The Completion Process: the transformation accelerator
Brad Blanton, founder of Radical Honesty, is writing a new book about completion.
This got me thinking about the importance of the completion process and how it is one of the ways that personal transformation and freedom from reactivity is accelerated.
And, it’s also the last thing most of us want to do.
What is completion?
Throughout our lives, we live through experiences where we inhibit, resist, or block the full expression of what we are feeling. Each time, we inhibit our joy, anger, sadness, or grief, we send the energy underground where it stays, often leaking out unconsciously into different areas of our life.
Completion is the process of speaking to another person face-to-face and telling them what you have been withholding, allowing yourself to feel everything you feel as you speak, and listening to their response.
When do incomplete experiences happen?
During childhood, we all had incomplete experiences, events where we felt scared or angry or upset and we’re unable to say it out loud and allow ourselves to feel what we were feeling.
As adults, our friendships, partners, and work colleagues are a constant source of incomplete experiences.
In fact, if you spend a significant amount of time with anyone, there is going to be conflict and experiences where you (and the other person) were left incomplete.
Over time, the ways we specifically inhibited certain experiences build up and create unconscious behavioral patterns in ourselves and create distance, resentment, judgment, and passive aggression in our relationship.
Life repeats itself
When we have incomplete experiences or unfinished business from our past and in our current relationships, these situations repeat themselves over and over again.
The way you tend to inhibit your experience becomes the template for your personality and the way you live your life.
For example, if you grew up in a household where anger was avoided, you may construct your life to avoid anger in as many areas of your life as possible. The consequences of this may be that you don’t speak up for what you want in your relationships and work and so feel unfulfilled. Maybe you have a habit of leaving relationships early and quickly.
There are as many unconscious behavioral patterns and the lifestyles accompany them as there are people.
But when we consciously address the feelings and thoughts that were unaddressed, we begin to unwind the tangled knot of repetitive patterns that reduce our ability to see more creative opportunities and options in our lives.
Natural growth verses Personal Growth
In place of doing the work of completion, many of us try to fix ourselves through personal development programs. We don’t like certain things about ourselves and we want to be better.
We add in new habits, attempt to break old habits, and act “as if” to generate a more evolved version of ourselves.
Our mind’s agenda creates a picture of how we should be and beats us up to get there, attempting to keep ahead of the unfinished business from the past.
Engaging the completion process, steps out the endless game of improvement. By having the courage to have completion talks, feeling through the process, and allowing the feelings to change, transformation happens on its own naturally, organically, as a result of dealing with what has been inhibited.
When anger is expressed and felt through, something else will emerge.
When appreciation and love is expressed, it will change and something else will emerge.
Can we ever really get complete?
The word “completion” is a little bit misleading. It presents the idea that you are finished with events and relationships that happened in the past, that there is no more working through.
The reality is that completion is an ongoing process with the people in your life that matter to you.
Who do we complete with?
You will benefit from having clearing conversations with anyone that you have resentments towards, hurt feelings about, confusion, or lots of appreciation and love.
In general, the most important people to have completion conversations are your parents, primary caregivers, siblings, ex-partners, and long-term friends.
These are the people through which you learned the template for how to relate to others and are most likely relating to everyone in your life in these restricted ways.
How do I have a completion conversation?
You start this process by having the courage to ask the person to speak with you about some things you want to clear up.
I’m going to write a more in-depth newsletter next week that goes in detail through some things to keep in mind when having completion conversations.
Cultural Inhibition of Directness
Our culture is awash in messages dissuading us from sharing what we have been withholding. TV drama is based on keeping secrets so that the drama can continue.
The Reality TV formula is gossip plus staged blowouts of opinions. Spiritual talk often encourages withholding and emphasizes phony positivity in place of real relating.
The tender place of truth telling to another person, being with your experience, and staying with the other person is the super-skill of transformational relating.
Completion is about forgiveness
Ultimately, engaging the completion process with another person is about forgiveness of that person. The tricky part is that you’ll need to let go of the agenda of forgiveness while you are engaging the process, having faith that forgiveness comes on its own when you have accurately described what you are feeling and let yourself feel it.
Letting it flow
Our lives are made of ongoing instances of intensity and release. The more we are able to allow our thoughts, feelings, and sensations to emerge, be felt, and let go of, the more we reclaim the intelligence of our experience.
The completion process is one of the ways we allow our lives to flow anew opening up new possibilities moment after moment.