How well we relate with ourselves dictates, to a large degree, how well we relate with another and others. It is not difficult, therefore, to conceptualise, that, in knowing others, we must know, appreciate, and more fully accept ourselves.
This is both a lifelong and ongoing task. Even those very-well-adjusted types have a significant task. Nobody is naturally gifted to the extent they need do no work.
The World Is Smaller Than We Think
Beginning from within, our worlds emerge. All our thoughts and therefore our perceptions flower from the landscape that lies, and is nurtured, within. Much of this is implicit in who we are.
As is implied from above, rather than thinking we need to change our worldview in order to fit in with the world, our task is more about accepting our worldview. To do this we must know it—and appreciate it. The development of our worldview has been one of the major tasks of our lives—the forming of our identities. Just as it is easy to accept our good parts, we are challenged now to acknowledge and accept our not-so-good parts. Our worldview is the sum of us—how we see the world. To a vast degree this can’t be changed, but it can be redirected if need be.
Only as we accept our worldviews can we begin to explore healthy relationships.
Again, this is opposite to how we think. We think to relate better we need to change ourselves. And to a minor degree we will need to challenge ourselves in these ways. Instead of changing holus bolus, however, we are to accept ourselves. We relieve all our self-imposed pressures as much as we are able. Then we find we are fit for relationships of all kinds; we become better listeners and we appreciate and accept others.
Only when we know, appreciate, and accept ourselves will we come to know, appreciate, and accept others. Why is it we hate some others? We hate ourselves. Why is it that some aspects of people irritate us? There are some allied aspects of us that we find equally irritable. When we focus on friending others, getting past our biases, we inevitably friend ourselves. There is, as a result, less inner conflict to deal with. The biggest barrier we have in relating with others is the barrier we have in relating with ourselves.
Relationships with others are more interdependent on our relationship with ourselves than we initially thought.
Constructing a Larger, Relational World
Plunging into the deep end of life is about fully investing in our relationships.
As an allusion to the broader world, then, it is firstly about us with ourselves. Constructing a larger, relational world, having plumbed the depths from within, we are better positioned for life. The success of our lives is not about money nor possessions, but relationships. Relationships give us the biggest reward.
Because we have worked from within, and we are committed to continuing the work, our relationships have a more confident basis. We feel more self-assured. We feel less afraid in sticky relational contexts.
As a direct result of feeling more confident and self-assured we free others up to be more confident and self-assured. When we are more ourselves we allow others to be more themselves.
Relationships with others begin from within. If we would seek to love another we must first seek to love ourselves. When we accept ourselves, and we can access freedom from self-imposed pressure and self-condemnation, we more easily accept others.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.