Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Should-less Relationships Principle #3: Responsibility

Should-less relationships encourage responsibility for one’s own wellness.

Think about all the reasons you have for getting involved with another person. Is it for safety? Security? Stability? To avoid loneliness? To avoid emptiness? Have you ever stayed with someone simply because the relationship itself had become a habit?

If you answered “yes,” or even “maybe,” to any of these questions then fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Because anytime, yes anytime, you are using another human being to make you feel something or give you something you think you don’t already have, then you are setting yourself up for a roller coaster of emotional turmoil, stress, resentment, and most likely emptiness.

Now before you push the "x" button on this page, please consider the following. As long as you tell yourself that your needs “should” be met by another person, you are giving someone else complete control of your emotional state. I am inviting you now to simply take a look at the active role you are playing in the story of your suffering, and encouraging you to assume more ownership in this process.

In order to this, we must first acknowledge a fundamental idea that runs consistently in nearly every book, movie, song, or even fairy tale about love and romance. It states, “I am not enough alone. Another person should come into my life and make me whole. Another person should meet my needs.” Sound familiar? Most of us in American society have been directly and indirectly inundated with this message. It goes as far back to the idea of Romeo & Juliet's tragic love story, Snow White waiting for the prince to wake her up, to Renee Zelwigger telling Tom Cruise, “You complete me,” to nearly any movie playing now or song you’ll hear on the radio. If you have ever believed you are not enough and need to be “completed” by another person, then you have been bought and sold a bill of goods by the corporate media.

Why would they do this? Why would someone knowingly make you believe something that is bound to lead to suffering, disappointment, or heart ache? Because they know you will buy things when you feel bad about yourself. If I’m trying to sell a movie script which will give single people hope, then I damn well better make sure that there are a lot of miserable single people out there who need hope. I’ll do everything in my power to make single people feel less than or inadequate in order to get to them to spend their good money to see my movie. Given this context, it makes perfect sense that you or I or that person next to you are all saying, “Other people should meet my needs.”

What follows, then, is a natural tendency to blame others for the way you feel. After all, if other people are here to meet your needs, and they’re failing to do that, then they deserve to be blamed, shamed, maimed, or whatever it takes for them to fall in line and get busy attending to your mood state, right?

The good news, it simply doesn’t have to be that way. There are much easier ways to be in relationships with others. By taking responsibility for your own needs, for your own moods, for your own sense of purpose and wellness, you are opening the door to experiencing all kinds of wonderful connections with others. When you approach other people from a place of fullness, instead of emptiness, you will find that spending quality time with others will result in much more fun, joy, and peace.

People in should-less relationships do not meet each other’s needs, they expand upon what is already there. Individuals enter into this relationship realizing they already are lovable, stable, adequate, and deserving. Other people may help to increase these qualities, but they do not fill them or make them true. Or to put it another way, people in should-less relationships don’t wait to be brought flowers, they bring their own. If someone else offers them, then that’s great, there are more flowers in the room! But either way, each member takes responsibility for their own garden with or without the contributions of the other.


Anonymous said...

" then you had better learn some ways to accept other humans for who they are, versus who you want them to be." Sounds like "should" to me here Damon. I'm beginning go get the sense you are becoming a victim of your own BS.

Damon L. Jacobs said...

Well thank you Anon! I do, in fact, believe my own BS. If that makes me a victim, then I'm one happy victim!

But your point about using "you had better..." is well taken. I appreciate you pointing that out to me.