The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships–beginning with your connection to your own heart. Shame-filled people project their guilt onto others. Those who don’t treasure themselves treat their bodies like garbage bags. Those who don’t think they are lovable have contempt and mistrust for anyone who loves them. People who have lost contact with their childlike wonder cannot access their creativity, and those who have sacrificed their dreams for money or relationship security lose their capacity to believe in love and happiness.
I give human beings enough respect to believe that the painful, non-optimal, self-destructive patterns in their lives are, regardless of how it seems from the outside, still representative of the very best people can do with their current resources, their best attempt to avoid pain and find pleasure. Understand their internal rules, their beliefs about the world, their self-image, their positive and negative emotional associations.
Milton Erickson, Abraham Maslow and six thousand years of yogic psychology all basically agree that what most people want is to grow to maturity, be self-supporting, have healthy bodies they themselves would find attractive, find healthy joyous sexual expression in alignment with their morality and values, find loving relationships, raise healthy families, find self-expression, grow old with dignity and die at peace.
It was said to me that there are two ways to approach the nurturing of a complete human spirit: from the physical “up” to the emotional, mental and spiritual. Or from the emotions “outwards” to all of the other characteristics necessary to sustain a relationship with another healthy adult human being: physical, sexual, mental, emotional, etc. Either works. I have a preference for “emotions out” although “body up” works great too. The one thing that doesn’t work is “head down”–the creation of mental maps unconnected to actual experience, then attempting to shape the world and twist perceptions to match your concepts. The consequences of this can be an absolute nightmare.
So of all the ways to approach humanity, preparing yourself to have a healthy, passionate, loving relationship with another adult human being has the advantages of being generative (leading to global change), maturing, a serious reality check (human adult partners are not children or pets.) Living with another human being to whom you are committed is probably the hardest, most worthwhile “ordinary” human experience. And preparing yourself to have such a relationship, and be worthy of the kind of partner who makes your heart AND mind AND body sing is 100% worthwhile even if you live on a desert island.
Just something to think about…