Sunday, September 6, 2015

Imagining Better Relationships

Earlier today, I was having a conversation with a family member about another family member who is in a very volatile, dysfunctional relationship. There's a lot of fighting and disrespect and emotional and physical abuse within it. But even though they seem to hate each other, they can't ever stay apart for very long. At one point, the family member I was talking to said, "I wonder if he just can't imagine that there's another possible life out there for him."

And you know, I think she's absolutely right.

How many of us have known someone, or have been in a situation ourselves, where we can't imagine life without a certain relationship? Even if this relationship is destructive, we still feel stuck. I think that sometimes we wrap up our very identity in the knowing of another person, and that can be a huge mistake. I'm guilty of this in my own life, but the thing is, we may not realize it, but we always have options for different, better relationships with people, which can create for us different, better lives.

We have options. All we have to do is imagine ourselves in that better life, and it's all of a sudden possible. But if you never try to imagine it, and you think you are the mess you're in, then you are placing self-imposed restrictions on your freedom. You're the one shackling yourself to the mess.

This can apply to thoughts, too. Imagine what you'd be like without that negative, obsessive, fearful thought you carry around every day. Wouldn't life be so much more peaceful without it? Wouldn't you stand a little taller and feel a lot lighter? If you can imagine it, you can make it happen.

In order to get freedom from something, we must disassociate our identity with it. We must imagine the better options. We must believe the healthier relationship is possible in order to make ourselves available for it to happen. And it's even possible for a shitty relationship to turn around - as long as both people are willing to imagine that future where they don't hate one another but love and respect each other.

Love and romance do not have to be torture! It doesn't have to include constant fighting and misery. People have options. As long as we're still alive, there's always hope for something better.




  1. Interesting, my wife and I had everything from loving and passionate to knock-down-drag-out but not much on the latter. We found that others around us either enhanced the good or interfered by bringing out the negative so we've been able to get a handle on the worst. I also know that cutting out processed foods (refined sugars too (eat honey and raw sugar maybe)), preservatives or diet junk. That has helped us feel better so this is a contributing factor in our healthier relationship the last 10 years. Plus, we're honest about everything that affects our relationship so it all helps mentally and emotionally.

    1. R, that is great. People underestimate the power of food in affecting our mood. And being honest about what affects you and communicating that is always a good thing. I think it's unrealistic to think you'll never fight with someone, especially if you live with them for 10+ years, but keeping those to a minimum and the peaceful times to a maximum is what I'd hope for.