The defining aspects of relationships are becoming frequently overlooked or forgotten. I have even fallen prey to this thus impacting the things that I enjoy most, to include writing. What I wished I had realized sooner is that in order for us to be in a healthy relationship we must first have the same with ourselves.
There are many different types of relationships, but here I will be talking primarily about committed relationships with your significant other. Whether you are only dating, have been in a committed relationship for a considerable amount of time, or if you are even married, this is what I will be talking about today.
I honestly did not know what having a relationship actually meant. Before, I saw it as companionship. Having someone to go through life together with and be able to share the fun with. This was supported by my perceptions of relationships when I first began learning about them in high school. My how naïve I was.
When I was in high school, everyone was getting into relationships. You weren’t technically someone unless you had a boyfriend/girlfriend, were going on dates and double dates, attending all the dances, holding hands in the hallway, and making out in the secluded corners of the school. It was yet another social convention that you had to buy into and conform with. Coupled with everyone being horny teenagers, you can see just how misguided this sort of mindset is. I grew up seeing that in order to actually be someone, you had to be in a relationship with someone else first.
Is this a Western problem? I don’t think it is that exclusive. Yes, I have met my fair share of people who had a better committed relationship in high school than the majority of adults out there today. Hell, even I can be placed into that category as well. Throughout my travels and all the people I have met there seems to be a growing impetus for discovery of someone else instead of the discovery of self. Maybe its in our genes, but I’m no geneticist.
Last night, before going to bed, I asked myself: “If I were someone else, would I want to be in a relationship with me?” My answer was a very resounding “No.” I don’t know what I want, where I am going necessarily, or who I really am for starters. All of these are self-awareness items that I would expect someone else to have pretty well figured out before being involved with them. The thing is though is that there is no expectation or emphasis placed on expecting the very same from ourselves. Hence, this is my current homework as of late…
Self-realization and actualization, I feel, needs to be more strongly emphasized over the pursuits of what you can offer to someone else. Granted, there always needs to be a balance but how can we give our best to someone else when we don’t have a grasp on ourselves in the first place? As contradictory as it may sound, the first step to any relationship is to have a relationship with yourself first.