Humpty Dumpty can live Happily Ever After

For the longest time, relationships were a scary thing for me. I didn’t want to be alone… but found it hard to be with others. The slightest upheaval or dispute in a relationship and like Humpty Dumpty, my world would come crashing down… “all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men.” I felt that if something went wrong in a relationship, it meant it was the end of the relationship… “couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

Yet what I am seeing, feeling, and understanding about relationships today is something vastly different.

In the past relationships were a security blanket and a way of belonging – in fact a need to belong. My wife and I had even attended couples counselling workshops and sessions where we were told, and fully accepted, that we were each angels with only one wing and could only fly by holding each other. It was a model of co-dependence that meant for our relationship to grow, we had to keep having issues to deal with; we had to have a reason to hold on tightly to each other.

The very foundation of our relationship was based on a needed security, which meant that any proposed (or needed) change to that foundation would end up as a defensive battle. Each time one of us started to grow and develop in a different direction, we would claw the other back into an embrace that we thought was security; but in reality, it was suffocating.

At a Universal Medicine workshop many years ago, we were presented with a simple truth…  we do not need to be in a relationship to be or to feel whole, that this feeling comes from within. When we connect to that wholeness we can then choose to be in a relationship or not. This meant no longer needing to be with the other person but appreciating what they brought to our life so deeply that the choice to be in a relationship with them was a no-brainer. More importantly, we also brought an appreciation of what we offered, because we knew more about who we were!

It took a couple of years to really live this simple teaching, and there were some very uncomfortable moments between my wife and I, because she was living this reality earlier than I was. Having someone not need you anymore is both confronting and liberating. For me this was the end of the relationship. I was Humpty Dumpty laying shattered on the ground, until I realised that ending a way of relating is different to ending a relationship.

Whilst we all have patterns of behaviour, these patterns or ways of relating CAN change but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the relationship. At times it feels like the pattern is all there is and we become fixated on fixing the other person. But if I am more than a pattern of behaviour then the person I am relating to is more than their patterns as well. It is the more that I want the relationship with, so that is what is offered.

So rather than threatening the end of the relationship, the change being offered is simply an end of THAT way of relating to this person. The hard part can be that some people are more committed to that pattern of relating than they are to the relationship.

Indeed this happens sometimes – you can see the pattern being clung to like a life raft and the person preferring to float away than step onto dry land. It can hurt when this happens because it is no longer the existence crisis it once was. This Humpty Dumpy handles himself with more care now and has grown his own set of wings. Which means I no longer need ‘all the kings’ men’, because when my relationship with me is solid, I no longer break when I fall.

Published with permission of my wife.

By Joel Levin

Further Reading:
Appreciation in relationships
Relationships – Around and Around We Go
It’s Never Too Late For Love

565 thoughts on “Humpty Dumpty can live Happily Ever After

  1. it is so interesting how when something does go the way we think it should in a relationship we want to be look at it as if we have failed, and when it seems to be a big thing that there is no return. Calling patterns and needs out and expressing how we feel is essential for all relationships to go to the full potential that they can go to.

  2. We need to deconstruct consciousnesses to get to the honesty and truth of the matter – but that doesn’t mean throwing the baby out with the the bathwater.

  3. ” we do not need to be in a relationship to be or to feel whole, ”
    This is so important , for the whole world tells the opposite , in that you are a failure if you are not in a relationship, thank you for sharing.

  4. This is gold Joel, that ending a way of relating is different to ending a relationship. If we started taking responsibility for some of our own relating styles and hurts, our relationships would be transformed.

  5. I love the way you have used Humpty Dumpty to illustrate your story. It’s true, many of our relationships start out in need and it’s those long term relationships that we have spent so long in, developing ways of reacting to each other from need, that can be the hardest to change, but the beauty is that we can change, and as you say developing that love and security within ourselves, then allows us to be with another person with less need, and as we strengthen this connection the needs gradually dissipate.

  6. Most of my past relationships were built on need and security with no room for growth. I am now in a relationship where I have a husband who is not at all needy, this was very confronting at first because of my patterns but slowly I started to look after my own needs and develop a relationship with myself which offers us both freedom to grow.

  7. Beautiful article Joel. You’ve shared some really interesting and important lessons that will no doubt support many people in their relationships, but can also support us all in building an amazing and steady relationship with ourselves that will provide a solid foundation for us to be in relationship with anyone without becoming completely reliant on them as a ‘pick me up’ or to keep us ‘happy’.

  8. I love the wisdom offered here. So frequently a pointed finger and blame is thrown at others when we are feeling out of sorts. This perception of being a victim is also too readily endorsed by society. Whilst all along if we had an inner solid foundation of a loving, caring and honouring relationship with ourselves our experience of life would be radically different.

  9. I am learning now to not personalise things so much and to read situations and to give people the grace to make mistakes and go through things. When I do this I am not reactive or burnt by things but able to bring more understanding.

  10. ‘ ending a way of relating is different to ending a relationship.’ oooh this is such an obvious yet unseen, how evolving can a relationship be when this is truly considered?

