Last week I introduced the concept that your destiny as a human being is to be in relationship with other human beings. You were born into the basic human need to experience love, acceptance and connection with other human beings. To resist this inherent truth will have you suffer on many levels. We are incapable of reaching our potential without being in human relationships. Therefore, relationships could be said to be crucial to our human evolution.
For the sake of this conversation, let's expand on learning how each of the many types of relationships support us in authentically knowing ourselves. I see relationships as any connection, known or unknown with another human being. It could be someone in your family, a significant other, a friend, a co-worker, a bank teller or your neighbor. It could even be with a public official, a movie star, a sports figure or the paper boy that you haven't personally met.
I am going to claim that each and every relationship has a purpose, a role and a reason for being what it is at this time in our life. Even the relationships that we did not intentionally initiate, co-create or design have lessons and wisdom in them. Some of our biggest role models are people we don't know personally but feel connected to them by how they have motivated, inspired or appalled us. Our actions or lack of actions in our current relationships are a result of our past associations, and prior programming of relationships in general.
The mere mentioning of someone's name whether we know them or not, generates an experience and energy in us. Those experiences and that energy either opens or closes possibilities for the relationships in our lives.
So, regardless of the relationship, I suspect that when you bring a person to mind you have an internal experience. The range of that experience is anywhere on the scale from peace and joy to anger and resignation. Knowing what opens and closes possibilities in any and all relationships will be a crucial step in co-creating, designing and sustaining relationships.
I am going to invite you to do a simple exercise with me. There are no right and wrong answers so please do not judge yourself as we practice. It is totally okay to feel what you feel. In fact I am going to suggest that the more you give yourself permission to feel, the more that will be revealed to you.
Since, I would suspect you are more interested in your current personal relationships let's use those for the exercise.
- Get a sheet of paper and draw 2 lines so you end up with 3 equal columns.
- Think of 3 relationships you would like to explore.
- Write one name at the top of each column.
- Take a few seconds and bring to mind the relationship in the first column. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let yourself really experience that relationship as though that person were in front of you right now. When you are ready, go to the next step below.
- Without judging yourself for what you feel when you think of that person, notice and acknowledge what you feel when you think of that person.
- In a couple of words, write down your experience of being in relationship with that person. (ex. loved, appreciated, supported, defensive, resentful, angry, lonely or whatever else comes to mind)
- On the next line, write down the energy of that relationship (ex. positive, negative, energized, light, heavy, burden, toxic, neutral or whatever else comes to mind)
- On the next line, declare your intention for being in this relationship. For the sake of what is this person in your life?
- Write down what would you like to experience in this relationship.
- On a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being high, how open to learning are you in either releasing, redesigning, restoring or rejoicing and sustaining this relationship?
- On a scale of 1 -10, with 10 being high, how willing are you to take responsibility for you to experience everything you want in this relationship?
- Now go to the next name in the next column and repeat the steps.