When we talk about relationships we tend to think primarily of a significant other or partner. In truth we’re all involved in many, many relationships. From family and friends to co-workers, shopkeepers, service agencies, life might be seen as one enormous relationship.
While we may give more time and attention to our families and friends, there are some basic dynamics that are integral to all our interactions. The more we’re aware of these critical components of a smooth relationship the more congruent we can be in every aspect of our life.
Fundamental to all relationships is “respect.” Respect, by definition, refers to the esteem, or consideration, in which one holds another. Respect, as we’re considering it here, has nothing to do with achievement or success. It has to do with the stance, or regard, with which we greet another human being, simply for their humanity. There’s a Sanskrit greeting “namaste,” that means “I see you” which describes this stance of seeing the innate health in everyone. Respect is often unspoken but is rather an attitude or presence.
“Rapport” is a very important concept in the realm of relationships. It’s that sense of connection that comes from deep listening to another until we have a true understanding of their world. It’s not necessarily about agreement but rather an appreciation for, or acceptance of, separate realities. That is, an ability to have a meeting of the minds even though there are differences. When we have a deep connection with another we are the ones who benefit most because we’re required to come from a place of humility and compassion and let go of our judgmental thinking. In other words, it’s necessary for us to access our own innate health in order to recognize that same quality in another.
“Resiliency,” literally means “to regain the original shape or to rise above.” It’s interesting, I think, that we’re so often shocked or surprised by the resiliency of some people. We’re amazed when people rebound from adversity, turning it into a positive, productive opportunity. Certainly it’s a quality to admire. What we forget is that we all have that potential. It’s our natural default setting.
The importance of resiliency in relationships is that it frees us to let go of the past and to live in the moment. It’s the innate ability to forgive and to let go of old grudges and perceived hurts.
We have all experienced resiliency in some way. As children we may have been sad over the loss of a favorite toy or a beloved pet, but in the natural well-being of childhood we quickly recover our equanimity and are back in the moment.
When these three “Rs” come together we find that we’re able to take ourselves less seriously. We can approach each moment in our relationships with a more lighthearted feeling and with humour.
n.b.: Being “right” is not one of the three “Rs” of relationships.