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What’s in it for me?

   Sometimes listening to what people are looking for in a potential spouse or friend can sound a lot like listening to people who are self -absorbed. But the best relationships start when we forget about ourselves. We forget about our laundry lists: this isn’t supposed to happen now, I don’t have time, I will get hurt again, I promised I would never get close to anyone again. But, instead, we just allow it to happen. We don’t try to control anything any longer.

To fall in love is to be taken by surprise, have your world broadened, perhaps your world is even turned upside down, and you now discover that there is so much more than yourself to celebrate in this world. A good love is a love that is not consumed and concentrated with the self. It is a love that is forever getting lost in the uncharted territory of the other.

Yet many people today think relationships are firstly about meeting the needs of Me, Myself. What we mean by finding “the one” is finding someone who will help us reach self-actualization or self-fulfillment. But what happened to simply wanting to do something kind for someone you love? Although nothing is wrong with acknowledging that you are looking for greater fulfillment in a relationship, something is wrong when we forget that relationships are just that—relationships. As much as friendship or romance is about you, it is equally if not more about the other.

Too often we forget that relationships are not like doing business. Love is not a business deal: “If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you.” Rather, love is about giving yourself—your time, attention, care—to another simply for their own sake, and not primarily for yours.

Do you want to have relationships that are honest and genuine? Do you want to develop friendships that are built on open communication and a care that is not self-seeking? Or do you only want to please and be pleased.  

Personal, and sometimes even professional, relationships have the potential for so much more than a business-like reciprocity. They can be built on stability, mutual respect and care, a foundation of trust and patience. They can be gardens set apart for something beautiful to grow. But it starts with us. We can’t expect others to be self-giving until we learn to give ourselves. We can change the course of our friendships and relationships with the simple reminder that not everything is about us.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 16th, 2011 at 9:33 pm and is filed under Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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