No, I’m not giving relationship advice. In fact, if you stumbled on this blog entry hoping for insight into how to improve your relationship(s), you’re in the wrong place. This is a selfish post. It’s an egocentric post, because this test is about improving how we stand in our power. I know, I know. I write about relationships and sex. Stay with me. This entry also reveals that I am more linear than I think, as a few months back I posted The Stupid Litmus Test and Speaking Truth. I really can think in different terms than tests and fitting things into little compartments. But it’s working so well for me…
I’m pretty open about relationships and what constitutes one. The number of people in one, how who relates to whom, who’s doing whom and how… it’s all relative to me. I’ve had meaningful relationships that lasted for years, ones that lasted for hours, and ones that lasted minutes. Curious? To complicate (or simplify) things further, I had a profound spiritual revelation a few years ago that changed my word choice about relationships forever. The revelation was that at a soul level we’re all soulmates, no need to pick and choose. More than that I perceived we’re all connected and all relationships are equal, so I dropped from my lexicon the word “friendship” and I stopped delineating romantic relationships from buddies, parents, acquaintances, flings, or lovers. So, yes, I actually did have a deeply meaningful relationship that lasted four minutes in a grocery checkout line years ago. Never saw the guy again. Didn’t have to. The experience resonated and stayed with me as if I’d known him for years. Same with some guy who drove behind me across two states one time, and a chick who interviewed me for a job (I turned it down. Seriousy, I did). I know it sounds nuts. Those interactions aren’t like spending fifteen years with someone, paying bills, or having progeny. But it doesn’t have to be. They’re all relationships, each unique and bringing something different to the mix. We just decide how we’re going to manifest each one, how we’re going to demonstrate that affection differently in each, how we’re going to create ourselves in each.
But what about relationships in which we don’t want to create ourselves? That’s where I’m really going with this; thus, therein lies The Grocery Store Relationship Test. Sometimes in life we are faced with relationships we feel that we just can’t get out of, be that due to actually being related, some legal or moral obligation, the person’s a supervisor, or a relative of a lover kinda thing… It’s easy to get really emotionally tangled in those situations, but this simple little test has helped me clarify that dynamic quite easily. In situations where I’m uncomfortable in a relationship dynamic, I ask myself, “If I just randomly met this person in a grocery store checkout line, would I want to hang out with hir?” When the answer is yes, it’s no problem. It is, however, reinforcement that we’re aware of what we want, we’re attracting what we want, and the Multiverse is smiling upon us. But what do we do when the answer is no? Not just no, but “I’d rather hang upside down nailed to a flaming tree in August, NO.” That’s when the real information starts to pour in.
It’s important to realize when we don’t have a connection with someone. We learn about our buttons, what pushes them, how to avoid such scenarios, or perhaps how to overcome them. It’s even more telling to realize the dissatisfaction of someone’s company and that through some twist of fate we still have to interact with this person, potentially the rest of our formed days. To hold that kind of kindness is hard, that depth of compassion is even more challenging.
Sometime last year on Facebook a viral quote made its way in my stream, something along the lines of, “A person who spends time with people they can’t stand is called an adult. ALL REAL ADULTS REPOST THIS ON YOUR WALL!” I thought it very disempowering, disengenuine, and demeaning. I thought it disempowering because I know the heartache of romantic and familial relationships that won’t heal, and assuming that the most mature thing is to stay in them shows no consideration for the wound or how it is still perpetuated. Thus, it shows no respect for the people in the relationship. I thought it disengenuine because allowing someone to think that we want to be in hir company when we don’t is…dishonest. I found it demaning because the assumption is that people who choose not to interact with presumably toxic people are immature. People who do are noble and admirable.
I’ve since that week’s worth of a Wall flood come to see that statement differently. I still think all of the above, foremost, though I’ve also developed an appreciation for the fact that there are exceptions. For myriad reasons we can’t dodge every relationship that doesn’t suit our idea of perfection. Thus enters the second part of the test: “Can I treat this MFSOB with the kindness and courtesy that I would someone I just met in the grocery store–someone I don’t know from Adam (or Amilius, for the root race informed)?” If the answer is no, then maybe you could stand to treat all people better, not just ones you don’t want to relate to, and there’s no reason for you to keep reading this. If the answer is yes, then maybe, just maybe holding that person with respect despite that they don’t deserve it may help you better appreciate the ones that do. Just because I don’t want to create myself in a specific relationship doesn’t change the influence that relationship has in how I create myself.
My point is, I am very relationship-oriented. If I have a sexual orientation it’s “soul sexual,” or “relationship sexual.” The bond, however fleeting, is what does it for me. When I don’t feel a bond with someone, particularly someone inescapable, it throws me. Being able to understand why I don’t bond with someone is as informative as why I do. It’s valuable information that helps me focus on attracting relationships that I do want, and in realizing that I know the difference, I appreciate myself more.