Being in relation to others is maybe the hardest thing about being human - it also has the potential to be the most beautiful and fulfilling. It is through relationships that we experience the highest highs and the lowest lows especially within the most sacred of relationships - parent and child, life partners, spouses, and close friends. These relationships can flourish or they can die. I believe it’s in the way we choose to relate to our shared experiences that determines how relationships evolve. I’m talking about the experiences we are currently living, the ones we have lived, and the ones we imagine are coming. I believe that we have a bit of a choice in the way our relationships evolve. A choice that has to do with how we relate to our past, engage in the present moment, and what we believe about those walking beside us. A choice based on where we put our focus and what we choose to hold close to our hearts.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath, open a space and then think about this…
I believe that relationships die when we choose to live in a place of lasting pain. I believe that lasting pain is perpetuated through the repetition or reliving of memories and stories that we tell ourselves. This constant revisiting of painful moments is a choice. A choice that for some reason we humans can’t seem to avoid. We find it necessary to relive our greatest failures or the greatest hurts that we believe others have visited upon us. It’s a little bit like pushing on a bruise over and over just to see if it’s still there and if it still hurts. This allows us to be victims. It allows us to not take responsibility for how we treat others and it allows us to dishonor our relationships. It allows us to rationalize the anger, hate, and hurt that we put out into the world. In other words - reliving past pain means we are keeping it alive and creating new pain each and every day.
I believe we can choose a different path - a path away from lasting pain towards lasting love. It’s a path rooted in acceptance and forgiveness. It’s about accepting what was and what is without passing judgement. It’s also about accepting those that walk beside us as whole human beings. Whole people made up of light and dark, strong and weak, beautiful and terrifying. What if we could accept ourselves and others as imperfect? What if we could accept that we each have our own issues, demons, and things that have shaped our souls? I think that it’s an amazing gift that we can live through each others great glories and great failures. I think it’s important to openly witness the good and the bad in each other. This witnessing without judgement is simply a lesson in what it means to be human. It allows us to understand that life is not about being perfect just as it is not about being imperfect. It is about not losing hope or faith in ourselves and each other when we are not our best selves. It is about acceptance. It is about forgiveness. It is about hope.
What if we stop counting the wrongs and start counting the rights? What if we stop reliving every rough moment that has popped up in this life? What if we stop pointing out each others greatest failures? What if we stop being afraid of each others dark? What if we stop looking backwards and projecting our fear into the future? I believe we can choose to not judge each others dark moments or perceived failures. I believe we can choose to honor our strengths and our light and to do the same for those around us. I believe we can choose to believe that each of us is trying our best. I believe that we can choose to forgive and embrace ourselves and those around us.
I believe all of this takes great courage. The courage to love ourselves as whole people and the courage to love those around us as whole people. I think each of us can choose to see, accept and love through whatever arises. Please understand that I am not saying we should allow others to mistreat us but I do believe we can face these challenges with compassion. I think we can choose what is healthy for ourselves without placing judgement, shaming, or becoming self righteousness. We are each no better or worse - more right or wrong than the person walking beside us. In each moment we are each simply choosing to “see, acknowledge, and forgive” or to “see, judge, and hate”. We each have a choice whether we come into relationship from a place of grace and love or a place of anger and hate. In every moment and in every interaction we have a choice.
I believe that in order to be fully alive we have to experience all that life has to offer. I think that our most joyful moments are as important as our most painful. It is how we learn and grow. It is how we break open so that we can experience life more fully - so that we can evolve. I believe we all need to work hard to stay in the present moment and not journey backwards into our pain and not project fear about the future. I believe we can all choose compassion, forgiveness, and love. I believe we can end our cycles of pain if we so choose. What will you choose?