Take a moment to pause and reflect on some of your favorite memories. The moments in your life that you’ll never forget.
Chances are, you weren’t alone. Whether it was a friend, partner, family member or even a loyal pet, it’s likely that you experienced this treasured moment with someone you love.
Our connections – the relationships we have in our lives – are some of the most important indicators of our overall well-being and mental health.
Strong, healthy relationships are linked to lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, increased resilience, and greater life satisfaction. Human connection can also strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and improve your physical well-being and longevity.
Relationships show us how to love, how to be loved, and how to be love at our very core. How to truly embody love. They teach us who we want to be and what we value. Relationships also show us how much we love ourselves, and what we believe we are worthy of. Acting as a mirror, they reflect back to us our own self-worth and subconscious beliefs.
Relationships serve as some of our best teachers, and are perhaps our greatest catalyst for personal growth and transformation.
How Ayahuasca can Help Heal Relationships
The majority of people reevaluate their relationships in some way after a plant medicine journey. They spend more time with people who are in alignment with their path, and less with those that are not. After experiencing ayahuasca, many people report reconciliations in fractured relationships. Others may end unhealthy or toxic relationships with romantic partners, family or friends.
By processing deeply rooted trauma, increasing self-love, awareness, and empathy, and tapping into universal love and connection, ayahuasca can serve as a powerful tool in the healing process.
Many people experience a deeper sense of self-love after working with ayahuasca. This is important for relationships because we can only love others to the depth and degree that we love ourselves. By healing the relationship you have with yourself, you can have healthier, more nourishing relationships with those you love.
When you love yourself, accepting your perceived flaws and shortcomings without judgment, you can heal. And by default, this healing will extend out and into your relationships. By becoming more accepting of yourself, you can more easily love and accept others.
Self-love and acceptance can also increase your authentic expression and the ability to speak your truth, leading to more open communication. When you love yourself, you can be yourself, without fear or shame. This authenticity will attract the people who genuinely match your energy and values, resulting in more genuine and honest relationships.
Increased self-love also results in a greater sense of self-worth – an internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. This is important because the love you are capable of receiving is a direct reflection of what you believe you are worthy of.
As a result, some relationships may end after plant medicine ceremonies. Sometimes, the healthiest thing you can do is let go. Not all relationships will serve you, and it’s important to know when to move on. A sense of self-worth will support you in letting go of toxic people. This in turn will make space for new relationships that are more uplifting and supportive.
Finally , when you love yourself, you are more likely to care for yourself and commit to practices that will improve your mental health and well-being. After working with ayahuasca, you may decide to take up meditation or other wellness practices. This can support you in being your best self, elevating both your relationships and your life.
Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of oneself – your emotions, feelings, values, beliefs, desires, and anything else in your internal world.
As a self-aware individual, you know who you are and what you need. As a result, self-awareness is a key ingredient in creating the life and relationships you want.
With a significant other, it’s important to be self aware so you can be aligned with how you approach life together. For example, you might value adventure and freedom, but if your partner values stability and consistency, it could be hard to agree on important decisions.
That’s where ayahuasca comes in. This sacred plant medicine can help you gain clarity around what really matters, your values, and what you truly want in life and your relationships.
In an ayahuasca ceremony, you deep dive into your inner world – the first step towards improved self-awareness. This subconscious excavation can result in a better understanding of your own triggers, fears, pain, and unconscious wounding.
How does this help in relationships? When you have relational problems, it is not always about the other person. Oftentimes, we are triggered by something unprocessed within ourselves. In such situations, it’s easy to get caught up in strong emotions, reacting and saying things we may later regret.
By understanding your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and what may have triggered them, you can take personal responsibility for your actions, choosing to consciously respond rather than unconsciously react.
Your triggers and wounds can also prevent you from listening when conflict arises. Such conflicts in relationships are inevitable, but being self-aware enables better communication and honesty, which are essential for healthy connection.
No matter how you shake it or bake it, relationships take effort. But when done right, they’re amazing—and worth the effort. With greater self-awareness, you can empower yourself to improve your relationships and your life.
Trauma is defined as a lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Rather than the event itself, trauma is the impact of what happened, as engraved in our physiology by involuntary neurological responses.
