“When life gives you people around you, make relationships with them.” -Unknown
When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a very good friend. Her name was Kara (name changed).
I used to call her to meet in a restaurant.
In our first few meetings we became pretty close and I felt, probably we both, that we were moving in a different direction of our friendship.
Good friendship easily turns into dating if chemistry and life philosophy match each other’s internal calibration.
I remember, it was our 4th or 5th meeting. All of the sudden she questioned me about what we talk about in a restaurant?
How do we share our thoughts and experiences while talking in a restaurant?
She said life is natural, isn’t it a good idea to test it upon our natural flow?
I became speechless, I couldn’t understand what she meant?
I still remember at one point, she proposed to me to meet in a small grocery store.
She said that we can share and exchange a lot of things on the aisle of the grocery store rather than sitting in the corner of the restaurant.
I wondered at that moment what kind of girl she was who preferred to meet in the grocery store instead of a cozy restaurant.
How many of us prefer a grocery store instead of a restaurant for dating?
After that meeting she called me once but I never responded.
Now I’m mature, I laugh at myself remembering that moment.
Even though she was a few years younger than me at that time, she still showed a deeper understanding of the essence of a relationship.
I know now, but I didn’t know then.
I think I was definitely immature and superficial in my thoughts to build a relationship.
I now know perfection, sound judgment, and proper understanding never comes only with age in our lives.
Josh Waitzkin was only 9 years old when he won his first national championship in chess.
How come he became such a good player in such a thoughtful game like chess at such a young age?
Well, I guess, it all depends upon how we train our mind and see things in our lives irrespective of ages.
In today’s technologically driven time, at the highest levels of any kind of relationship, everyone is great no matter the age or maturity.
At this point the decisive factor is rarely who knows more about the relationship, but who dictates the tone of the relationship.
The flow of life, actually, is just a relationship and its understanding how it carries us within it.
Relationship to girlfriend or boyfriend, relationship to spouse, relationship to parents, relationship to siblings, relationship to kids, relationship to neighbors, relationship to boss, and relationship to colleagues in office, and so many others.
How we understand these relationships is very complicated and complex but if we try to understand each one from scratch without any superiority and ego in our mind, each can be very simple too.
Emotions like superiority and ego stopped me from responding to Kara after her offer to meet me in a grocery store.
Any kind of excellent relationship remains sustainable only if there is no judgment for the other party.
I remember, once one of my students told me he grew up all his childhood at daycare center.
From the age 1 to 5, he doesn’t remember anything but he remembers every detail of what happened when their parents dropped off and picked him up.
This clearly indicated to me that his real relationship was only with his parents.
I guess there is a fundamental eternity in how we should enrich our relationship as parents to our kids.
Few days ago I met my friend Nick who works in our department.
I saw that he was very impatient.
He was standing in line at the food buffet with his wife.
He had a project to finish as he said but that tension was not away on the buffet line.
He was in discomfort even though he was with his wife and gathering with other people.
This still counts how we have nourished our relationship, it may be with people or with occupation or with other situations in life.
It’s so interesting to learn about people’s relationships when they are in various moments.
I see people show so many different behaviors when sudden discomfort bombards them.
When people encounter unexpected rain, what do they do?
Many will run with their hands over their heads.
Very few will smile and enjoy the wet clothes.
Some will smile and take deep breaths and walk.
People’s reactions to surprises show their character and their preparation for controlling discomforts.
Our relationship with comfort, with discomfort, and with people around us fall in the same bucket.
I think the understanding of a relationship in life is like existing on a balance beam.
Our relationships grow in the same way as our life builds up from a child to adult stage in our lives.
As a child, there is no fear, no sense for the danger of falling.
The beam feels so wide and stable, and natural flow allows for creative steps and fast learning and adaptation.
Children can run around doing somersaults and flips, always experimenting themselves with a desire for innovation and new challenges.
If they happen to fall off-no problem, they just get back on.
But then, as we get older, we become more aware of the risk of accidents and injury.
We might crack our hands or twist our legs.
The beam becomes so narrow and we have to stay up there.
Sudden plunging off would be humiliating for adults but not for children.
As I said before, as an adult, when she offered to meet me in the grocery store, I simply judged her and stopped any new discoveries and challenges inside me to nurture our budding relationship.
