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Building Relationships

Image courtesy: Gran Via : The Notebook

It’s the Petty Cruelties

This endless lock down has caused many of us to look within, not just at ourselves, but also at our closest relationships. It’s funny how we are getting so much more aware and woke in our worldly transactions, at work, but our personal lives are just something we take for granted.

We often have a completely different set of standards for the world around us, and a different one for those at home, including ourselves. some years ago there was a Time magazine article on marriages (unfortunately I couldn’t find the particular one I was looking for – although TIME does write a lot about relationships, I discovered!).

The author spoke of the conflicting needs of the need to create Intimacy, by showing our vulnerability to our partner, versus the familiarity that this creates. And you know what they say about familiarity, right? It breeds contempt, but it also creates a neural blindness almost. It becomes hard for us to really “see“ that which is predictable, given that our brain would rather focus on salience – that which it considers novel, what it considers important, or a threat.

And so we tend to almost operate on autopilot in the familiar. The rules that we made about ourselves, the script that we gave ourselves, so to speak, that might have been created in childhood or in adolescence is what we continue to tell ourselves and the world. You share this in the labels that you use to describe yourself and your habits. “I don’t do breakfast.“ “I don’t open up easily.“ “I am very goal oriented.“

While such statements seem necessary for us to know how to transact in the world, it might be worth examining some of these to see where they come up for us and if they continue to serve us. Much about our discontent comes from the conflicting needs of the child within us, our natural personality, and the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ that we have imposed on ourselves and on those in our sphere of influence – or perceived influence at least!

And so we find ourselves and our loved ones constantly not “being up to the mark“ and we treat ourselves and them with disdain, expressions of disappointment, anger, or even, arguably, the deadliest poison of them all - silence (stonewalling).

A client, when describing the words she used with loved ones, used the phrase “It’s the petty cruelties“ that we inflict. We often don’t even realize we are doing it, but each one of these words is a drop of acid that corrodes and eventually cracks our self-worth, our relationships, and the well-being of the people we hold dearest to us. And I hope we count ourselves among those.

I invite you today to pause and reflect on some of these words that we might be using – those little drops of acid that might slowly be causing us and those familiar to us, to fragment, to wither, and to eventually die.

Awareness is the first step towards conscious and compassionate living. And the person most deserving of it is you. Because you’re worth it! ♥️


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