Often, in our conversation with others, we speak of the frustration we have in relationships. Whether it is our spouse, a significant other, a boss, a co-worker, an employee, or a friend.
Regardless of the other person, our conversations are always focused on them. What they didn’t do right, what they said, what they did, what they didn’t do or what they did not share.
It’s so hard to get us to see that we are part of any relationship we have with others. Our experience, our level of trust, our skill, our fears, our world views, our interest, and our level of engagement all play roles in how we see the other person.
Are we inclusive of others or stay away from others for our own reasons? Do we view our relationships on a transactional level (what they did first will dictate what I will do next)?
Am I feeling left out or always trying to catch up or keep up in a relationship I have with someone else? Or does time pass quickly when I feel safe and have invested a lot in a relationship with someone else?
Even the most infrequent interaction becomes one of our relationships. We rarely see this. Never do we consider the infrequent hello to a stranger as being defined as one of our relationships.
We make the mistake of not feeling responsible for all of our relationships (especially those that frustrate us). Everyone, with pride, recites the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. But I rarely see it referred to in conversations about relationships.
Relationships are very difficult. Why? Because we can’t control the other person AND because the other person has world views and experiences that are going to be different than ours in some way. No two of us are the same. Yet we tend to always want the outcomes of a relationship to go a certain way. They never will ….. exactly.
But what each of us can do is take a step that is much larger and more generous towards the other person than they may be inclined to give you. And then do it again while breaking your pencils in half so that you no longer keep score.
If you want trust in a relationship than first give trust. If you want respect in a relationship than first show respect. If you want to be included, than first include others into your world and life without asking for anything more. If you want patience than show patience. If you want honesty than be first honest with others.
Each of us has more control of the outcomes in our life and the depth of the relationships we create than we think. If only we could stop being blinded by only seeing others while giving much more of ourselves to every person, smile, fear, and ego we meet along our way.