“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity-in freedom.”
Thanks, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, for three things to consider about relationships.
Growth, fluidity, and freedom- Hmmm, they sound expansive and desirable. To be able to grow freely, flow through change and be oneself is a high ideal. On one hand, we want to experience this as much as possible in our relationships. Yet there is a part of us that wants to control circumstances and others to create safety and security. How often do we offer to others what we ourselves desire?
Let’s be curious.
- Do you have the sense that you are growing within your relationship- or does the opinion of your partner influence your natural incentive?
- Do you allow the growth of the other within the relationship- even if you disagree with its direction or extent?
- How do you nurture the growth of those you love?
- Do you go with the flow, in allowance of the other, aiming to understand the motivation and not control the outcome?
- Do you prevent the flow of ideas, the evolution of patterns and plans if they are different than yours?
- To what extent are you an unnecessary gatekeeper of freedoms?
We generally expect more of our loves than our friendships. My husband has said to me on more than one occasion, “Why are you so understanding, kind and forgiving with your friends, yet you hold me to another standard?” Yikes! Indeed, I have discussed with my best friends why it is that we can be less thoughtful, less tolerant, and more demanding at home.If we try to make others perfect or protect them from pain, we devalue them, having little regard for their own growth. If we try to control them to think as we do or agree with our ways, we shut down possibilities and freedom.
Bringing more friendship into a love relationship means above all respecting the integrity of the individual, realizing they can and will be different. It means understanding that they do not exist to satisfy your needs, and fulfill your life. Friendship involves a keen desire to know someone. This implies efforts to understand them through patient listening. It requires a cooperative and accommodating stance, a sincerity without manipulation. Friendship is a concentration on what you respect and admire, and enjoying the opportunity to be together and share experiences. Wholesome friendships are built on mutual support.
Since we are at the center of all our relationships, we are responsible for our self-esteem, growth, happiness, and fulfillment. Friends and loved ones are gifts to help us enrich our lives, not to be prisoners in our web or pawns in our game!
Being egocentric is a major block to our own fulfilment. The more we can step away from being the most important, the most right, or in blame of others for what went wrong, the more we can experience the growth, the flow and the freedom we seek for ourselves.