Love Letters to Humans (no. 82)

Right relationship is a practice. How do you choose to regard and speak to yourself and others when you’re uncertain, afraid, uncomfortable, or not getting what you want?

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the relational fuckeries of Attack, Defend, Avoid, and Control. These are go-to strategies we tend to use when we feel powerless and want to win our relationships instead of cultivate them. They are strategies for trying to hide our vulnerability, avoiding our feelings and responsibility, and distancing ourselves from other people—but not in that important #FlattenTheCurve kind of way.

Over the past few days (okay, yesterday afternoon 😬) I’ve noticed myself falling into old, habitual patterns of reaching for accusation, manipulation, blame, nagging, I’m right/you’re wrong, interruption, and a general failure to listen to, be present with, appreciate, and cherish myself and people who are important to me. When I do these things I can feel both my integrity & my relationships eroding, and it has ultimately never gotten me what I was hoping for.

I don’t take inventory of my own relational fuckery to punish or diminish myself. I reflect to recognize that in my more graceless moments, I have needs that are not being met, and to remind myself that my needs are worthy of regard… and so are others’.

We cannot meet others with care, safety, patience, and nourishment that are not available to us (or that we are denying ourselves). For me, failing to practice right relationship this week is information that some part of me needs care, safety, patience, or nourishment—from within or without—and I have a choice about how I go after getting my needs met.

In my fear, uncertainty, urgency, and discomfort I can judge and do the familiar things I have learned to do—Attack, Defend, Avoid, Control—or I can make a different choice to Witness, Inquire, Presence, and Regard myself and the humans (and other beings) with whom I am in relationship.

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What are these uncertain times showing you about the familiar relational strategies you use to get your needs met? How can you practice right relationship to create more care, safety, and nourishment for yourself and others?

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Relationship is. Right relationship nourishes.