By Dr. Raju Hajela
We all have many people in our lives from the day we are born and until the day we die. We constantly need others to be able to enjoy a great quality of life, as none of us could have manufactured everything we use everyday, nor can we live completely on our own in most circumstances. We spend countless hours everyday interacting with others. However, some of these are very satisfying and meaningful, while others may be frustrating and not so enjoyable. Have you considered that even the ‘not so enjoyable’ interactions are generating feelings that give us information about ourselves?
We all have a concept of who we are and who or what is important to us. It may have gone through changes over the years as circumstances and choices brought new people into our lives while putting others in the past. Often one can be very attached to how life ‘should’ be, so one can get caught up in ‘shoulding’ on oneself and others, while taking on or fighting with ‘shoulding’ by others. Have you honestly considered what are your feelings and what may be projections from others? Relationships require healthy boundaries such that each person is honoured for who they are rather than who you may want them to be. Boundaries are needed when the interactions are consistently problematic, so each can have time and space to work on their own issues. Even in the healthiest of relationships boundaries are essential so one person doesn’t take over another person’s life, which is always a risk in friendships, couple and family relationships.
And then there is the dysfunctional Emotional response… the E of the disease of Addiction, which if one has the disease distorts our feelings, making ‘mountains out of molehills’ or ‘molehills out of mountains’. Figuring out what is real requires reflection, journaling and connecting with people who are on a similar journey of self-exploration and being real rather than trying to live up to some ideal that may be distorted. Being real about all our interactions keeps us ‘authentic’, whereas as ‘shoulding’ on ourselves keeps us in fantasy.
The fundamental and most sacred relationship for each one of us is with ourselves, with meaning and purpose, which relates to our Higher Power and requires trust in the flow of life itself. In this context, others in our life are enhancers and reflections of our connection with our Higher Power. It is all about better connection! So, look around what reflections are appealing or not so much, choose wisely!! and learn from all of them!!!