By relating with others we get a fuller picture of ourselves
It is in our relationships that our patterns of relating become apparent. We see more of who we are through others.
For many of us our relationships are our greatest gift, yet they are also areas of our greatest pain. In order for them to be life-giving we need to put our best energy into them.
As we all know, each relationship is unique and has its own particular ‘chemistry’. All and everything we have to offer is who we are. It is into that relational space between us that we place our hopes and fears, longings and imaginings. Each relationship taps into a different part of us. Thus we need a breadth of connection in order to get a fuller, truer picture of ourselves. If we only choose to relate to those that we like we will be so much the poorer.
How can we see relationships with others as illuminators of different relational parts of ourselves?
Through reflection we can come to understand the kind of relationships we have created over the span of our lives. In this way we can distill our particular patterns.
For example, we may see how we tend to let the other choose for us, or how we do not feel entitled to express our needs, seeing them as secondary. Or we may realise that we like to hold onto power, preferring those who are subservient or compliant. We may see that we are reactive, always choosing the opposite of what’s asked, or that tend to want to exit relationships as soon as things feel too close.
Listen to Sergio’s Series on Nurturing Our Needs
Growing is always a risk. It opens us to the unknown and moves us into what we fear. We’ve often allowed our dysfunctional needs to pull us in many directions, but developing our healthy needs will bring enrichment to our own life and deeper connection to others.
We can fruitfully reflect on our ability or inability to engage and see how we receive what is coming from the very different people we encounter. For if we do nothing we will just end up perpetuating our learnt patterns.
Relational spaces are invitations to grow and to deepen both our understanding of the gift of the other and through them to come to understand ourselves better. For it is as we see and are seen that we become.