I was on a walk today, while getting over a slight cold which I picked up the other day. I find it refreshing and healthy to go on walks when I am sick because it gets me out of the stagnation of sickness that can be built up in my apartment. I was all set to go, and put in the Walter Mitty soundtrack to listen to as it’s been a place of inspiration of my life lately.
I was thinking about what some of the most potent lessons in giving up control in a relationship were when a logical string of events crossed my mind. Some people may struggle with this, as I have, and continue to work toward this old habit that comes up. It was one of my more potent lessons on letting go while on my walk.
As I watched the birds overhead the thoughts came to me like watching a wave curl overhead.
“If your fear is of losing something.
Don’t graph onto it.
Don’t try to control it.
Don’t try and possess it.”
The paradox of letting go
This paradox took me back for a moment. It’s such a simple guideline. The more I let this sit, the more potent it can had become. I saw that when we are afraid of losing something we tend grip tight to it, and we typically try and find any way we can to keep it in our grasp.
But what does this typically lead to?
Before I answer that I want to tell a story about some of the many cats that I have had the pleasure of meeting in my day. Some just love attention and will shamelessly seek it but that is not the kind of cat I am talking about. What I am talking about are the ones that when you try and get close they back away. They play hard to get.
If you sit in stillness and let go of your desire to WANT the cat, it will come on its own accord. Out of it’s own curiosity to be pet by you.
So do you see, it’s by letting go and allowing what the situation to be free to what it wants to do, do we have complete control. Even satisfied moreso then trying to get something we really have no control over to begin with.
The suffering that comes with gripping tight
When we try and control the outcome, or we grip tight. We end up repelling the thing we don’t want to have leave us. Look at it from a relationship stand point. Isn’t that how a lot of relationships start to fall apart? We want to control how something should be, whether it’s a circumstance or the love of our life.
When this happens, typically there will be a distancing and communications begin to shut down. Over time the grasping gets stronger because we don’t “get what we want,” and so the distance becomes greater to the point of un-bearability.
So if you see yourself in this, just know that it is not something you alone struggle with. It may take a bit of practice but letting go is important to a healthy relationship. The idea that you need this person in your life to be complete is not true. You are complete regardless, and always have been.
Letting her/him be free to be who they are, may save your relationship with the right intention.
As Osho said of the flower,
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.”
I am very glad and honored to say that I’ve had the ability to share some kind words with Benjamin Smythe over a short span of time. A very kind hearted buddy of mine that I’ve never actually met. There is just something about this charming young fellow that attracts people to him.
When I first started watching his videos I noticed something very very important that emotional alchemy typically incorporates. That is the idea that in order to live a good life, one needs to see that they are loved. Self-Love is one of the big keys to expressing unconditional love and sharing it with others.
Ben Smythes talks exudes gobs of this self-contentment/self-love, in various ways. He is one of the most vulnerable/courageous people to date that I’ve witnessed via facebook. He is not afraid to get down and dirty and to tell it like it is. Yet he holds the compassion of 10 thousand lions (that would make a good band name) caring for each other in their den.
This is one rad dude. no joke. So I decided to ask him three questions all of which he answered perfectly. How can he not though, the answers are the embodiment of what it means to be Ben Smythe. And in he comes to share,
Q:What were your three most potent realizations that got you to who you are right now.
BS: language is the only thing that is alive.
this is the brain breaking realization of life existing only in sound. without language, nothing happened.
Q2:What do you consider to be your emotional alchemy?
BS: “what do i want?” is the living answer of the skeleton.
“what do i want?” cannot be escaped by any language, i.e. the story of my life is not my life.
Q3: What are your 4 most practical ideas or strategies you use that help you live a good life and to help others on their journey of being a human?
- 1. there is no time machine.
- 2. no one is coming.
- 3. minimalism = maximization.
- 4. the test: (a tool i made)
- 1. what is the wish?
- 2. what is reality?
- 3. what is felt when wish doesn’t match reality?
