How do we relate?

Relationships: the place where some of the biggest issues of life lie.

How to relate to others, how to be independent from others, how to give them the right space in our life, how to avoid making them our coping strategy, how to detach the image we have of ourselves from the one others have of us (assuming that we can ever know what that is), how to distinguish love from need, from symbiosis, from dependency, how to grow with relationships instead than making them an excuse to stay the same, how to feel strong and in control when that is often not attainable in relationships that engage us emotionally, how to find the right amount of vulnerability and closeness, how to stay true to ourselves while accepting not everybody – or worse, the person we love – might like that person, how to see the other person as he or she really is, even when that is harder to accept, how to undress others, as much as possible, of our projections, how to become better at how we relate to them.

We have seen all of these issues, and had a chance to see how common it is to feel this way. Hopefully, confronting ourselves with such questions has made us realise how everybody ends up feeling incredibly vulnerable and scared in relationships, and how tough it is to engage in them, but also to live without them. 

Balance, as usual, is key. We cannot live completely dependent on someone else, but we cannot even live totally isolated from others. 

So how do we find this balance? First of all, by knowing ourselves. Because that tells us what we are sensitive to, what we seek in others, and this can help us recognise triggers. 

Much of this stems from the level of proximity and trust we are able to experience in our first years of life, something described in the attachment theory.

Take a moment to reflect: which patterns came up over and over in relating to significant people in your life?

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