I became totally egoistic.
Do you know why older people don’t learn from young people?
Because of ego.
As a consequence, our growing relationship ended immaturely.
My beam was very narrow, so I couldn’t stay up there.
I didn’t take any test and action for that relationship to grow, I simply ignored it.
What possibly could happen if I would have accepted to meet in the grocery store?
I would definitely learn more of her side and she would learn more of my side.
Tests and actions are needed at any time in our life especially when something is going in the direction of discomfort, crisis, and difficulty.
We can take a lesson from the basketball legend, Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, gave more last minute shots to win the game for his team than any other player in the history of the NBA.
What is also important is that Michael Jordan also missed more last minute shots to lose the game for his team than any other player.
What made him such a vibrant and successful player is not the perfect shots that he delivered but to accept and enjoy the tests, challenges, and actions at times of discomfort.
Remember, depth always beats breadth everywhere in any area.
It applies equally in relationships.
Depth opens a path for the intangible, unconscious, and creative components of our hidden potential.
To look for depth in any relationship is one of the key components of human potential to shine.
If we don’t pick up a friend’s call at 3 am then our friendly relationship with him or her is not deep.
If your children at a time of crisis don’t call you first as a mom or dad then your relationship to your children isn’t deep.
As a parent If we fail to become the most trusted friend for our children then neither we are understanding them nor the relationship.
Over time each relationship loses rigidity, and we become better and better at reading the subtle signs of a quality relationship.
Soon enough, learning becomes unlearning in relationships because each needs space to grow.
The stronger person is often the one who is less attached to a dogmatic interpretation of the relationship principles.
Relationship isn’t a principle, it’s a practice.
Quality relationship requires a lot of intuition within us.
There are a lot of variations of intuition.
Many people used to think that intuition is the hand of God.
Many artists, performers, and scientists often think of intuition as a muse.
Some people, even psychologists and sociologists, believe that intuition has no real existence.
In my opinion, intuition is our personal litmus test which makes us aware about our unconscious and conscious mind.
It is basically the catalyst that makes us stick in a relationship.
If we don’t understand this catalyst then it’s harder to seek a quality in any relationship.
A normal relationship utilizes only the conscious mind but a quality relationship utilizes a lot of the unconscious mind.
The conscious mind, though amazing, can only take in and work with a certain limited amount of information at a time.
If you forget your marriage anniversary due to workload then your relationship with your spouse is not even normal, your relationship works only consciously and occasionally.
But if you never forget your marriage anniversary then your relationship with your spouse is a quality relationship, this relationship utilizes a lot of your unconscious mind.
A relationship isn’t a one time task, it’s a 24/7 task.
Any relationship works the same way as skilled personnel.
Skilled personnels internalize large amounts of data.
Once we reach a certain level of expertise at a given discipline, the critical part is how is all this expansive knowledge navigated and put to use?
Exactly the same way how to put a relationship to work also internalizes a large amount of information.
It’s the tolerance of information inside us and its correlation with other parties for mutual benefit.
Always one step at a time.
I couldn’t tolerate Kara’s offer.
I couldn’t correlate her thinking to my thinking.
I couldn’t see mutual inclusion between us.
Have you ever called your married daughter at 3pm Monday afternoon?
Don’t hesitate that it’s Monday afternoon, she might be busy at work, just call and see what happens.
Ask her favorite strawberry smoothie whether she is drinking nowadays or not which she used to love after coming from school in her teens.
Your relationship with your daughter goes in a whole different direction.
Remember, if your doctor calls you only to give bad news then your relationship as a patient and doctor is not going to survive long.
But if your doctor calls you to give good news also then your patient doctor relationship will be long-lasting.
This is how we humans are designed to grow and evolve.
Humans are good relationship hunters.
Few last words for any relationship, if we can’t listen quietly for a few minutes from our spouse or kids or parents or siblings or boss then our life is distracted.
Distracted life can not nurture any relationship.
We need to work to order our life first to enrich our relationship.
Similarly, if we can’t remain patient for a few minutes in any discomfort then we have to practice walking many miles on discomfort to understand its relationship to us.
Thank you for your time.
“When life gives you people around you, make relationships with them.” -Unknown