Last night, after the thrilling conclusion to an exciting Super Bowl, a few friends and I congregated in the kitchen and the conversation quickly focused on relationships. Two women, two men. All twenty something years old. Our discussion was comedic, therapeutic, and most importantly informative.
There is restaurant week. There is Broadway week. There is a Islamic Art Week at the Met. So this week will be “Relationship Week.” While Snoop Dog believes that the game is be sold, not told, I will share what I have learned about relationships for free.
Sidenote: Life is a tough teacher because you get the test first, and then the lesson. And trust, I have failed the test and missed the lesson and then failed the same test numerous times.
What qualifies me? Excellent question! I am not an expert. I just told y’all I failed a plethora of tests and missed many lessons. Some might argue that as a single guy, I am not “qualified” to give relationship advice. I agree! I am not here to give advice; this is not an advice column. Rather I would like to engage in a conversation with my readers about relationships. Each day, I will share an idea or thought, and I hope, as with all my writing, to spark a thought. I hope that we can have a discussion in the comment section, but that part is completely controlled by you all, the readers. On Friday, I would like my post my answers to a few questions from readers that I (hopefully) receive during “Relationship Week”
Your Relationship With You
The most important relationship that you will ever have in your life is the one that you have with yourself. Yes, your relationship with your spouse or partner, your parent(s), your friends and family are important, but they all pale in comparison to the one that you have with yourself. Aside from being the most important, the relationship you have with yourself is also the most difficult. When I look in the mirror, I have a difficult time looking at myself without finding some thing “wrong” with my body or some thing I would change. I struggle with self-acceptance. I lie to myself. I criticize myself relentlessly. All of that activity involves me. I constantly and consistently work to improve my relationship with me everyday; I am learning how to love myself daily.
Thus, when you enter a relationship with someone else, there are actually three relationships happening simultaneously: the one you have with yourself, the one your partner has with himself/herself, and then the one that you two are trying to forge with each other. I already have a hard time managing my relationship, and then I complicate it even more with a new relationship with someone who is already involved in their own, more than likely difficult, relationship. And the interesting (and sometimes frustrating) part about that relationship is that I am not privy to its ups and downs, unless it spills over into our relationship, which often has a negative affect.
Of these three relationships, the only one that you have total control over is the one that you have with you. Last night, my friend quipped that her relationship life was in shambles. And I seemingly cold-hardheartedly stated that I felt no sympathy for her because she is ultimately in control of her life; I do not believe that one should look to others to make one happy. Your happiness is dependent on you!
People mistakenly think that they can change their partner. I can change him. You can’t! That person will not change, until that person wants to change and decides on their own to change.
People mistakenly think that they can control the relationship. You can’t! That relationship is the product of you both.
As a result, I am a firm believer that if you want to have a healthy relationship with someone else, you first have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Before anyone can like or love you, you have to like and love yourself. I have learned that people treat you the way that they witness you treat yourself.
Do you agree? Are relationships manifestations of your relationship with you? Do you like/love you? If not, what are you doing to do so?