Ruminations re: Relationships
My last post was about personal behavior. This one is about personal and business relationships.
Above all else, you must have a great relationship with yourself. Without that strong foundation, you can not have a strong relationship with another person or organization.
There’s no such thing as normal. We all have our biases and neurosis.
We obsess over ritual, process, dogma and fear. Did he do the right thing on date number 3? Did she file form number 5? Did they come through the right door?
Our egos, pride and fear get in the way of real connections and meaningful leaps of faith. We classify ‘ideal’ as unattainable ‘fantasy’ instead of a worthy goal. We semi-commit, leverage, tell half truths, white lies or outright betrayals. What if your business model matched your vision? What if your words matched your thoughts. What if your thoughts matched your highest ideals – ideals based on love and openness.
We play power games, instead of realizing partnership affords us the greatest power of all. Saying “I need you” or “I need help” is a critical kind of power.
We think we must choose between love, work or self. We are all selfish. But we don’t realize that definition of love is broadening your definition of self to include another person. We don’t realize that success without love is like a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear – it happens but it doesn’t matter. No one gives a shit.
We think we must choose between one person or another. The truth is we are all nodes on a network. We need different types of signals from different kinds of people.
We try to ‘find ourselves’ not realizing that our everyday actions define us. Did you say that kind word to that stranger? Then you are kind. Were you loyal to a friend? Then you are loyal. Did you avoid that confrontation? Then you are someone who avoids confrontation. Did you tell your complete personal truth? Then you are honest.
We look for the next best thing instead of recognizing that truly getting on the same page with someone is the best possibility of all. Achieving that kind of collaboration – even for a moment – should be cherished in the moment and for a lifetime. Sometimes it happens like a lightning strike. Most times it takes hard work, communication and trust.
We forget that the best relationships are about resonating with something or someone. About helping each other evolve by creating safe harbors, new opportunities and covering each other’s blind spots.
We grow complacent and content in our relationships. They require constant work. Each participant must grow, evolve and contribute to the whole.
There are so many stories of people breaking up because they were ‘too young’ and now, years later, they long for that lost connection. “We’re different now. They have a girlfriend now. They are happy without me.” Why did you give it up in the first place? Why not try again? Are grand gestures only for the movies?
There are so many stories of high-school sweethearts that wake up one day resenting each other. Do they resent each other, or do they resent missed opportunities. Being trapped. Missed freedoms. Did they communicate? Did they give each other freedom? Did they create opportunities for each other? Did they leave when the relationship finally no longer served their evolution?
Maybe most relationships are temporary – a day, a week, a year, a decade. We try to have ‘clean’ breakups. Contracts. Lawyers. Relationships are not clean. They are messy. Love is messy. Life is work. Work is life. A relationship is not defined by what you think it should be or what the contract says it will be – it’s defined by every day. Every hiccup. Every earnest effort to do the right thing for the other person.
Time is not running out. We overestimate what can be done in a day and underestimate what can be done in a decade. Breathe. Take your time. Pay attention. Keep perspective.
Is there always imbalance in a relationship? Does one always need the other more. Love the other more? Is that ok? How does one measure the delta. What is the threshold for when the delta becomes too great? When does the relationship no longer serve your evolution and the evolution of your partner?
These are some of the open questions about a partnership that remain for me.
I know, though, you can’t hold on too tight or you will strangle each other.
These things are only cliches because they are true.