I know I write often about relationships, but, let’s be honest here, they are fundamental to every step we humans make. In order to move forward in any area of our lives, we need to form them and feed them and acknowledge, within them, the parts we don’t resonate with. We must allow each other to be who we essentially are.
Unless I meet my doppelganger, (which could throw up no end of trouble if you think about it) I am always going to have to deal with the things in you that are not in me.
As are you.
I may be loud and laugh like a donkey. I may have an irritating habit or six. I may bring, and undoubtedly will, into this relationship, my baggage from my own past, my own hangups about being told what to do, for example, fixed, pigeon-holed. Or, it may be you who has spent a lifetime wanting your voice to be heard and then listened to and who is fed up with pigeons, and their holes.
When we embark on a new relationship, there is a kind of euphoria at first, if, that is, we click in a way that appears bathed in a glorious and magical light. Then, after a little time, this wonderful light begins to pale, it has to for the true person to show their face. We might not like this bit. Why is that? Because now we see beyond the mask, and we all wear them. There are ways we wish to be seen and ways we do not wish to be seen, but it is not possible to keep that mask on for long. Human nature is too strong for us, we are at its mercy.
What we are all seeking, is to be accepted as we are. There are probably thousands of books on this very subject. It’s called Agape love, as distinct from the type of love known as Eros, which is the one that comes bathed in light. It cannot last, Eros, although it’s dashed useful as a starting gun, unless it matures into Agape. The Greeks had many words to describe love, as do other languages. It’s only we English speakers who have the one word and it can fankle us up something rotten as we wander through our lives. For example, over time, love can grow weary of loving. This is something you might say to me. Love flickers like a candle in the winds of time, and can sometimes snuff right out. But not Agape love, I will reply, because this love doesnt seek domination nor control. It doesn’t ever want to make another feel small or scared or unsafe. This love protects and encourages, even if there is no obvious point upon which we both agree, especially then.
A mother’s love for a child can be this ‘warts and all’ type, although such total acceptance is often lacking between herself and the child’s father. And yet, didn’t they set out together to make a shared lifetime? Of course they did. So what is missing? If we can allow a child to grow into an unique being, how come we work so hard to de-unique a partner? I’m not saying we all do this, but I have found a common thread or two in the relationships I have watched and studied.
I am wondering if the starting point is outside or inside us. If it is outside, then it must follow that we are always at the mercy of the world and its complex entanglements, a world that expects us to do or be something and someone, in order to fit, to take our place in the pecking order. If it is inside us, then why can’t we change things? Perhaps it’s because we don’t really want to. Maybe we feel we have done all we can and why should we be the one to change? If you tell me I am too over-bearing or judgemental, too quick to put you down, and you only see, before you, a person in serious need of repair, then you are obviously not going to budge. And if I rather like whatever it is about me you don’t like, or I don’t even recognise these, so called, faults in myself, then nor am I.
If I could go back again to the early days of my adult life, not that I would want to, for a minute, I might have wished for more training on relationships and less on geography and latin. Emerging as a student with qualifications might indeed lead me into a certain area of work, presuming I could find any that is, but it doesn’t help me one bit in the art of relationship building, nor its ongoing maintenace. If I am one of those fortunate children who was loved with an Agape love, then I am even less well-equipped, in theory, for haven’t I been allowed to be myself in any and all situations? How on earth I am going to be able to ‘fit in’ to the shape you want me to fit into?
When I am working with school children, little ones, I can see who is confident in a goodly home love, and who isn’t, by the way the child behaves, shares, steps back, or doesn’t. I came from a large and competitive bundle of children, and I notice how we all want to be heard, our voices rising to cap the general white noise inside a crowded house, to lift above it. When I leave that nest, I take that need with me. At first, you might have found it rather cute, but over time, trust me, it could well become a pain in the aspidistra, and build on itself until it becomes a ‘bad’ point, something that needs fixing, although we may not ever agree on that one.
What I have learned for certain, over many long years of relationships, is that my strength is also my weakness, and my weakness is my strength. My excessive behaviour, is just creative energy lacking in direction, like a weed, which you may want to pull up and cast away, but which, in truth is just a wild flower in the wrong place.