I often sit and think of how on may speak of constraints in life whether it is monetary, materialistic or emotional constraints, but we often don’t seem to address self-inflicted constraints (which could to some extent, could also overlap or be categorized as being an emotional constraint). I’m not too sure as to why we don’t, but even a few years into my twenties, I’m still constantly learning new things about myself – I mean this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise as one learns about one’s self throughout one’s life, but the origin for my surprise is grounded in the fact that after all these years of self-reflection, I still manage to surprise myself through my own actions and thoughts.
Lately the topic of contemplation has been relationships in general; I suppose to some degree “relationships” has been the topic of obsession throughout my entire life. In some part this is a reference to my last post on “Happiness through Loneliness”. An individual is defined by the relationships that they have (both direct and indirect) as well as by the environment in which they reside and have resided in. But what types of relationships am I referring to? Again, let’s start with the basics, what is a “relationship”?
According to the 2007 Encarta Dictionary, “relationship” is defined as the following:
- Connection: a significant connection or similarity between two or more things, or the state of being related to something else
- Behavior or feelings toward somebody else: the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards the way they behave toward and feel about one another
- Friendship: an emotionally close friendship, especially one involving sexual activity
- Connection by family: the way in which two or more people are related by birth, adoption, or marriage, or the fact of being related by birth, adoption or marriage, or the fact of being related by birth, adoption or marriage
In a general sense, a relationship can be summarized as the connection(s) established between (1) individuals and individuals and (2) individuals and groups of individuals in which the relationships established help define, shape and reshape the individual; a cyclical progress of work that is never really complete or incomplete in the same sense. But what happens when one’s past relationships begin to dictate those that they are currently trying to establish or those that have already been established? Is this why we perceive the past to repeat itself, or is this cyclical cycle that one chooses to engage in and therefore, it only seems as if the past is repeating itself? If we continue to play with this idea then, if one does choose to engage in “repeating the past,” then the question ought to be, why does one choose to do so? is it for the sake that it is familiar and therefore known territory as the patterns are predictable choices are similar if not the same in some instances, and the only “fresh” or “new” entity in the next “adventure” so to speak, are the players of the game. And if one wanted to break away from their cyclical past, how does one begin to do so? Is it our state of mind, the company in which we choose to keep, the actions that we engage in, or do we need to uproot and simply state all over again (if that is even possible)?
It seems that after all the questions, the centralized focus ought to be on the nature of “patterns,” or so it would seem to me. The relevance to relationships is that relationships in themselves are a series of patterns. If one thinks of a relationship as how I have previously defined it, then one may come to the conclusion that the interactions in which we engage in to establish connections is in itself, a series of patterns of exchanging thoughts, ideas, concepts, emotions, and individual self-desires that we wish to gain from one another. Although the actions in themselves may vary from person to person, the act and the process of engagement remains the same. The interaction begins with an introduction something along the lines of, “Hi, how are you? I’m…” then depending on the “chemistry” if one wishes to call it as such, introductions progress to time spending whether it be through “hanging out,” eateries, movies, sports music… the list is infinite. And again, from there we engage in acts of trust and information exchange, we reveal bits of our past or ongoing relationships, connections that we believe help define who we believe we are or those that are in the process of shaping we think we are. When trust and rapport are established, that is when we begin to define the relationship as, “friend,” [extended] “family,” “girlfriend/boyfriend,” “fiancé,” “acquaintance,” and etc. But all the individuals who fall into whichever category we wish to define them as all share at least one common attribute with each other, regardless of how different they are when we compare them on an individual basis. The question then becomes, what is/are those shared attribute(s), and how are they significant in defining, shaping, but more importantly, reflecting who we believe we are as an individual?
For the time being, I will leave these questions to further contemplation rather than attempt to address the questions in themselves as each deserves ample amounts of time to mauled over and answered, though none of them can be subjected to one definitive answer.