How do you relate to yourself? How do you relate to the people closest to you—your family, friends, colleagues, children, or maybe even your neighbor next door? Most of the material you need to grow and develop can be found in the reflection of who you are in relationship.
When you have the courage and sincerity to really look at these reflections without blaming others or the world for what is happening in your life, you can gather tremendous power to make a shift. This approach and attitude can significantly change the way you live, the way you love, and the quality of the connections that you experience in your daily life. You can understand yourself and your relationships better by looking at your own experiences.
An Inquiry on Relationship
Find a paper and pencil. Then, take a moment to sit quietly and bring your attention and awareness into your mind’s eye. After reading each question, close your eyes for a moment and trust the answer that comes to you first. Spend some time writing down what comes to you, or just sit and observe it. There will be time to write down your insights after the inquiry is complete.
Who is around you today in your life who is important to you? Take some time and really look, trusting who comes to mind. Now let yourself imagine sitting in front of this person and asking these questions:
Do I tell you the truth?
Do I share my honest feelings with you?
Do I reflect on my reactions towards you as something to do with me, or do I spend my time and energy blaming you when I am hurt or disappointed?
Do I stop showing myself to you out of fear of being judged, or labeled right or wrong?
Can I show you my spiritual side as well as my logical intelligence?
Do you trust me to do the same?
Would you also come to me if you needed support and a warm, open, nonjudgmental listener?
As you let yourself ask these questions with curiosity, what are you noticing in your mind, heart, and body? How do you experience yourself in this moment? Maybe there are voices commenting how you “should be”? If so, that’s okay. Maybe something is reflecting inside. Take your time, and trust what comes to you, without judgment.
Now, ask yourself:
If I look at the other areas of my life, how am I relating to the people there?
How am I treating them?
How am I treating myself in relation to them?
Write down what comes to you for the next five to 10 minutes. This can give you a lot of precious information about yourself. Maybe add this question: How would I like to live and relate?
This type of self-inquiry—looking at yourself in relation to how you are with another—can help you discover and embody your own potential, not as a theory but as a felt experience.