Simon G Brown has studied macrobiotics since 1980 and authored many books, including Modern Day Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics for Life and Practical Wabi Sabi.
In past issues of the magazine Simon has introduced us to Macrobiotics, Wabi Sabi, Meditation and more.
This month Simon tells us all about Feng Shui for Business Success
Relationships are potentially the part of our lives where we can feel the greatest joy and misery. We are essentially herding creatures that tend to work, live and relax with other people. Whether it is with lovers, family, friends, colleagues or casual acquaintances the quality of our interactions can be life changing.
More than that it seems that our survival depended on teamwork and forming communities. We appear to come wired with the desire to be valued, please and win praise. Our adult relationships can be based on our childhood relationships with our parents. There are lots of self imposed rules and regulations concerning how we relate to each other. Sometimes these are helpful but can also lead us away from being our true authentic self. It could be that part of being healthy is to enjoy healthy relationships with people.
The way we connect to another human being often defines our relationship with that person. In my experience there is a huge difference between my making a genuine, sincere connection with someone, compared to me using that interaction to impress someone. I would suggest that there are five key ways of thinking that can get in the way of making a true connection with someone and those are making assumptions, being judgmental, having expectations, making comparisons and thinking in terms of absolutes.
It is very difficult not to make assumptions about people. Even with a lot of practices and being aware of this human tendency I still find it hard not to drift into making some assumptions. Perhaps it is part of our human survival skills. When relationships break down the people involved are often making assumptions about each other. “He doesn’t care”, “She’s lost interest”. Unless we can get inside the other persons heart and mind we will never know.
One interesting way to change a relationship is to really listen to what is being said and to try not to give that another meaning or to make an assumption based on a statement. So if Mike said to me “I do not like your writing,” I could choose to interpret that as I am no good at writing or make the assumption that Mike does not like me, thinks I am useless or has something against me. In reality all that was expressed is that he did not like my writing, no more.
It is when we can stay with the reality of what happens in a relationship that we begin to get rid of all the emotional clutter that can drown us in unhelpful emotions and difficult feelings about a relationship.
We appear to be predicated to judge each other. We are naturally gifted at sorting, categorizing and listing. It is very easy to do this with people and in our heads create generalizations about people we meet. We might do this based on someone’s sex, race, age, clothing, physical appearance, manners, speech and social skills. None of these factors are relevant to how we can connect to someone through our heart. Judgments reside in our minds.
When I want to create a true connection with another person the more I can be in the moment of using my senses and experiencing that person as he or she is, and the less I am thinking about the person the easier it is to connect.
In relationships we may expect someone to behave in a certain way due to our cultural upbringing, parents, the media and people who have been influential in our life. The expectations that are created are illusionary and artificial. They are in essence various man made ideas on how someone ‘should‘ or ‘shouldn’t‘ be in a relationship. Each person will have his or her own interpretation. As soon as we use the words ‘should‘ or ‘shouldn’t‘ we are having an expectation. “You should take me out more,” “You shouldn’t see your friends so often,” “You should be more sensitive.”
It is interesting to have relationships that are more based on the quality of interaction rather than our particular interpretation of what people ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t‘ do. Expectations of another greatly increase the risk of upsets, particular when two people have different expectations of each other. Try expressing your feelings rather than having expectations. “I feel happy when we go out together,” “I feel lonely when you see your friends without me,” “I feel really close to you when you are sensitive to me.”
It is very easy to compare ourselves to others and out of this compete. We could claim that comparisons are useful in so far that we might learn something helpful from the person we are comparing ourselves to. At the same time many comparisons simply leads us to connect to a lack of self-esteem, loss of confidence, jealousy, depression, insecurity and a lack of self belief. If any kind of comparison is not constructive, then it becomes self-harming and I would claim creates unhealthy relationships. More than that it takes us away from connecting to other people through our hearts and with love.
When think or talk in terms of absolutes we can read it as a sign that we are basing our thoughts on self-created illusions. Words like ‘never‘ or ‘always‘ are a sign that we are not trying to communicate what we perceive as the truth. A sentence like “You never support me,” invites argument, whereas “I feel hurt when I sense you are not supportive” is a statement of truth if that is how the person genuinely feels.
SEVEN TIPS FOR LOVING RELATIONSHIPS
1. Really listen to people without judging, making assumptions or giving their words other meanings.
2. Try to engage with another person through the quality of conversation, eye contact and touch.
3. Practice interacting with people from a feeling of love, contentment and appreciation.
4. Express your own feelings and talk from your heart rather than make accusations.
5. It is not always what you say but how you say it that gets heard.
6. Sometimes you can say everything with a hug, kiss or cuddle.
7. When you want to communicate something that means a lot to you try writing it out whilst you are feeling calm, loving and connected.
Write from your heart expressing your feelings.
For more information go to Simon’s new website http://www.connectiontherapy.co.uk/index.html Simon G. Brown
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