OR,

Creates RIFF:

He tells his parents the truth, because he does not fear them or their reaction. They share in his experience and help him to identify the positive and negative parts of his actions. They tell him they love him no matter what, and they don’t have to wonder if there is something the matter, they know what is the matter.

Now, what are the results of these two choices.

In the first situation, a rift begins: a separation between the two parties. A place between them that is dark begins to form. A place where more things that may have a fearful aspect may be deposited, an ever growing place where dark energy is stored in the relationship, and stress inevitably arises, possibly in the form of, “something is wrong with him, I know it.” That is followed by distrustfulness between the two parties.  Without being up front, assumptions create misunderstandings, and more tension, and more reason to hide because of the perceived downside of being “found out” becomes greater.

In the second situation RIFF exists: A deeper bond of trust is created. Both parties are supported in the experience and openness and love exist between the 2 parties. There is no reason why more lies should be forthcoming, there is no reason to hide. There is a healthy exchange between people with the shared intention of having a happy and mutually enhancing experience.  Johnny knows that he is allowed to have his esperiences, and the parents are allowed to help guide and introduce alternative strategies that Johnny may not have thought about.  They get a chance to be- parents!

How do I experience a RIFF in all my relationships?

Well, many of you may have open communication in your relationships, and already are benefitting from the positive experience this provides. For those that know they need a little help here are some steps to take.

  1. Tell your partner there are places where you feel frustrated and you would like nothing more to get back into balance so that all involved feel better.
  2. Ask them if they think that they want to start to share more truth together, and try to suspend judgement so that reality can be digested and solutions found, instead of ignore-ance.
  3. Tell them that your only goal is to help all involved live the best life that they can conceive.  (ONLY if this is true for you, if not, well, maybe it’s time  to see why you don’t want to live the best life you can conceive?!)

However challenging it may seem to do some of these things, it is never as bad as you think to get clear with your cohorts. If you think you might want to do this and are scared to try, good, you definitely need to do this to bring your relationships back into balance. (Of course, if you face possible bodily harm, then that is a whole other story and I cannot suggest you confront the other party.)

A commitment to Real Intimacy First and Foremost can do wonders to help bring people who are not getting along as harmoniously as they would like back together. Sometimes a little truth can go a long way, especially if we take care to say our truths with out attacking, which can be more difficult than it sounds.

Also, I am here to help individuals, couples, families and coworkers take steps to bring their lives back into balance through my breath-work sessions. So if you need a hand, let me know.

Blessings,

Matt

PS. Also, the books, Conscious Loving, by Gay Hendricks, and Nonviolent Communication, By Marshall Rosenberg, can be of great help!

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