  11. Relationships in life are just a mirror to our relationship with ourself. This in turn is about our relationship with the all. So life spins in this cycle of interdependence and connectedness – which we miss when we make it about what others do – thank you dear Joel.

  12. How willing am I to let go the patterns, to step into a new way of relating … for as noted here, it’s easy to fixate on fixing another but it’s about our part in any patterns we may have together, and in addressing our part and bringing understanding to both us and them we allow the space for a new way of relating to unfold and be.

  13. “The hard part can be that some people are more committed to that pattern of relating than they are to the relationship.” This is gold Joel and makes sense why we struggle to deepen our relationships, because the pattern we have built the relationship on is stronger than the will to change what we do know is not working. I am learning this in my relationship and am allowing old patterns to be exposed knowing that they are holding me back and keeping the relationship stuck in a certain way of being, that is neither evolving or growing. I can certainly relate to Humpty Dumpty affect.

  14. There are old patterns of relating that I am very comfortable with, the question is that you so beautifully highlight, do I cling onto them or allow my own two wings to grow and be 100% present? with me dealing with my hurts and insecurities no matter how those around me respond – even if they also choose to be more intimate and expose more of my old patterns and hurts!

  15. When we consider that a relationship never truly ends it is only patterns of behaviour that do, our whole approach to relationships change for the true better. Distinguishing between these two aspects is critical otherwise we can go down a hole thinking things that are simply not true to the detriment of ourselves and the relationship.

  16. ” This Humpty Dumpy handles himself with more care now and has grown his own set of wings.”
    This is for sure and the writings show this to be true , thank you Joel.

  17. ‘when my relationship with me is solid, I no longer break when I fall.’ and this can be in all areas of life I have found, with learning to respond rather than react as I go.

  18. After several years of learning to apply the Universal Medicine principles in my daily life I have recently started a relationship which is nothing less than absolutely exquisite. Never in all my imagination would I have envisaged being in a relationship like this, it is so completely pure and wholesome yet totally sexy and hot in every way. Equally our relationship is all about purpose and a true commitment to supporting others…OMG.

  19. We can use others as props in a relationship, or we can see that we can be wholly ourselves and relate to them from this space, being willing to see and engage with all that may arise and to allow the continual expansion of who we and the other are. There is no set way of relating and letting go and allowing ourselves to more deeply surrender to all we are, and of course in allowing that with ourselves we allow it with others.

  20. I have been in a relationship with man for over 16 years and there are still so many patterns and habits that we are exposing, we are not complacent about the fact that there is always more to learn, we resist sometimes, but in truth we are together to live and explore this level of evolution in our relationship. I can remember when I lived relationships from point of view of security and need, they were much less rich and rewarding, more shallow and flimsy…big changes have occurred and it is through a choice to be more observant and honest.

  21. “until I realised that ending a way of relating is different to ending a relationship.” A great realisation and one that a lot of us could take great benefit by heeding these words of wisdom.

  22. “… we were each angels with only one wing and could only fly by holding each other…” This is a clear example how advice to manage a situation, that is given with the best of intentions rather than solving the cause of the problem, can be hugely debilitating and harmful.

  23. “… we were each angels with only one wing and could only fly by holding each other…” This is a clear example how advice to manage a situation, that is given with the of intentions rather than solving the cause of the problem, can be hugely debilitating and harmful.

  24. We cannot grow when we hold onto ways of relating that keep us in comfort. Whilst it can be challenging to let go of the familiar it is always worth it as life truly opens up in ways we could not ever imagine, this has been my experience.

    1. This is what I am experiencing too Thomas. Letting go of these familiarities that are not supportive aren’t always easy at first but once I do, life seems to be so much easier, simpler and more loving.

  25. ‘In the past relationships were a security blanket and a way of belonging – in fact a need to belong.’ It is interesting how we feel we need to belong, and that a relationship would give us that feeling of belonging, when in truth all we need to do is be connected to who we truly are, to express and feel our essence, when we know ourselves there is no feeling of needing to belong because we already are everything we need to be.

  26. It’s great how you share the difference between deeply appreciating someone and the quality they bring to our life, versus needing or thinking that we have to be with them in order to be complete or fulfilled…

    1. Yes, I agree Fiona, the consequence of the difference between the two approaches results in two completely different relationships – one is debilitating and inward while the other is expansive, deepens in love and evolves.

  27. oh my gosh I needed this. Thank you, I feel only whole when I was with someone else, but learning to let go is the hardest part to be honest. I almost felt like I have to have him in order to feel good about myself but thank you for the reminder

  28. ‘In the past relationships were a security blanket and a way of belonging – in fact a need to belong.’ I can relate to this. For me it wasn’t just my need in relationships with a partner, but a need also in all my relationships from family to friends to colleagues. What I really needed is to develop was a stronger relationship with myself. In the process of doing this I have watched that need and deep investments melt away. Quite miraculous.

