Thursday, October 04, 2007

6 Misconceptions About Relationships

First. That old pervasive assumption… that people SHOULD BE in a relationship. That belief that says, “relationships are natural, ideal, and what we should all be pursuing”. Not true. In fact, the way most relationships are conducted these days, particularly marriage, I’d have to say they are most unnatural! Now I’m not saying that friendships aren’t natural, nor am I denying that sharing time with a loved one can enhance virtually any experience. But the thought that anything “should” be anything… should stop you in your tracks for 4 reasons:

First of all, there are no “should’s” in time and space, should’s only serve to limit experience whenever they fall outside of our own leanings and desires.

Second, just as there are no 2 people who are the same, neither are any 2 relationships… some have more intimacy, some have less, some create co-dependences, others don’t, some are just for fun, others are like serious workshops… so even if “should’s” were OK, then which kind of relationship should everyone be in… my kind, your kind, who’s kind?

Third, as I’ve said before, everyone learns and has fun in different ways, and for some, more learning and fun can be had by not entering into any kind of a one on one relationship, after all, life is full of learning, growing and playing experiences that have NOTHING to do with being in a relationship. Lastly, the problem with most relationships as they’re now constructed, the kind of relationships that people in general seem to think we “should” all be in, including the present world view on marriage, is that they’re marred by thoughts of possessiveness, and of harmful expectations – of which I’ll talk more about soon.So the presumption that people SHOULD BE in relationships is the first major misconception held by the main stream.

The second misconception, is that great relationships withstand the test of time. Well, since when does a clock, or a calendar, become the measuring unit for love, emotional growth, or happiness? Like in manufacturing… quality is what counts, not quantity, which is not to say that you can’t have a quality relationship that lasts a lifetime, nor am I saying that adversity in a relationship should lead to its abandonment. But these 2 benchmarks, quality and quantity, usually have very little, if anything, to do with one another. What’s important in any relationship is that it be a rewarding experience in terms of either learning or happiness, and when both of these elements are missing, and are believed to be irredeemable, the relationship no longer serves you.

The 3rd misconception about relationships, is that they can make you happy. Or put another way, that having someone in your life can make you happy. Happiness, as is often said, is an inside job. It comes from within, not from external sources or other people. Relationships only intensify whatever you already feel, about yourself and life, other people simply reflect your attitudes about life and yourself, back to you. A happy person entering into a relationship will likely become even happier, and an unhappy person entering into a relationship will likely become even unhappier. But I want to make a distinction here, I just said, and you’ve heard it before, that people just mirror back to you what you already are. But what exactly is being mirrored… not your behaviors, not your looks, not your outer expressions in time and space, but they mirror back your beliefs and the perceptions you have of yourself. That’s why the person with low self esteem is often further abused in relationships. They think of themselves as flawed, unworthy of love and appreciation, or even deserving of punishment... and these thoughts are not only picked up by the other person, but depending on their disposition, may be expressed by the other person, possibly in the form of abuse. It IS a bit more complicated than this, and other beliefs are at play that first attract any 2 people together, but the point here, is that what your bring to the relationship, is what you will take from it, whether it be happiness, sadness, or self-loathing.Along this same vane, it is futile, and unusually dishonest, to enter into, or stay in a relationship believing that it will make the other person happy. How often have you heard people say, “I just want to make you happy.”? Too often! No one is, nor should they pretend to be, in a relationship to make someone else happy. Heck if the other person is unhappy, a more logical reaction, if you truly cared about them, would be to leave that person so that they can figure out their own issues. Leave the relationship if it’s making them unhappy, but that’s easier said than done, because what people really mean when they say, “I just want to make you happy” is, “I just want to be happy, and I won’t be happy, until you’re happy.” Well little more needs to be said when you understand the motivating truth behind the statement, because if their happiness depends on some one else being happy, then they’ve got issues too. Your first objective, for the benefit of yourself and your relationships, is to see that you’re happy, because when you’re happy, the rest of the details in your life will take care of themselves, and usually, though not always, those around you will be happier.

The 4th misconception about many relationships, is that some are meant to be. I’ve already talked about that at length in “The Elixir of Life” when I mentioned the fallacies concerning the notions of soul mates, but nothing in time and space is meant to be, except for what already exists in the present, and all that awaits you based on your ever evolving beliefs and expectations for the future. Tomorrow’s a blank slate, it has to be, otherwise there’d be limits and constraints on our ability to create our own realities.

The 5th misconception about relationships, or about those in them, is that people never change. People do change, we all change everyday. The lives we lead are all about change, people want to change, growing and becoming better and more, all the time, that’s presumably why you’re listening to these recordings, and you will change. So don’t ever write someone off in your life because you think they’ll never change, and similarly, don’t categorize them as being one way or another… because they ARE changing everyday, and your beliefs about them can help, or hurt, their evolution. Categorizing someone will never help, but by seeing the divinity in them, and responding to that divinity, rather than responding to the traits and flaws that might be driving you crazy, you can literally give them a leg up – even when they don’t consciously know what you’re up to.

The 6th misconception about many relationships, is that they have to be worked on. Now, of course, I understand the point trying to be conveyed by that sentiment, but categorizing relationships can be as hurtful as categorizing a person. A firm belief in anything, including the presumption that relationships are “work”, will bring about that reality. The truth is, relationships don’t have characteristics until the people in them define them, they’re not easy or hard, challenging or rewarding, until someone says so. So a bigger truth here is not that relationships are this, that, or the other, it’s that individuals in relationships see them as this, that, or the other… and so they become. Rather than working on their relationship, each person should be working on their perceptions. And, just as bad as defining your present relationship, is defining them in general, because if you do, then all your future ones will be cast in the same light, shaped and defined before you even get to them.......Tallyho,"

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