Relationships: Reality – or Stories We Tell Ourselves?

Relationships: Reality – or Stories We Tell Ourselves?

We welcome Steve for the first time as host at Life, for instance! He, too, generously offered to start the conversation while I’m away for a bit and what a conversation he’s starting!  Steve , who blogs over here, recently made a comment at one of the LFI Hangouts which I felt was so profound I asked him to write about it. That comment became the title of this post. Take it away Steve!

Have you ever looked at someone you loved and thought, Who are you?!? I certainly have. (And if you have ever parented a teen–or been a teen, you have too!)

What is it that causes us to invest so much time and energy into a relationship with someone and then end up in a place in which we feel that we don’t even know who they really are?

Here are a few observations I have made.

I believe our relationships are based on the story we tell ourselves.  In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Wayne Dyer states that, “Your family relationships are in your mind….your relatives exist as thought in your mind. Whatever power they have, you’ve given to them.”

Our unmet expectations create disappointment and pain. Don Miguel Ruiz gives us powerful insight into how to live comfortably in relationship (and community) in his book The Mastery of Love. In the perfect relationship, he says, “You cannot change other people. You love them the way that they are or you don’t. You accept them the way that they are or you don’t. To try to change them to fit what you want them to be is like trying to change a dog for a cat, or a cat for a horse.”

Think about the points of pain or disappointment in your own relationships. What causes the pain? If you’re honest, you may find that the root cause of the pain is always an unmet expectation–your own or someone else’s.

How can we heal our relationships? Here is some more wonderful insight from “The Mastery of Love”: “They are what they are; you are what you are…just accepting this fact in your relationship with other humans is important.”

As we heal ourselves, our relationships heal. When we return to a state of wholeness, our relationships with others are mended.

The agreements from don Miguel’s The Four Agreements are a tremendous help in healing ourselves, first, and then our wounded relationships.

1. Be impeccable with your word (integrity)
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best

What are the stories you tell about your relationships? What are the unmet expectations you’re willing to release in order to be at peace in your family or community again? What “agreements” have you found to heal and strengthen your relationships?

photo credit: Mike Baird

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