Unprocessed trauma can harm a persons’ sense of self and safety, and their ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships. Stuck in a state that’s either hyper- or hypo-aroused, the nervous system reacts as if the traumatic event is still happening – shaping who we are, how we live, and how we relate to people.
So how does ayahuasca come into play?
Psychoactive plant medicines like ayahuasca are known to rewire neural pathways and affect the deeper regions of the brain where trauma is encoded. Ayahuasca has a profound ability to illuminate underlying issues that result in depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. This is crucial because often, trauma victims don’t recognize that their struggles with anxiety, depression or addiction arise from the impact of the past. By bringing awareness to the source, new realizations can arise and deep healing can occur.
When it comes to relationships – you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are. Current relationships can be profoundly affected by unhealed wounds, unconscious conditioning, and deeply embedded beliefs.
This is why certain childhood experiences can create particular attachment styles that last well into adulthood. Your attachment style can influence the way you communicate with others, and how you handle separations, arguments and intimacy.
Trauma can also affect an individual’s sense of self. Long after the traumatic event occurs, people may continue to feel shame, helplessness, powerlessness and intense fear. By releasing these emotions, one’s sense of self is empowered, self-love blooms, and relationships are often improved.
Another common reaction to trauma is emotional avoidance, which can serve as a way for people with PTSD to escape painful or difficult emotions. Unfortunately, this numbing can also make it challenging to experience positive emotions like joy, love, and happiness, which makes it difficult to maintain, foster, and grow intimate relationships with other people.
Under such circumstances, ayahuasca can provide a safe space to sit with and process trauma and its accompanying emotions – rebalancing the psyche and creating more room for growth and conscious connection.
Empathy and Forgiveness
A common theme in ayahuasca ceremonies is an increased capacity for compassion, empathy, and forgiveness of both self and others.
In my most challenging ayahuasca ceremony, I experienced my own personal Hell – consumed by feelings of fear, depression, isolation, and hopelessness. As I came out of that experience, ayahuasca said something that I’ll never forget: “This is how your mother would suffer if you were to die.”
As morbid as it sounds, that moment left me with a powerful realization. My mother had always been overprotective, and her constant worrying frustrated me because I didn’t understand the fear behind it. The ayahuasca journey showed me the depths of her anxiety around losing a child. I felt and experienced that pain myself, and as a result I could more easily empathize with her.
Without a doubt, empathy is one of the most significant keys to a healthy relationship. By understanding what other people feel and seeing things from their point of view, it becomes easier to interact with the people in your life.
Another key to healing relationships? Forgiveness.
Forgiveness is, in truth, an act of self-love, a healing gift we give ourselves. Forgiveness can help you feel more satisfied in your relationships and sustain them through hard times. Forgiving your loved ones can also be very beneficial for your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
Many people have shared profoundly healing forgiveness experiences after sitting with ayahuasca. This includes forgiveness not only of others, but of themselves as well.
Love and Connection
Love – the mother of all medicine – is one of the most common experiences people report when working with ayahuasca.
Feelings of universal love, oneness, and connection can arise spontaneously, and powerful encounters with qualities like safety and unity are also common.
Experiencing feelings of oneness can have lasting effects for your relationships. During medicine ceremonies, many people report an ‘ego death’ - experiencing the dissolution of or transcendence of the ego. In this space, there is no separation. No ‘otherness’. There is only oneness and unity consciousness.
When you can recognize oneness and see yourself in others, you will naturally be more loving and compassionate. There is a seeing beyond yourself and your own problems.
Ayahuasca can help you create more satisfactory relationships by bringing you back to your natural state of being, love.
When used responsibly and in a ceremonial context, ayahuasca can be undeniably beneficial for your relationship to self, others, and the world around you.
It doesn’t promise perfect relationships (which don’t exist anyway), but with awareness, commitment to your growth, and proper integration support, ayahuasca can serve as a powerful tool to unlock healing and transformation in both your relationships and your life.
Danielle Rateau is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor, certified health coach, and global traveler. In 2022, she lived and worked at an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. She is currently expanding her offerings through the study of trauma informed breathwork and sound healing.
Connect with Danielle on Instagram: @daniellerateau