How can archetypes enrich your relationships?

Relationships are the most fulfilling part of life.  And simultaneously the most challenging.  How you show up in your relationships is essential to your life success and your personal sense of connection and belonging.  Be it at work, relationships at home as partner, parent and sibling, or with friends, archetypes can help enrich all your relationships.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of relationships: co-dependent, independent and inter-dependent.  Each archetype shows up a little differently and expresses different qualities, embodiments and levels of maturity in each relationship type.  Let’s explore the archetypes through the lenses of these relationships.

Co-dependent Relationships

These are limiting and often damaging relationships.  Even though they seem to be the model many people use to create the ideal relationship.  A sense of feeling needed, making compromises, giving up on what I want so someone else will love or appreciate me.  Or stating that, “If you loved me, you’d let me do that”.  I can’t live without so and so.  I am nothing without my kids.  Or kids feeling over-reliant on parents.  The micro-managing leader or the colleague that leans on others without taking responsibility.

Co-dependent relationships look controlling through the eyes of Sovereign.  It is giving power or sovereignty away or asserting power over another.  Either taking on too much or too little responsibility through leaking boundaries.  The boundaries and responsibilities are skewed, making the relationships dysfunctional.  For Lover it is all about the other person, leaving you open to abuse or to be the abuser.  Or it’s all about you.  And that can become brutal in the hands of Warrior as physical, mental and emotional abuse turned inward or outward.  Magician in co-dependent relationships shows a lack of trust in yourself and life, dis-empowering you with feelings of victim hood.

The embodiment of co-dependence is either withdrawn, contained and contracted or over-expanded and out of control as if compensating or covering up.  The relationships are toxic, harmful and unstable.

Independent Relationships

This is where you reclaim your sovereignty.  Here you are taking appropriate responsibility.  You have done the self-development to have a sense of your worth, values and where your responsibilities end and others’ begin.  You stand in your power.

Many relationships are like this today as a backlash to the pre-war relationship model of co-dependent dysfunction.  Where men worked and controlled their women through money and physical strength.  And women controlled their men through sex and emotional manipulation.  Or the gender inequalities in the workplace.  Children were meant to be seen, not heard.  They were miniature versions of adults.

Today, people take a more independent view of work, asking “What can the company do for me?”  In parenting, children are given more freedom to choose before they are perhaps mature enough to decide for themselves.  Or parents refuse to change their pre-children lifestyle once they enter parenthood.  And in intimate relationships, I maintain my independence at the expense of true vulnerability, intimacy and mutual support.

This focus, centred on self, is healthy from the perspective of self-responsibility (Sovereign), caring for oneself (Lover), intentional about my purpose and fulfilment (Warrior) and my growth and creativity (Magician).  The embodiment is grounded, expansive, centred and aligned, but it lacks the softness to give and receive, the hallmarks of inter-dependence.

Inter-dependent relationships are about thriving, flourishing, co-creating, being inspired, co-operating and creating relationships that are greater than the sum of the parts

Inter-dependent Relationships

The name of the game is thriving, flourishing, co-creating, being inspired, co-operating and creating relationships that are greater than the sum of the parts.

For Sovereign, this is about self-authority and responsibility and allowing others to take their fair share of responsibility and thus claim authorship of their lives.  We can all benefit from Sovereign’s wisdom, order, responsibility, groundedness, meta-view and strategy.  Sovereign opens its borders to allow exchange, sharing, collaboration and is clear where responsibility is shouldered and shared.

The boundaries of Lover are held strongly and compassionately, from a sense of serving you and other as you say “no” to what is beyond your capacity and capability.  And “yes” to what plays to your strengths and joy.

Warrior keeps you connected to your purpose and mission as well as what serves the greater good.  And gives space for others to live their purpose and celebrate in that collective fulfilment.  You see this at work when people chose the company they work for and the role they play based on their values.

Finally, Magician, uses our collective creativity, imagination and intuition to be inspired, and be inspiring.  We innovate, transform and view things from broader perspective.

The embodiment of inter-dependent relationships has all the qualities of independence, with an openness and softness that allows two-way exchange.  This permits the giving and receiving of our strengths, gifts and experience to and from each other, as we act as a collective humanity.

Can you see how the archetypes work together to either keep you limited in co-dependence, evolve into independence and ultimately grow to inter-dependence and full maturity?

Led by Sovereign’s unconditional love, Warrior protects, Lover nurtures and Magician inspires and transcends.  Collectively creating an embodiment that is loving, compassionate, fierce and connected.

Over to You

Do you recognise the co-dependent, independent and inter-dependent relationships in your life?  How are your archetypes showing up in these relationships?  How can you move towards more maturity and fulfilment in each archetype?  What will you work on today, or this week, to bring more kindness, openness, connection and compassion to your relationships?

If this topic has resonated with you and you’d like to know more, I will be speaking at The Embodiment Conference and introducing an embodied approach to archetypes that brings more awareness and fulfilment in all aspects of your life, including relationships.  You can register free for the conference here.

