Relationships are precious, they are like the branch that holds the leaves together. We all have seen relationships die and new relationships emerge. We are social animals and need our pack of friends and family for connection, validation and growth. It is interesting to note how a relationship can actually die, I have a few perspectives on it, which I am sharing with my readers.
1. Purpose of relationships:
Emotional health, connection, validation and growth are the purpose of relationships. Our relationships with our friends, or relatives, whether good or bad can make us emotionally alive. Some of them bring us out of our comfort zone and hence leading to growth and self realizations. The questions, Who am I? What is it that I don’t like and what it is that I like? become more relevant in relationships. Any relationship, which does not fulfill any of the purposes, starts sapping the time and energy and more so in the current context, where people have less time. Relationship prioritizing becomes a important social skill, where we must connect with self and see beyond the layers of societal conditioning, and become aware of the intent, which keeps us in the relationship. Some relationships will make you feel good about yourself, they may create spaces of collaboration, fun, social activities, love, nurture, healthy criticism, mutual admiration and learning. These relationships have more awareness and usually have a very long life. I believe the most important ingredient in these relationships is equality, authenticity and vulnerability. Any relationship, which seems inauthentic or guarded is bound to fail. Another important piece is willingness to communicate at both ends. I have experienced long years of friendship, just by writing with authenticity and bringing more of myself, my daily life, my realizations into my letters. Some of these relationships either continue even today or have disintegrated slowly due to no communication. The stage of no communication is arrived when one or more people in the relationship are unable to see the value it creates. Also if in a relationship you feel you are holding a higher or lower hierarchy, either due to power, position or money, it will fail to nurture you.
2. Our view of relationships:
Sometimes we are in a relationship because in our world view, that is how it should be and there is no other way. Such relationships get tough to handle and require a lot of energy on both sides. You may feel that it is only you who is working on the relationship, because you feel obliged in some way. However, in reality the other person is also trying hard to maintain the integrity of his or her world view, breaking of a world view actually may mean invalidating someones thought process. These relationships stop being equal as, there is always a point to be proved by both the ends. It could be a entertaining mind game for some time but it defeats the whole purpose of a human relationship. Blood relationships are even more difficult to maintain and to nurture, as the society binds it into certain rules and people end up assuming a lot in the relationships. This is really sad as sometimes the people whom we spend our childhood and most of our growing up years, are the once whom we are most guarded against. They know our vulnerabilities, they have seen our shadows and scars, they have broken our trust as kids, can we still trust them? can we have heart to heart conversations with them? We hardly share our vulnerabilities and issues which are impacting our day to day lives with our brothers, sisters and parents. In some households one or two people may hold the role and would be expected to listen and resolve issues all the time. We take most of these relationships for granted and expect them to grow without water, without care, without food. Assumptions about people, their situation and the relationship itself can kill the relationship. Some of the relationships are actually dead even before declaration of their death, sometimes people may carry dead relationships for years without any realization. Acceptance plays a key role in this scenario, acceptance of what stage is your relationship in, accepting your expectations from the relationship and naming them, acceptance of existing issues and most importantly listening to yourself and those whom you love.
3. How we engage:
We have discovered the role of authenticity, vulnerability, acceptance and listening before. Here are my ideas to bring some simple tools of application into our day to day life. Letters or emails of gratitude to people who have helped you in your journey of life. These are much more than thank you notes. These letters are more graphical and have specific examples of how the intervention from this person impacted you.These letters have the essence of the relationship that you wish to nurture. Believe me, if you don’t remember instances, it is not worth writing a gratitude note. Hello letters or emails, just to stay in touch. They are not mere pokes but give an insight into ones daily life and emotions that are being experienced. Also these communications excite the other person to write about themselves and create a virtual healing space. There are times that you feel guilty of a mistake that you haven’t yet opened up and apologized for, so go ahead and say sorry, to get rid of the unnecessary luggage. No need to say sorry if you are not feeling it. Writing a sorry letter, may be a new beginning or a great closure to a relationship. Thought letters, are letters, which just talk about your current thoughts or imaginations with your friends or relatives, this sharing opens a door for relationships to enter a subconscious level and creates intimate bonds. These bonds don’t need constant nurturing and can survive for long as their roots are really deep. It is my faith, that through mutual respect and understanding of each others perspectives, relationships that we value can blossom and make our world more wholesome and creative.