- 4. what is felt when reality is wished for?
And with lots of respect from me to him and him to I, I leave you with this little nugget for you all to enjoy. We are all in this together learning from the process of life. Sharing notes, and finding out what works best! I will leave you with an awesome video which falls under how to have a healthy relationship that Ben has been kind enough to share his notes on with the world. Blessings to you guys.
If you enjoyed the article, and/or like the video, you can find Ben Smythe on his own YouTube channel here.
I’ve recently been working with a common theme that exists in a lot of our relational structures as human beings. Now I know what you want to say, “I don’t objectify people.” You would be correct to an extent to think so, but try seeing even the most subtle version of objectification or manipulation. This subtly could be harming you and your interactions with others.
We are not here to turn other people into our ideas about them, but rather to enjoy each other for who each individual is on their own. The less we impose, the more love that flows.
As one of my good friend Brandi says,
…being aware of expectations, perceptions, and assumptions we put on each other and ourselves that go beyond or beneath what is human and rejecting those things to learn and accept what is true; including the limitations, abilities, complexity, individuality, and mystery. It includes not downplaying this humble identity among the living things in the universe. God, after all, called humanity “very good.”
I thought that was very well put and that leads us into the first thing I would like to talk about.
Looking at what affects us and other in relationship
When we make subtle agreements with ourselves that one is our property
We begin to expect them to be our idea of them. How we think they should be is not how they actually are and when this loop plays in your heart it causes such emotional rifts as anger, irritation, and helplessness. We may even throw a tantrum at the fact that the other person is making decisions outside of what we feel is right and wrong for them. It is not our responsibility to hold their hand or be their savior. We can be supportive and show by our actions how we live, and if this allows for them to change in a beneficial way, then great! But control isn’t the answer. Controlling leads to suffering as it not only pushes the other away but causes emotional contraction within yourself.
You don’t get to keep them
As in there will be a point in your life when you must let them go. You will not have them forever (even in marriage). So making the assumption that your bond is eternal can be very toxic. Instead know that you are sharing a time with them but know that they will move on at some point, in some way, shape, or form. It will allow you to cherish the relationship more for what it is now, and hopefully it prepares you to let go more easily when you two part ways.
“What can they do for me” mentality
Going into a relationship with this thought can be very toxic for the heart. You can and will easily sabotage anything good you have going with another. Sure this is fine for business relationships if you have something mutual to give at the time and that is the agreement you have made with each other. However when you take this into a relationship, you are only giving love for what they do for you, not for who they are.
It does not work in a healthy mutually loving relationship and causes one or more things to occur.
- You suck the life from the other emotionally like a vampire.
- Cold and calculated, if someone isn’t giving you what you want, you throw them aside and find someone who will. (This is manipulation and objectification at its best. And starts a vicious cycle of this habit)
- You will always hold other at arms length because you won’t know how to connect deeply with the other person.
Loving someone for who they are has little to do with what they can do for you. I feel it has more to do with sharing how you feel about yourself (hopefully self content compassion) with that other person. And hopefully the feeling will be mutually on the other side.
There is nothing saying that your agreement with that other person will be permanent and upheld. If this were true, the US’s divorce rate would not be over 50%. Being married does not save you from this nor being in a relationship saves you from this fact. This also proves that the other is not your property!
Which is why we hold our relationships with great compassion but also light heartedness. If I or other grow apart, we may thank the other for being a wonderful part of your life and then let them move on if that is what they want.
And then of course you have the opportunity of learning to strengthen your bond of being able to let go without victimizing yourself.
Cling causes manipulation
When we cling to our ideas of someone it may cause us to either consciously or sub-consciously manipulate the other. Using ourselves as a hostage to make the other be our ideals. Try and be mindful about this within yourself so that you can avoid doing this. When we are mindful of the potential of this happening or know this is one of our major shortcomings. We are able to better both; take note it is happening, and of course to respond to a situation differently rather than react in our old habitual patterns.
