If it isn’t ‘relational’ it isn’t ‘evolutional’.
Following my lecture ‘Being at your best’ last month that made a clear distinction from ‘Doing your best’, it occurred to me that beyond appreciating how many more benefits occur from being at your best, how compulsory the relational quality of being at your best is necessary for any legitimate emotional growth or evolutionary development to occur.
What this means is that in the middle of any emotional difficulty or conflict defaulting to ‘Doing’ your best it may not add up to any type relational alteration beyond the relief of getting out of and through the issue at hand. ‘Whew, I am glad that is over with’ is the common voice we hear to measure the success of dealing with the problem. Relief is not all that is in play or calling you. There’s something else waiting in the wings. Who you are in the middle of this difficulty, and who you see in the other is crying out to shift. If the depth of what you call upon inside yourself does not change and the way you witness the other also does not change, then the evolutionary calling for both has stalled. In other words nothing really has happened beyond getting through the impasse.
The prime directive of all relationships is to evolve together, to be legitimately relational and not just get through repeating old behavioural formulas that in the end start looking like the your personal outtakes from Ground Hog Day.
How do you know if it is relational or merely positional?
To answer that question while in the very middle of a relationship difficulty you have to ask yourself the question of whether the solution/behaviour to remedy the situation legitimately brings you closer…or not. If you are legitimately getting closer it requires ‘more’ of the real you to be part of the exchange and legitimately witness ‘more’ of who the other is as well. To accomplish this we must ‘see’ something different and not just ‘do’ something different.
I am not suggesting that what we do isn’t important. It is. However what you ‘do’ is dependent on what you ‘see’. If you ‘see’ differently, what you ‘do’ is profoundly impacted. You may still respond with a similar behaviour but what you are doing it for may be sensationally different. Your relational message may shift from ‘I have successfully avoided your upset’ to ‘I know you and I care for you.’ Am I doing this to be closer, or am I doing this just to get through and survive it?
These are all relational prime directives rather than positional strategies . We are relational beings. We will never get away from that, nor should we.
Duane O’Kane is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, workshop facilitator, teacher and a dynamic and entertaining international public speaker. He has a lengthy background in mental health and social services…40 years and counting with 18 years in the field before forming Clearmind in 1991.