By Laura Castanza and Julia George ©2011
As scientifically and technologically progressive we are as a human race, the most important issue screaming for advancement is our current pattern of connecting and bonding with others. Statistically, 6 out of 10 marriages fail; others remain intact by supporting hidden agendas, and single people move in and out of relationships like a revolving door. There must come a time when we seek to expand our mind and our self out of conventional models of relating. Although convention need not be rejected since it is culturally/root based, the exploration of how we feel, and subsequent expansion of how we think is of greater service to us when we challenge our current views and consider healthy alternatives as we attract or invite others into our emotional environment.
Most often we think of a “relationship” in terms of romance and finding a mate. But there are other relationships we have in a lifetime: relationships defined by situations and circumstances (family, work, acquaintances) and relationships more consciously cultivated (friends and lovers). It is part of our experience to have a variety of human connections and interactions in our life; however we are prone to experience conflict between our situational relationships and those we choose. The reason is this; we usually separate our self in each relationship, acting out roles in an effort to keep us “safe” which will inhibit our natural and authentic self in the process.
Since we seem to be attracted to relationships of romance (searching for our missing half), let’s look at main components/criteria in which we currently model; then explore alternative ways to enhance our experience.
Culturally we are encouraged and often pressured to find someone to share our life with; a soul mate. The motivation is usually a push from our family to get married and have children, or propelled socially/culturally by our peers because finding a mate is “what we do”. This is troublesome because we feel pressured at a subconscious level and therefore look, seek, and search desperately for a partner. Our feeling is we “need” a mate and as a result we’re going to make unconscious choices from our familial experiences and conditioning (how our parents/caregivers connected initially, the tone of their relationship, the ideals we create about family or romance based on positive and negative experiences, social norms, etc…). All these factors come into play as we create yet another role/mask to become more attractive to our potential mate.
As common romantic scenarios go, two people meet, are physically attracted to each other (a lure for men and women alike); eyes lock, pheromones fly, smiles and gestures indicate attraction, and perhaps engaging conversation takes place. One to several dates later (maybe less) sexual intimacy seals the deal in what now qualifies as a romantic, love, and/or intimate relationship.
Interestingly enough, this is not the beginning of our romance. The relationship began when we set our intention to meet someone for this purpose: love, romance, intimacy, sex. By the time we meet someone, we are already midway through the romantic relationship process. This is because we have subconsciously or even consciously created a set of standards for this person to follow based on our story/past, our ideal, and ultimately our lie about the person we’ve chosen.
Oddly enough, a love story relationship like this can last a lifetime, a day or night time or somewhere in between. Our conventional/customary thought process accepts and supports this style of “love” relationship through multiple online dating sites, coupled with a climbing divorce rate as we change in and out of relationships like costumes in a play. Aspects of “conventional” are defined as “artificial” and “stereotype”, which engenders us to live unnaturally and continue unhealthy cycles. Conflict and contradiction plague this model of relating due to the urgency we feel in “being with someone.” How can we improve our ability to relate? Let’s try friendship.
Friendship develops when we have a natural affinity for someone. It manifests from an innate sense of knowing, likeness, and trust, exclusive of sexual or family bonds; it is foundational in truly bonding with another. We do this as very young children, energetically bonding with others absent of superficial motives. But as we grow older, the pressures of our environment (our home and peers) begin to taint and affect our innocence in connecting; and our ego drive of survival and safety replaces our natural curiosity (innocence). We then create associations based on how others can meet our needs, reinforce our addictive patterns, and “co-sign our bullshit”, instead of simply setting out to discover “who is this person?”, and better yet “who am I when I am with this person?”
Acquaintances and networks more accurately fit into a category of what others can do for us, and is not to be confused with friendship. There is an emotional bond in friendship that acquaintances lack. Acquaintances are much more functional in our life, usually linked to abilities and specialties we haven’t cultivated in this life (like doctors, lawyers, handy people, etc.) We loosely use the term “friend” in associating with others, when acquaintance is much more relevant. It is less likely that we have 150+ “friends” on social network sites; really, we have about four (4), and that’s really good!
There are those of us who have lots of friends, and those of us who have none. What defines our ability to be a friend is emotional availability, commitment, and an understanding and acceptance of our emotional body that opens us to others. Trust is perhaps the main component of friendship. If that is damaged, most friendships suffer. But trust is not encompassed in our friends, but solely within our self. We must be willing to share our true nature with others and risk the vulnerability of bonding in order to feel, deal, and heal our emotional, mental, and spiritual body. This applies to all genders.
In the minds of most men and women exists a perception that the opposite sex cannot be friends due to heterosexual attraction that seems to pervade platonic relating. Platonic relating is that of a spiritual nature. It is seeing the spiritual and ideal beauty of another transcending beyond the physical. It is true love. So, why wouldn’t we strive for platonic love? Because we’re attached to getting our needs met and through satisfying our desires. This outward striving depletes our inner reservoir of peace.
To truly move into new realms of relating, we must be willing to explore our inner workings (how we feel) and identify the current patterns of our engagement with others. Through emotional awareness, we will understand our feelings and identify what drives our decisions. From there we can make healthier choices and new friends to support our growth. Old friends and/or the opposite sex can join us in our ascent towards higher consciousness.
The adventure to bond and understand others only manifests through our own journey in discovering who we are. As we travel the vast landscape of our inner self, we will invite others to show us who we are. Whether an “ally” or “enemy”, we’ll discover that our relationships are our creations which can be redefined at any moment… and that moment is just a conscious choice away.
For more information or to discuss this article one-on-one, contact Julia George/Aquarian Age @ 561.750.9292