Friday, February 22, 2013
RELATIONSHIPS: DO WE KNOW WHEN IT'S REAL?
What’s all of this talk about “real” relationships? As women, we tend to spend a great deal of time on this subject. We measure potential mates against the standard of what we have determined a real relationship to be, and we are quick to express our frustration at the fact that there seems to be a shortage of potential suitors that meet our qualifications. Most of us are certain that we know what a real relationship is, but do we really? We might be a little confused. Or slightly misguided, maybe.
Perhaps our biggest error is buying into the notion that such a thing actually exists. For the most part, our perception of what constitutes a “real” relationship is determined by some arbitrary list of standards that generally includes, at a minimum, “quality”, intention, reciprocity, stability and feelings of unconditional love and emotional security. But what if those things, when they show up, are merely by-products of, and not the purpose of the relationship? And what if that seemingly pervasive sense of frustration that we are experiencing on the relationship front isn’t really about the so-called quality of the people we meet, the much talked about shortage of “good” men, or even the result of a bad economy? What if the issue isn’t about anything external to us? What if our frustration is solely a result of our own unmanaged expectations and belief in fairytales?
I am not suggesting that we should not desire kindness, support, consideration and warm, fuzzy feelings from our relationships, but when we focus only on the by-products, we miss the purpose. Somewhere, somehow, many of us got lost in the story that a “real” relationship, as we have come to define it, is not only a goal, but a requirement. Anything less is considered to be settling; and we may even sexy that up by calling it “compromise.” But whatever we choose to call it, there appears to be an underlying belief that we are missing out on something that we are entitled to. It is that belief that prevents us from taking our relationship experiences as they come and limits our ability to learn and grow from them.
The simple truth is that ALL relationships are “real” relationships. And all relationships, whether we determine them to be good or bad, provide an opportunity for us to be greater. They provide insight into our very being and are merely the mirrors that reflect on us our own majesty, as well as our own fears and insecurities. Our relationships can be no better or worse that who we are choosing to be at any given time. You can’t get any more real than that.