If you happened to read my blogs from the month of July, you probably noted that I believe we are all connected. I believe in the theory of a monistic universe – which is to say that everything is made of one substance (namely, energy). Because we are connected to everyone and everything, that brings us to the topic of relationship.
If I were to ask you who you are in relationship with, you would probably list for me the names of family members, friends, and maybe some co-workers. Your list most likely would not contain the names of the dry-cleaning attendant whom you regularly see, the cashier who continually assists you at the grocery store where you go, your yoga instructor, your neighbors, or the person behind the desk at the gym you attend.
Yet you see each of these people regularly – possibly on a more regular basis than you do members of your own family or friends who don’t live nearby. Why is it that we believe these people do not qualify as people with whom we have a relationship? Does a relationship require a certain type of communication to be present or a familial bond? I’m going to make a bold assertion here and assert that we are in relationship with everyone. That’s right – I said “everyone!” Let me explain.
Have you ever experienced a falling-out with a friend? Maybe you got into a heated argument or one person betrayed the other’s confidence and you decided that the friendship wasn’t worth keeping? We usually term that as falling-out of relationship, or quitting or severing the relationship. And, yet, if you look closely enough, you will see that you are still in relationship with that person. It’s no longer a relationship where you see or talk to each other every day. It may not even be that you talk to each other at all. But, I’m asserting that that is still a relationship. Your relationship has taken on a different form – one in which both parties actively avoid one another. In fundamental terms – that’s a relationship.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines relationship as: “1: the state of being related or interrelated.” Simply broken down to it’s most finite level, if you are introduced into a gathering of people, and your ex-friend is there, simply by you being present (“cause”), your friend avoids you (“effect”). There you have it – a cause-and-effect relationship! It may not be workable but it is a relationship nonetheless.
I choose the above definition of relationship because it gives me a broader access to those around me. When I believed I had no relationship with many of the people I came into contact with on a daily or weekly basis, I found it difficult to start a conversation or sometimes to even offer a friendly greeting. When I chose the above definition of relationship, I saw that I was in relationship with everyone in my path. For me, that meant that I now had access to the neighbors I had been avoiding meeting or people I hadn’t bothered speaking to before because of my insecurities.
Understand that this isn’t the truth about relationship. It’s just a point of view – a definition that one can use; one that, for me, opens a greater access to those around me. It’s not necessary for you to embrace or believe this definition. But my request is that you simply try it on and see if it works for you or not. If it works for you, it will provide you with greater workability in relating with others, a sense of relatedness, and a stronger sense of community.