Friday, March 12, 2010

Relationship 101-They're Just Not That Into You or DIY: Relationship Reality Check

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they're trying to find someone who's going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” Anthony Robbins

Why is it that when we see a guy approaching we either assume he’s interested or worse, assume he’s not? Why isn’t he neutral? Why do we assume anything about the person approaching us at all? (And yes, I know I’m using the royal we, and yes, I’m speaking from a girl’s perspective- but this means you [guys] too!)

Ahem. Because. We’ve been trained to believe that how others respond to us is important. Men should be admiring, women should be bitchy- (which secretly means they’re admiring) if you’re a girl. If you’re a guy- other guys should want to be you or at least be your friend, and women should be throwing themselves at you. If we aren’t admired, it means we’re not worthy. If others don’t care, it’s because we’re not worth caring about. Has there ever been a truly neutral relationship between the sexes? Isn’t every girl-guy friendship just a tacit battle in the war between the sexes? If a guy and a girl are friends, the conventional wisdom says, it’s only because one of them is trying to get into the other’s pants. And how about the rest of your friends? Your BFFs- your “boyz” (for guys), your b*****s in friend’s clothing? Think they’re not in it to get something? While every relationship has its give and take, how many of us are in relationships where we give more than we take, but are afraid to leave because “they’ll talk about you”, or “you’ll be alone?” Relationships define us as human beings- who we know, who knows us- who acknowledges us and by their acknowledgement, gives us status. Relationships are about connections, and power...or are they?

I don’t know how many relationships I’ve sabotaged for myself, by second guessing myself. I didn’t know what I was offering to someone else- I didn’t know that in myself I was valuable, and that people might just want to know me- not take something from me. I thought they wanted what I could do, what I knew, who I knew- but it honestly never occurred to me that some of them just wanted to know me. I don’t even know me. I have not yet begun to plumb the dark depths of my psyche (nice use of alliteration, huh?) and couldn’t understand why anyone else would want to take the journey.

But there is a light in all of us that draws us to each other. We learn lessons from everyone whose life we touch. And sometimes we just want to be close to one another’s warmth when we feel most alone. And sometimes we just want to be close to one another’s light, because "joy shared is multiplied."  (Spider Robinson)

It can be hard to find someone you want to be close to, when you can’t understand why they would want to be close to you. But like all relationships, sometimes it just takes a leap of faith. It takes believing that another soul can see your light and want to come close to it, and admire it, without taking anything away. Now, don’t get me wrong- there are light suckers out there (suckers-“smirk”) who will come close and try to drain your light and joy away. The only way to get rid of these parasites is to burn them away with more light than they can handle. Don’t let Debbie Downer make you sad- be happier than you were before. Find something that makes you happy on a bad day, and do it until you feel better...then keep doing it. While bitter people are attracted to happiness like moths to a flame, they burn just like moths and they won’t, can’t trouble you for long, if you keep being happy. Recognize the poisonous people and relationships in your life- recognize that your own assumptions may be keeping you in those relationships and away from happy ones. Recognize that the relationships in your life should only define you if they are making you better, healthier and happier.

Give the stranger on the street a fair shot- give the people in your life a hard look, and give yourself a little credit. There’s more to you, and them, than meets the eye.

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