What makes one person, one life, more significant than another?
How is it that i am okay with not helping a stranger but i feel i must help a family member?
Do your primary relationships serve to bring you closer in joining with others? Or do they serve to further separate you from others?
In this world we teach ourselves to define each and every relationship we have. We use words like acquaintance, stranger, friend, brother, sister, parent, girl/boy friend, spouse, etc. While on the surface these appear to be normal classifications, keep in mind, just because we all label something as normal does not mean it is healthy, loving or not psychotic. If we look closely, each of these labels carries with it meanings, rules, categories, and expectations. All of which shift and change depending on which label is applied and what MY situation, my needs, call for at the time.
“Family comes first” for example. why? Who says so? Many of the people i talk with don’t get along very well with their family members and yet they hold onto an adage that forces them to separate out the people in their “family” from everyone else. Consider this: if they were not your “family”, would you pursue a friendship with them?
How about primary relationships? By primary i mean that one person with whom you are “comitted” (another word i do not understand); the girl friend or boy friend, the fiancé, the spouse. While the relationship itself appears to be loving, it’s affects often are not. In fact, it often comes at the cost of many other relationships. [Are you arguing inside with what i am saying, just notice.] Often, when someone enters into a “primary” relationship, other relationships must change, even end altogether. Friendships that existed prior to the establishment/agreement of a primary relationship fall away. Especially friendships with members of the opposite sex. And, we say, well, that ‘s just the way it is and we convince ourselves, out of our own insecurity, that there’s no other way. Is that loving?
I have experienced many times in my life the ending, or at least suspension, of friendships due to the other person committing to a primary relationship. I’ve done it myself (but no more). What does that do the persons definition of what “friendship” is? Does friendship become something i label you with when it fits for me? Do i leave you, my friend, when someone else from whom i can get more comes along? Do you expect me to be okay with your “leaving” the relationship because, and i quote, “that’s what friends do.”?
Sure, you might be saying that’s the way it is, or that’s because of our insecurities, etc. Maybe, but that is not my point. NOtice if those arguments are coming up for you as a way to rationalize the selfish behavior i am exploring right now.
Yes, it is selfish. To classify someone as “friend” and interact with them based on your rules of what a friend is, and then to have those rules disappear when it is in your best interest to commit to someone else, yes, that’s selfish. Now, selfishness, insecurity, etc. aside, are we willing to simply look at it without judgment? Can you be open to seeing how your committed relationship actually separates you and your partner, and does not serve love at all? It may serve selfish love in that both parties are getting what they think they need; to feel special in the eyes of one person, to feel loved, to be needed, etc. but remember, EVERY relationship has the ability to completely satisfy, if we are willing to let it.
In each and every one of these relationships, primary, friend, family, etc. we are essentially saying, “you meet my need for Blank, more than Blank does.” Or, ” you, this one person whom i have selected out, meets my need more than anyone else, and we have agreed that we will join in meeting each other’s needs by putting a box or rules around us and by separating ourselves (as one? again, what does that even mean?) from everyone else. “We” are now isolated in a strange way, protected and secure in our separation. Does this sound like Love?’
Look at our rules for marriage as an example – the rule of emotional intimacy specifically – since one is “married” it is considered unacceptable for either party to be physically intimate with another of the opposite sex. Now, our society has actually placed stronger rules on physical intimacy than on emotional, sex is typically a deal-breaker, but an emotional affair is often not even considered or recognized as an affair. The first thing that comes to mind when someone of the opposite sex is involved with a married/committed person (committed, ponder that word. One is committed when they are considered by others to be insane) is whether they have had sex. The funny thing is, emotional intimacy involves a level of joining much deeper than physical contact can ever achieve. Where is the line, where are the rules? Where is your line? Where are your rules? That’s the point of this posting today. In our society, they appear to shift all the time.
Why even have rules? well, as long as we continue to believe we are unworthy, not enough, imperfect; as long as we believe we are needy, lacking, and the like, we will continue to put the rules in place to guarantee our unworthiness, neediness, imperfection, etc. Only when we realize who we really are, and that we are lacking in nothing, will we be positioned to truly love.
That love is a love the encompasses everyone, equally.