My talk is Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  There are hundreds of speakers from across the globe, sharing the wisdom of embodiment for the benefit of many areas of life including relationships and intimacy, business and leadership, martial and healing arts, ethics, ecology and more. It would be great to see you there.

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Taking Conscious Control by Embodying Archetypes

When you’re under pressure, what tools do you use to ensure you respond effectively?  How do you manage yourself when you are up against it?  Life is full of challenging conversations, situations and relationships.  As well as regularly facing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.  It is how you choose to act and your conscious control that determines how well you respond.  And with experience, reflection and learning, that gets better over time.

How can you self-manage through these inevitable challenges of life?  Think of a situation that is challenging for you right now.  A personal or professional relationship, a goal you are striving for, a difficult conversation or meeting, a challenge with your children or a health issue?  Take a moment to bring it vividly to mind.

Then follow these three steps.

Awareness

You’ve got to recognise the signs that you are facing a challenging situation.  This is the first step in taking conscious control.  Not just the intellectual challenge of a problem that requires a solution.  You also want to be aware of how your body responds.  Is it open, expansive and relaxed?  Ready to meet the challenge before you?  Or are you tense, contracted and closed, the mark of someone in fight, flight or overwhelm?

If you are in the former camp, jump straight to number three.  If in the latter camp, you want to centre before you do anything else.

Centre

When your breathing is fast and shallow, jaw, neck and shoulders tense, stomach tight, chest contracted, heart pounding, you want to use methods that bring you to an open and receptive state of being.

Focus on your breath and make a conscious effort to deepen and lengthen each inhale.  Feel your feet on the floor or bum on the seat.  Relax your gaze and let your focus broaden as wide as you can.  Let go the tension in your face, stomach, chest, tongue.  Feel your weight drop towards the floor and, as best you can, bring your attention to the present.

Doing this for 10-20 seconds is enough to reverse that contracted state and bring you to a place of relaxation and expansion.  Now you are ready to take conscious control and step into action.

Taking Conscious Control

How are you going to act from here?  What is the best way to respond?  So many options and each one has its benefits.  I have found four perspectives, that are incredibly useful for making decisions about what action to take.  Each perspective corresponds to an archetype (an intuitive map and set of patterns that can inform human behaviour).

By embodying archetypes, you can get a felt sense of their qualities, and allow that to inform your decision making.  The empowering qualities of each archetype bring you to a place of confidence. They open you to awareness that you may not have been conscious of before.  Let’s build a picture of each archetype and see what qualities you embody and how that informs you.

Sovereign

How would you stand or sit with dignity?  Back straight?  Face calm?  Chest and heart open?  Spine neutral so that head and pelvis are aligned?  Attention expanded in all directions, aware of the space around you?  The symbols of your office (crown, mantle (cloak) and sceptre) are responsibilities that can crush or enliven you.  How can you bear the responsibilities of family, employer or business owner, parenthood, partner or homeowner lightly, joyfully, with honour and humility?  What is of greatest service to you and those you share your life with?  How can your sovereignty enrich your life and the life of others?  Who do you need to reach out to?  What support do you need?  Where do you feel Sovereign in your life and body?

Warrior

How do you get the job done and step up when needed? Eyes focused forward on the goal?  Chest open and forward with determination?  Taking up space to be seen and heard as you declare your intention?  Walking forward with commitment, clarity and purpose?  Courageously protect what you most value, regardless of how vulnerable it leaves you or challenging the task?

The armour of Warrior (helmet, breastplate and shield) allow you courage to say “yes” to life.  Your weapons empower your fierceness so that you can say “no” when your boundaries are threatened.  What do you cherish that wants protecting?  What are you a commitment to?  Where does Warrior live in your body and show up in your life?

Lover

Soften now.  Relax and receive.  Let the spine and chest open to allow life in.  Open your arms.  Smile, soften the jaw and face.  How do you give and receive?  What resources bring you to deeper relationship?

What are you open to here?  Where are the opportunities and possibilities?  New relationships, collaboration, co-operation?  What can you say “yes” to?  How can you bring more of yourself to this situation?  Where might you be giving yourself away and so need to create a strong “no” for your self-care?

How fully do you trust?  Where is your resistance to trust?  How would life be different with more compassion and empathy?  Where does Lover reside in your body?

Magician

Let your weight and attention move upward.  Feel light.  You might want to bring your hands up above your shoulders and head.  Cast your eyes up to the sky.  Perhaps come up on your tip toes and move as if floating, gliding, jumping.

What fun and opportunities are available here?  What can be created?  How can new things be formed and put into motion?  What alchemy or transformation can happen…… new ideas, learning, vision, collaboration and co-creation?

What do you need to bring into reality?  Start that process by becoming grounded.  What action is required to bring thoughts, ideas and inspiration into form?

Over to You

What insights did you get?  How is this process different to your usual way of finding solutions?  I’d love to hear your discoveries.  If you found the idea of using archetypes useful and would like to learn more, I will be speaking at The Embodiment Conference (October 14-25th, 2020) and sharing more powerful tools.

Pass it on

Did you find this blog useful?  What have been your take aways?  Know someone who would appreciate the same take aways?  If so, please pass on the link and even let them know about The Embodiment Conference.