You could feel the tension in the room. The unprocessed negative emotion, like a trough of hardening concrete, sat between them on my green couch. As they both looked at me with pleading and desperate eyes to “fix this,” she gently put her hand on his leg. I slowed to speak, wanting her courageous gesture to sink in. Anything I might say would not have been as helpful – and beautiful – as her action.

What did this woman do, perhaps unbeknownst to even her? 

She held the good within the bad. She bravely and rightly refused to throw the baby out with the bathwater. She knew her relationship was in trouble – in that moment. She knew she was hurt and angry – in that moment. She knew that the conflict needed to be addressed, that her kind gesture would not resolve the pain. And, she also knew that she loved him and that she was committed to spending the rest of her life trying to love him deeper and better. 

Thus, she chose to hold the good in the bad. The love in the pain. The connective tissue despite the momentary rupture.

And, that takes maturity, skill and the ability to self-soothe and hold the long view. Because, it’s just feelings. A normal phase of intimate relating. No need to indulge the feelings to the point that I scorch the earth by turning my partner into my enemy. Rather, better to eat that slice of humble pie and reach out as to maintain the good within the not-so-good.

Embrace your complexity today. A blend of color makes for a more beautiful palette of paint. Know that you can have more than one feeling at a time. For, life is intricate and needs a wider berth of expression than the stark limitation of black and white.

For the rise of your life …