  29. How we relate to others can always change, yet many of us are stuck on how we relate more than the relationship … and yet when we are offered something more than the pattern, it’s an invitation to deepen and a great reminder that when a pattern or old way of relating dies, it leaves space for more of us and for another, and we peel back another layer and let the world see more.

  30. Thank you Joel. I love it when it is a ‘no-brainer’ to be in a relationship with someone because all that they bring is so very much appreciated.

  31. It astounds me that a counsellor would suggest that you are only half a person in a relationship. I’m aware of this idea being fed to us as we grow up, but even when I was younger I found it absurd that so much pressure was put on finding your ‘other half’. How damaging is the advice to be in a co-dependant relationship. Here is further proof that being true to yourself and being your own person allows for a much richer and deeper relationship when the need and expectation is eliminated.

  32. “This Humpty Dumpy handles himself with more care now and has grown his own set of wings. Which means I no longer need ‘all the kings’ men’, because when my relationship with me is solid, I no longer break when I fall.” A beautiful sharing – thankyou Joel. I found when I stopped behaving in a victim role myself I was able to come out of my broken state, with the support of other people. Reconnecting with ourselves is crucial in this regard.

  33. No matter how broken we may feel we can always turn it around and put ourselves together again because the truth is we are never broken, just not connected with ourselves.

    1. Very true Elizabeth, we are always whole but sometimes we can forget this and it can lead us to think we are broken when in fact we are perfectly intact, and when we understand how amazing we are it is then very easy to reconnect to ourselves.

  34. Feeling whole irrespective of relationships is a really key thing to experience, and often comes with disillusionment, yet when that happens I am reminded to celebrate it – as no-one wants to be in illusion, right?

  35. “we do not need to be in a relationship to be or to feel whole” – This is an amazing reminder that it’s impossible to have pictures about what feeling ‘whole’, content or joyful looks like, because it is established as a quality within us first and foremost, which can then be expressed in relationships with anyone, not just a partner.

  36. “…Whilst we all have patterns of behaviour, these patterns or ways of relating CAN change but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the relationship. ..” A great statement that shatters an unconscious construct of putting up with the way things are.

  37. A True relationship recognises the essence or yoke and if we do not bring a focus to that tender area of our life you could end up with scrambled egg. Then when we stay true it is as if the yoke is hard boiled but at the same time is tender and fragile. So holding our tenderness and fragility has nothing to do with hardening but it bring a solidness that allows us to build True relationships.

  38. ‘…ending a way of relating is different to ending a relationship.’ this is brilliant and allows us to evolve our relationships with the understanding of what is truly happening.

  39. ‘The slightest upheaval or dispute in a relationship and like Humpty Dumpty, my world would come crashing down..’ I thought relationships had to be perfect, that any sign of an argument meant it wasn’t going to work out. I thought arguing was disrespectful and cheapened the relationship and it could be talked through at least. I still feel this to be the case, but it is the picture of perfection that I have since dealt with. Removing these pictures of how relationships should be has made life more real.

    1. I always had an idea that there had to be issues in relationships, that we could not have relationships that were void of issues. I am humbly now learning that there is another way.

      1. For me it was a bit like the ‘happily ever after fairy tale scenario’ and if it wasn’t like that it felt like I had somehow failed in the relationship.

  40. “Having someone not need you anymore is both confronting and liberating.”
    This is something that every parent goes through when their child grows up and eventually leaves the home and many parents find themselves feeling un-needed so they tend to try to foster codependent type relationships with their kids leading up to their kid’s departure. But this feeling of emptiness or need to be needed really is sometimes based on a lack of self appreciation for not only who they are without having to do anything to prove how good they are as a parent, but also for all the ways that they have supported their children to develop in a way that enables them to be themselves fully and be able to be self sufficient too. This way of appreciation can liberate one from that co-dependent state that does not honour either person involved.

    1. It also shows that we have filled our lives up with things but never truly with ourselves and brought all of who we are to life, instead waiting for life to deliver us something and when those things go – we are left to feel the void of what we have held back.

  41. What a beautiful understanding of the importance and natural relationship with ourself first and foremost and from there a deep love and knowing in relationships with others is our natural and fully loving way. “we do not need to be in a relationship to be or to feel whole, that this feeling comes from within.” is very beautiful to know.

  42. Joel great what you share, many relationships are based on need and security rather then than building one’s own self and appreciation of what we each bring to a relationship. I used to have relationships on need and security, it was so suffocating. Now my relationship with my partner is based on truth and what we both bring to it. There is more depth of love and appreciation.

    1. What I have noticed is that when I bring need to my relationships it is very suffocating and I also disempower myself because I am focused on needing things to be a certain way and investing everything into that instead of staying true to myself and being prepared to observe, pull things up, express everything regardless of the outcome.

  43. ‘So rather than threatening the end of the relationship, the change being offered is simply an end of THAT way of relating to this person’. This is a transformative teaching; an invitation to stay steady and focused (no throwing the baby out with the bathwater), embracing the opportunity and responsibility we have to turn things around within and for ourselves, which then changes everything in our lives.

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