As I was contemplating love this week, I found myself dwelling on the love between two partners. And wondering if we could take some advice from intimate relationships to extrapolate into communal love. Will you wander around in this ‘little’ topic with me?
Ahhhhh, love between partners. When it’s going well, there’s a lot of deference towards the other partner. Time spent together is enjoyable, and you’re eager to learn more about the other, what they feel, how they see the world, what made them who they are. There’s an eager give and take that lends toward a show of concern and interest while deepening the relationship.
What if we communally showed love in that way?
When I look around in our current circumstances, I see so much “us vs. them” mentality. An attitude of I’ve got it “right” and I just need to show everyone else why they’re wrong – get them to see the light. This is the antithesis of what brings partners together in connecting harmony. In fact, when partners treat each other like this, it destroys the relationship.
Deference, time together, enjoyment of the personality of the other, eager and learning the other’s feelings, taking the other’s viewpoints into account, valuing the other’s experiences, intentional give and take, expressed concern and interest are all part of what makes a partnered relationship a good one. What did each of these words or phrases conjure up in your mind? As you thought about someone you love, how have you show these attributes?
Imagine with me what it would look like to get to know another group in which you’ve previously shown a lack of interest, or even, perhaps, held some animosity towards them.
Consider what it would be like to just spend some time with them, learning from their experiences and getting to know their viewpoints and feelings. In an emotionally safe environment, you will find many things about this group that will be enjoyable and beautiful. You will begin to see strengths that differ from your own, and a wider perspective for things you previously missed. You will grow, you will all heal. And then, I can tell you from experience, you will gain an eagerness to know and experience more, growing in deeper relationship!
Love. Let’s imagine something greater, let’s reach outside of our current norms and begin to learn how to love again.
Photo Credit: Akson, https://unsplash.com/@akson
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