Relationships are funny things. The older I get, the more complicated they seem to become. Especially when it comes to dating.
Relationships, like plants, given too much or too little attention can end in disaster. Plants will get crowded out by weeds, can drown if you pour too much water on them, or can shrivel and die under intense sun. Similarly, we all need to pay attention to our relationships, working to balance the health of the soil that acts as a foundation for roots, to give them warmth and sun, adequate water, and to make sure we allow them the conditions to grow and flourish.
Our relationships will also flourish if given the space and conditions needed to grow. At the end of the day, whether we’re growing plants or working to grow relationships – it should not be that complicated. We overcomplicate things with a notion of what we believe should be, putting blinders on to what actually is and accounting for the true feelings and desires of others.
If we all spent more time trying to truly understand one another – the individual journeys we’ve each walked down, the trials, the tribulations, the victories, the joy, the pain and the sorrow – I think everyone would find a bit more compassion for their fellow human beings and our relationships would grow stronger.
But, that’s a bit of the problem – fellow human beings. We’re not actually human beings anymore, we’re humans doing. And we’re focused on ourselves instead of others. Filling our days with emails, phone calls, social media, meetings, swinging hammers, drawing up plans, working to execute goals and build new things. We’re so busy doing – we’ve lost a bit of our ability to be.
Unfortunately, this human doing mentality is compounding into our relationships. We seem to live in a world where people are so busy doing, they don’t have time for deep relationships. And inconvenient relationships seem to be highly dispensable. I have been reminded of this time and again in the past year in the dating world. Ghosting is the normal, people aggressively enter your life, and then instantly disappear. Love and deep connection is expected to happen instantaneously and when that magical spark and fairyland dust doesn’t fall upon you in the first few minutes or days then it’s time to move on. There is always someone else, someone new to meet and spend time with. A new person to fill our evenings and weekends with, the next person to meet fall into lust for a few weeks then decide they’re not perfect for you and leave.
This is the danger of tribes and looking for only those who ‘fit’ in your picture of your life. “Find your tribe, love them hard.” Has been a popular millennial mantra for the past five or so years but I think this sort of thinking has damaged our culture and we’re seeing this play out in a major way with our government, communities, and individual relationships (both romantic and non-romantic).
It’s quite sad really. The more people pull only toward those that fit their way of thinking and way of life, the more distance that is driven between these tribes. In reality, we no longer live in the age where you needed a tribe to keep you alive – but somehow that tribe mentality seems to continue to grow like a weed choking out our relationships before they have a chance to flourish. While we evolved past the true need for tribes long ago, as technology continues to ‘progress forward’ we’ve begun to fall backward as human beings.
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As I continue to think about the topics above and other struggles in our world today, I know that I am not free of guilt. There have been times when I have judged quickly and made snap decisions that I later regretted. I am a very imperfect human being (in fact I’m very guilty of being a human doing…).
I continue to work to be mindful of who and what I encounter in this world and my corresponding reactions. Am I making snap decisions or judgements? Am I having conversations that need to be had? Am I treating others as they want to be treated?
I could go on, but I am going to stop my thoughts here (for now). There is much to think about, reflect on, and write about with relationships. There is nothing else in this world that can bring more value and belonging to ones life, and nothing else that can cause so much hurt and suffering in this world than how we are in relation to one another.