We are born into relationship…
We are born into relationship. How does this inform our lives day to day? Through how we feel about ourselves, through how we feel about others and importantly through how we relate to others.
Our first relationship
From our very beginning we are in relationship, we are dependent on the care and nurture of a caregiver. We integrate our beginning of life into our body; we may have no conscious memory of it, yet it is imprinted within us, as we have experienced it. Think about it, when we are born we are entirely dependent on other people to mind us, take care of us, help us grow.
All of our experiences inform how we are in the world today and every day. Each one is added to the one before and the layers continually bind together. The care we receive as children forms the template for how we care for ourselves as adults and the relationships we have with other adults. We absorb how we were cared for; whether we got the message that we mattered enough to care for.
What care did we receive as children? Was it sufficient, was it lacking? How we are as adults in relationship is informed by how we were regarded as children in relationship.
When I was hurt did someone mind me? When I went looking for care did I receive it? Were my needs met or did someone else’s need matter more?
These are questions that may range from easy to difficult to answer; they are worth asking, as they open the door to a relationship with ourselves.
Relationship with ourselves
Do I believe I matter enough to take care of myself? Do I ever take time, to spend time with my thoughts, my feelings, sensations in my body?
Do I treat myself with kindness and compassion? Can I soothe myself when I am upset, do I look for help when I am in need?
When we are born we embark on a lifelong journey with ourselves. Understanding how we are in any given moment, in any given situation, allows us to fully participate in what we are experiencing. We learn that we have choices, that we don’t have to base decisions or thoughts based on what we feel other people may want us to do or think.
Do we ever stop to look at how we are in relation to ourselves or those around us? Because our relationship with ourselves is fundamental to our other relationships.
Relationships with others
We are social beings, it is how we survive at a very fundamental, deep and practical level. We need one another to help us make sense of the world around us.
Through the awareness of how I relate to others, I can add to the understanding of myself. Do I have mutually satisfying, caring relationships with another/others? Can I be vulnerable with another person and feel I will be okay?
Our relationships with others give us a sense of belonging, a connection to what it is we all share- being human. We have the opportunity in relationship to being seen and met and seen as ourselves. If I only see myself through someone else’s eyes, through how I feel others may perceive me; then I am out of relationship with myself and cannot be truly seen. This then, comes back to earlier, the necessity to have a relationship with myself so I can have fulfilling relationships with others.
The place where the personal and interpersonal meet is a crossroads for us all. Where they intersect is a crucial junction in our lives. Ideally we allow them both, the personal and interpersonal, space to interact, converge and then part, only to meet again.