Manipulation is painful for both parties. Injecting that kind of toxin can start a vicious cycle which I will talk more about further down this article…
What this does
Like I said a vicious cycle ensues:
- You objectify partner
- Partner eventually will feel used, manipulated, or backstabbed.
- There is now a high chance of the other will learn this behavior and consider it to be a viable option toward others.
- May begin to do it to others, further infecting our fellow humans causing the process to start over.
It’s important in my opinion to catch this kind of habit or addiction to trying to get people to act as we want. To see it has to do with us and our own filter of reality rather than their perspective of reality. When we stop the momentum within ourselves, the problem begins to dissolve on its own.
As Ghandi said,
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
What can increase objectification of our beloved?
I think that one of the biggest skills that leads to more objectification is or feeling of having to manipulate others in some way to meet our criteria. Also being manipulated by those that you are real close to and love can cause the momentum to become greater within.
Another thing that I’ve seen can create more momentum is friends delusional advice about sense of entitlement toward the other. Again we do not own our loved ones and they do not own us. They don’t owe us anything and we are responsible of loving ourselves. So when we aren’t coming from a place of self-love, it is hard for us to be mindful of feeling even a subtle sense of entitlement.
Are you getting the picture that this is more about you then it is about them yet?
Pornography is another big one I wanted to touch on. The whole act of watching this kind of stuff teaches the body and mind to treat other human beings like objects. The body doesn’t know the difference between the physical act and the virtual. The more it is watched the more the neurons fire off in your brain to act in that way when presented the opportunity.
If you want to watch it, that is your call, just know what agreements you are making with yourself and what kind of sufferings you are setting yourself up for.
Not being mindful of your actions is the last of the list that I came up with. Not being mindful of how your actions affect other people leads to both parties to suffer. You end up hurting yourself and the other in the process of doing something you don’t even realize may be wrong or mistaken on your part. So be watchful for the, “he should be this way” kind of inner dialogue.
How to stop this cycle in yourself
This process is never an easy process. Being mindful and understanding yourself is the first major step to lessen your objectification foot-print. Really look down inside and see in which areas you would consider to be your shortcoming in the areas i’ve talked about above and then be mindful of them for when the occasion arises in everyday life.
See people as truly human counterparts, not objects of desire in which you can step over to get what you want. We are after all, in this together. Both sexes are human beings so I tend to be optimistic and prefer to try my best to treat all people as equally as I can with my limiting filter that is me.
Always keep in mind of, “How does this affect so-and-so, and will it cause them suffering?”
If the answer is yes, try and figure out a solution that will not cause them suffering or very little. I understand that there are circumstances where we have to step away from a relationship because we are in suffering ourselves. And like a doctor would cut into his patient if he knew it would bring them back to health or life. It may be painful in the short run, but in the long run may be very beneficial to the other party.
Which is why I also believe in working on your discernment. Having clear discernment for yourself will allow you to light the way for yourself. You don’t have to control the other to respect yourself. But you may have to step out of their life on that particular decision that they have made. Nothing against them, but again, be compassionate as you can in your current life state.
Always remember to let go of your pre-conceived ideas about someone. They are always in a constant state of changing.
And when the time comes when two part ways, my friend Stephanie put it best,
when relationships do move on because of life business, death, estrangement, etc, that we should recognize that it is ok to mourn those losses. To get stuck in loss is not good, but it’s good to recognize that there is a loss and work through that and not just ignore it. I have ignored losses before, and didn’t allow myself to feel the pain of it and work through it. I relalized later that I was putting up walls with people because I had a fear that came in. Then I had four times the stuff to work through!
We are always going to be a work in progress, accepting that is keystone to becoming a better person. We mess up and acknowledging that and working on making things right is healthy. And never give up hope on anyone, even if you can’t help them in your present moment. Never close your heart off.
Top Image Credit: Jesslee Cuizon
Middle Image Credit: Kevin Utting
Bottom Image Credit: Relaxing Music