The relationships that we have with other people… and ourselves
There are countless types of relationships in this world.
Some come and go and others may stick around for a long time (if we are lucky enough!)
A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted the above image on Instagram and I instantly loved it. In fact I could not think of a more concise or eloquent way to describe exactly how I view relationships, all of them.
It feels as if I have spent years and years analyzing the relationships that we have.
How they come about.
How they change.
How age affects them.
The immense power that they have over us.
Their incredible possibilities.
It wasn’t until later in life than most, that I discovered real friendship. The kind that allows you to feel lifted, supported, guided, loved and cared for. I am forever thankful to have found it and to those of you who have provided it to me, ever grateful and humble.
Romantic relationships found me much easier and earlier in life, even if sometimes one-sided J
Up, down and inside out; there are not many types of relationships I have not experienced. Sometimes this has led to immense pain and suffering as is life. This is romance, friendship, growing up, learning and so on….
As I write this post, my inspiration is kicked up a gear.
In front of me, no more than 5 metres away is a boyfriend from the past. Not just any boyfriend though someone that ripped my soul to shreds. I have no interest in dwelling on this person or our past together other than to say that this is surely some kind of divine intervention.
Sitting here in a hidden away cliff-side bar in the indescribably beautiful Greek Island of Santorini and there he is!
My blog post topics and contents write themselves in many ways though this subject is so huge that I had a little trouble knowing what in fact to discuss…
Though seeing this person in front of me after so many years, someone that had been violent, aggressive, intimidating and changed me forever, I knew exactly what I needed to write.
It was cosmic.
‘Be the one to guide me but never hold me down.’
I strongly believe that this attitude is crucial for all relationships that we have in life.
That those around us, in whatever capacity, should proffer this exact sentiment, as we should for them.
These kinds of relationships are simply wonderful.
The individual is allowed to grow into who they wish, to be themselves, feel supported and loved.
In turn, receiving this treatment makes them better friends, lovers, children, parents and so on…
What a wonderful world!
In late 2008 I realized that I had spent far too long doing a few things…
- Not being myself
- Not growing or developing
- Absorbing and concerning myself with my partner’s needs
- Spending time with people who didn’t make me happy
At the end of that same year I failed to recognise who I was and felt so far from who I wished to be.
Change was required.
Initially I stopped dating and as a single person who liked to go out, this was fairly significant.
Little by little I spent more elective time alone (living alone assisted in this).
The last step was by far the most crucial…
I stopped spending time with those in my world who did not make me happy.
No judgement on the “why” or attempts to correct the relationship. I simply ignored it, no calling or texting or plans to hang out.
This became all-powerful in my life and absolutely empowered me.
From a dating perspective, when I did get back out there, I started to apply this same philosophy when I met someone.
Firstly I was able to make prompt decisions removing all emotional dysfunction that had previously existed in such decision-making as well as viewing the process in a new light.
In all other facets I felt my confidence growing and the contentment within myself was palpable.
My incredible mother used to tell me that if you can count your friends on one hand you are very lucky.
During 2009 this became more clear to me… I had less people in my life than ever before though I had never been happier. Each relationship fit one very simple philosophy, they made me happy.
So the years continue and evolution follows (we hope).
Many would say that to love another, we must first love ourselves. This I wholeheartedly agree with.
Once I decided that my thoughts, feelings, wants and needs were always important to listen to I became a better human being.
For those among us who look after other people in their lives all the time this concept may initially appear selfish and impossible.
Look again, I promise this is not the case.
Make yourself happy, grow and develop and then you can be the best YOU who can both love and be loved.
Removing the dramatic and over-heightened emotion that so many relationships are fraught with; including the one that we have with ourselves.
We can each derive so much from relationships and I truly feel that it is what life is all about. Happy and healthy people enjoying happy and healthy relationships.
So back in Santorini and seated on my left enjoying a beer and shooting local personalities with his professional camera was Tippy.
Incredible, kind, generous, fun, trusting, loving, supportive in all situations, calm and very handsome…
We have grown independently and together over the past 4 years.
Our story has not always been a fairytale though romantic and meaningful all the same.
In 2009, having started to fully embrace the self-love philosophy, a committed relationship seemed like the wrong choice for me.
In part I was right.
More solid “me” time was needed and WANTED.
So I had it.
Supported, loved and guided the whole way, just as I am today.
Without giving away who I was, am or want to be.
Without sacrificing the life I dream of.
That dream has him right by my side.
Supporting each other and having a ball.
Next week Tippy and I head home and look forward to celebrating our recent engagement with our loved ones. What used to feel like a step that “other people” took now feels like the most normal, natural and awesome thing to do.
I am a better person because of the people in my life and I think that is pretty damn cool.
Love yourself first. No judgement. Just give it a try.