Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sharing Our Realities

Each person has a unique reality in which they live. No one's reality is just like ours. That would be impossible. We see things differently. We experience things based on a unique inner constellation that no one else can ever completely understand. That is part of the human condition.

When realities collide, and we expect the other person to see things exactly as we do, that is a recipe for trouble... if not outright disaster. We humans don't seem to be very good at accommodating each other's realities.

We judge people who think, feel, believe and act differently. We get angry when we are not validated in our views and choices. We want to see ourselves and our realities reflected in those around us, especially those we love and care about. When they look at things differently and don't agree with us, we often get upset.

A key to happy and healthy relationships, is being able to share one's reality without fear of judgement or ridicule. If we can't tell each other the truth about how we see things and how we feel, we cannot have authentic relationships. Hiding who we are, how we really feel, what we think, and the struggles that we have creates a thick barrier in relationship. Expecting people to do things our way and agree with us all the time is a relationship killer.

Needing people to live according to our rules, views and doing what 'keeps us fixed' (to quote Rev. Joyce Meyer) is unfair and will never lead to true intimacy and connection. Control and compliance is not what relationships are all about... or at least it shouldn't be.

I've watched a lot of relationships fall apart because people cannot allow the other person to be themselves. In order to feel 'loved' and 'secure' they require the other party to agree with them and live according to their plan for them. Some of these relationships 'survive' but the people are certainly not happy and fulfilled.

It is not easy to share your reality with another human being without attachment to them agreeing with and living according to it. It's even harder to allow someone to share their reality with you without judging, condemning, and requiring the person to change to your view in order to keep the peace.

Skillful relating is about allowing another person to have their reality and share it with you, and being able to share your reality with them. If there is enough in common, the relationship can work. If there isn't, no amount of trying to force the other person is going to make the relationship healthy and satisfying. It will simply drive a wedge more deeply between the parties involved. It's better to agree not to continue the relationship than to kill the spirit of the other person trying to make them 'do it your way.'

Learn about boundaries, and about allowing people to be themselves. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, and let others take responsibility for themselves. Making someone change for you is not what love is about. Trying to change them to be who you want and need them to be is controlling, not loving.

Whenever you find yourself trying to change someone in any way, take a good look in the mirror and do a little investigating. You are most likely avoiding something in yourself that needs attention, by focusing on the other person's issues.

Freedom is a beautiful thing!