What do you know about being in relationship? How did you come by that knowledge? Much like swimming, chances are, you were thrown into the deep end of a pool and survival instinct took over.
Unless you desire an Olympic medal in the 200-meter freestyle, instinctual swim techniques can get you by in life. Yet everyone knows that to master just about any subject, a level of learning is required. So why is it assumed that being in relationship is as (unconsciously) natural as breathing?
Throughout traditional primary school, children are taught the basics: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. Where in that curriculum is the fourth “R”… for relationships?
Merriam-Webster defines relationship (noun): the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward and deal with each other
b: a romantic or sexual friendship between two people
c: the way in which two or more people or things are connected
Oftentimes folks identify with the second definition and because of their single status will decline being in relationships. Not true! At any given moment, you are in relationship with your mother, sister, co-worker, barista, dog and planet. Mindful connection with non-romantic people and groups gets neglected, as well as dealings with unfamiliar people. It is time for humanity to wake up to their existence on this planet and be conscious of the effects their speaking and behavior has on the collective.
Imagine a soap bubble floating about the atmosphere. Put yourself in that bubble. In the instant that you engage with another human being, your bubbles merge into one. The membrane that surrounds you is fragile and at risk of being damaged by harsh words and actions. Co-existing in the bubble requires being aware and intentional of who or what shares that space with you.
Moving beyond pairs, families and groups who come together for a meal or meeting share one large bubble. If two individuals of the entity are at odds with each other, that energy is felt in the group. The shared space can become filled with a sense of heaviness to the extent that it is toxic to others, affecting the communal experience.
Individual leaders of countries at war seem to make choices from a desire for personal satisfaction without considering the consequences to the community whom he shares the land with. And the land that endures the destruction is part of a planet. Mother Earth is one large bubble orbiting in the Universe to sustain humanity’s existence. We are all in relationship with Her, therefore a balanced harmonious planet is dependent on healthy relationships.
How do we exist in healthy relationship with others?
As with all goals in life, we know a level of consciousness and intention is required to achieve the necessary growth. Here are five vital practices that can bring forth ease and peace of mind to your most important relationships.
1. Get Present
Self-awareness. Notice the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your mind. Are you anxious? Are you blaming? Once dialed in, you have the opportunity to choose a conscious response, as opposed to a knee jerk reaction.
Habits form in the brain as neuronal patterns. This grooved in process allows for someone to easily perform actions on autopilot. When dealing with misunderstandings and conflict with another person, this is not a good thing. Being fully present to the situation can make a big difference in moving through or preventing upsets.
2. Stop Making Up Stories
Be curious, not judgmental. Deal with the what’s so. Hear the purity of the words and see the true actions. It is easy to color a situation with personal experiences and beliefs that likely do not match the person you are engaging with.
Inaccurate interpretations muddy up the experience. When in those uncomfortable places, look at the problems or conflict from a different perspective, keep them distinct and separate from the person.
3. Straight Talk
Communicate with transparency. Ask questions to get clarity. Be authentic. Devoting energy in an attempt to control how another will respond or feel only brings additional clutter to the interaction. Your vulnerability can free up another to reciprocate.
Follow the Golden Rule: treat others the way you desire to be treated. Honor your word. Your higher self is talking… are you listening?
We’re all human for Pete’s sake! Practice forgiveness of others and yourself. Having gratitude for the goodness in your life rather than focusing on what’s not working is the experience of forgiveness. View the situation and engage with another from a place of love.
Now you have an idea—beyond survival mode—of what it truly means to be in relationship.
These practices in acute self-awareness lead to a new level of being with others. As individuals experience this awakening, through these simple practices, there is no longer the need to abstain from being in relationships. Fears are released and empowerment flows freely that then extends to the evolution of society. By creating flourishing relationships, we positively transform every social structure on the planet.