The original exchange of essence, if it had gone as originally planned, would have accomplished several things.
First, it would have brought each part into a closer state of wholeness in which self-love would have been remembered.
Secondly, by taking in essence that had been in the Other, each would have had the instant experience of Otherness, which we now verbalize as "walking a mile in each other's shoes". We believed that this single experience would have caused compassion for other to be born, and gaining compassion and understanding of what Other felt and had experienced would have given birth to love.
Each part would have maintained unique integrity, and they might have separated by choice for periods in order to experience, but they would have the experience of experiencing Other. And returning to experience each other would have become an important part of relating, and expanding Self would have been the result of this loving and joyful exchange.
Needing the other would never have been a painful tether or restriction. In fact, we would not have remained in a state of need at all, let alone the terrifying fear of endless and unmet need that we ended up in.
Because of the imbalances that formed the split, each entity responded to incompleteness in different ways. They each experienced separation as a breach of Self, but the pushing entity, which we are calling "He", responded to it by attempting to control and define Identity, delineate, draw borders and contain what he saw as himself. The parts he did not want, that he was able to push out, he did not define as himself. In other words, he held onto his defined Self tighter and tighter, even while claiming that he was not attached to self.
The slower essence, which we are calling "She", responded to the breach by trying to meld, receive, open, draw in Other. Her sense of self and identity was less defined and more dependent on Other, even more so now that she was holding much of His original need as well as her own.
The reality now what that one was holding most of the PAIN of separation and a million reasons to reach out, and the other was now holding most of the IDEA of protected identity with no reason at all to reach out.
We were at cross-purposes on many levels.
These polarized responses to lack of Self, reflected still today in relationships between yin and yang people (regardless of gender), made it almost impossible for the two to come together and exchange essence in any kind of balanced way. When they met, He saw her attempts at melding as a threat, as a further breach of his self, of his armor. She saw his refusal to meld as cold-heartedness and withholding and misuse of power.
There was an additional complication that needs mentioning, having to do with these different responses to incompleteness, a complication that also still lives on today, reflected in every conflict on earth.
Because of the pain surrounding "identity" or rather, incompleteness of identity, when essence was exchanged, it was not always understood as belonging to or coming from the Other. Often when essence entered the sphere of one or the other entity, it was immediately drawn into the internal "I". If compassion for the essence was felt, it was felt as compassion for self. If the incoming essence felt or had experienced something the internal "I" did not want to hear or feel, instead of feeling into the essence and hearing its story, it was usually just "assimilated", unheard, and shoved to the back of the closet.
What we had planned as the birth of compassion and understanding of Other never took place. "Walking in each other's shoes" never happened. This is the basis of the message that Jesus came to deliver, that Buddha tried to deliver, that countless others have said. Feeling for another being, understanding what they are feeling, is the beginning of love for Other. But when it is merely lip service overlaid on unmet needs and incompleteness and old fears and pain, the message becomes a wicked tool, a suppression and a judgment of essence that is still deeply needing.
The healing and connecting is beginning to happen now, in different ways than we foresaw, and this is a good thing.