"He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour to act in safety. There is none but he whose being I do fear" - Macbeth (Act II, Scene I)
Are my relationships with people or my opinion of them? Is this a lifetime spun out on the axis of my projections onto them or their projections of their reality on me? And if this is a delusional way of building relationships, why bother?
The word relationship derives from the term 'to relate' which means 'to recount or tell a story' and 'to communicate with'.
The circumference of my relationships is bounded by stories, be these tales of inspiratin, rumours or slanted operating assumptions.
How many true relationships are there in my life? How many true conversations did I have today? How many of these resulted in a story worth re-telling?
How many people have I been totally wrong about? How many do I assume to have "figured out" and are now relegated into relationship on auto-pilot? I have grown and changed in the past ten years. Have these individuals changed in this same time period? I continue to judge them and they judge me. Our relationships are based on the tension between possibility and uncertainty. Two sides of the same question.
"What error drives our eyes and ears amiss? Until I know this sure uncertainty, I’ll entertain the offer’d fallacy" - The Comedy of Errors (Act II , Scene II)
How deeply and truly do I appreciate others? How do others appreciate me? The answers to these two questions can be revealing, perhaps even shocking!
"The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in, bear ’t that th’ opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment" - Hamlet (Act I, Scene II)
I get off on the wrong foot with an individual. The difference between an insult and a compliment is in the mask that we attribute to each other. We are safe now because we only need to relate to the masquerade now.
I need to step over the easy excuses and rush to judgment. I need to find a way to reset the refresh button each time I relate to another human being. I can only refresh the relationship by challenging myself to listen more openly and by encouraging the other person to reach beyond the bounds of innocence and help them appreciate themselves for who and what they are.
If one of us have to take off the mask first, then let it be me. I will falter, I will fail, I will get hurt, but what is the alternative? How much does it cost to live a lie?
"This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man" Hamlet - (Act I, Scene III)