We can learn a great deal about ourselves through the reflections provided in all our relationships because as we express in whatever way we do, other people respond, react or do nothing and that gives us an opportunity to reflect on what and how we just expressed as well as observing our follow-up reaction, if there is any.
For example, if we get a reaction of stubborn silence, it increases our frustration levels but we need to understand what is going on for the other person, be they teenage son or daughter, lifetime partner, friend or work colleague, we can feel into why they are being so stubborn. We can choose to explore what is it about our expression that they have reacted to.
Was our voice laced with judgement?
Did we speak in a way that dishonoured them?
Is there something going on for them that we have ignored?
We have a tendency to judge other people because they are not like us; they do not think like us, and we forget that what is important to us may be of no consequence to them. That can be both incomprehensible and frustrating.
We want control, especially in terms of timing, wanting something done NOW and they may not feel like doing it just yet… or at all.
We can be abusive when we judge others, and that harms everybody including ourselves. If we can develop our sensitivity, develop appreciation in all our relationships, that helps to remove any judgement and opens us up to making beautiful connections with everyone regardless of who they are.
This means that our first relationship is with ourselves, understanding who we are and why we react in certain situations.
Have you ever noticed how someone speaks to you in exactly the same way your mother or father or teacher did? Life keeps presenting us with these reflections over and over again until we get it. Wherever we move to in the world, issues we had with neighbours, work colleagues, and family re-create themselves in our relationships in the new location.
• A parent who ‘never listened to us’ can set us up with a pattern of feeling unloved, so when our partner or boss doesn’t listen to us, we feel the same hurt.
• Childhood arguments with our siblings get recreated amongst close work colleagues
• We tried to please our parents by changing our behaviour (being ‘good’) and this pattern repeats with friends, work colleagues and partners. We are not being truly ourselves so it does not bring any satisfaction or fulfillment, and we are disappointed when we are not fully appreciated.
Relationships give us an opportunity to truly evolve as we learn and grow with other people. Everywhere we go there are other people and that means we have lots of different encounters, and they are all ‘relationships’. The trick for us is to be consistently open, appreciative and non-judgemental with everybody, bringing the same quality of being to everyone we meet, whether family, work colleague, friend or stranger.