How to Have the Spirit of Goodwill All Year Round
It is the season of peace on earth and goodwill to all. We won’t go into where this is falling short; instead, we want to say that goodwill is not just for the holiday season, so let’s look at what it involves.
Goodwill in relationships, whether friendship, family or romance, is the intention and belief with which you approach each other. There is an intention to have a loving connection and the belief that both parties mean well.
In a healthy intimate relationship, there is no need to hold back, defend or be on alert. To come from a place of goodwill, assume that there isn’t a struggle going on, that you’re not seeing a threat or distance. Assume that the other person is acting out of goodwill, too.
The attitude that goes along with this is remembering, knowing, assuming you’re on the same side. You both want the outcome to be whatever is the best for everyone.
More than just the feeling of being on the same side, there is also a “we” factor, a sense that the connection is something that exists over and above the two individuals. It is subtle, but it is a state, we almost want to call it a place, that is recognizable once seen. It is an experiential sense of the two of you together, of being on the same side, of knowing that the other wishes you the best and does not intend harm. It exists alongside the sense of self, and it requires complete trust and openness for you to coexist with it.
And yet, for all that goodwill, we still all have our triggers, our large and small unresolved areas of past pains and betrayals, of sensitivities developed when very young or in past relationships. So if you feel affronted or slighted or ignored or whatever, don’t react to it as if it’s aimed at you. It might have occurred because their intention for goodwill didn’t have the desired results. Or maybe it arises because of your expectations or sensitivity.
So what can be done to prevent withdrawing from our intimate connections in these times?
Practice peace on earth and goodwill to all by starting with your close relationships #peace Click To TweetYou can look inside yourself for a possible explanation rather than at the other person. What is going on that has created a feeling of separation and even a need for defense? Why are you closing down or feeling hurt? There are riches to be found in these situations. Do you want to stay with this feeling; is there any need to hold on to this disruption of connection? These and many other reflections can teach you more about yourself and open the path to better relating.
Once this deep dive inside has given you more understanding of yourself, you can re-engage with the person and process the experience together. What did each of you say and what was really meant? How are each of you feeling as a result? How can you go forward together without disconnection or a feeling of withdrawal, and how can you avoid it?
Stay with that sense of connection and turn towards the other person from that place. And then, speak and communicate to the other person with that tone of voice, with that understanding that you truly are knowing that on the other side is a person of goodwill. Like, there really is a “we”, and you’re not going to run to the separate corners of you and the other just because it felt like there was a breach or something jarring. Rather, sit down together and find that place. Through actually being together in that space, you strengthen the sense of it as something real.
We have been lucky enough to have had a sense of that place from the start, so we’ve always gone there, which is how we’ve never had any serious conflicts. All we can say is look, it exists and you can find it, and when you find it, then you can always go to that place with the other person as long as you both have goodwill.
Let’s practice peace on earth and goodwill to all by starting with all our close relationships, by looking within to grow and better understand ourselves, and then taking that out into the community and the world.
Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Maude’s amazing collection of Santas!
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