Relationship Versus Relatingship
We are all familiar with the term relationships, we talk about them all the time. We talk about relationships with our loved ones, kids, family, friends and clients. We talk about the potential to improve our current relationships, while for some, the topic is finding the relationship of their dreams.
We have a relationship with our work, with nature, with time, the list is endless. The word, relationship, is used thousands of times a day without much thought.
Even though we have contact throughout everyday in one way or another, many people are finding themselves feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.
What is it that keeps so many going through the motions of relationships and finding they have a longing for so much more? What is the missing piece? I believe it is relating that brings a deeper connection that leads to fulfillment.
Here is a simple example of relationship vs relating-ship:
Recently a middle-aged man with two cats moved into the unit above me. When we passed, I would always smile and say hello. He would lift his eyes for a moment, mumble hello, and lower his gaze as he walked by. He was not unkind – only reserved, and I realize that not everyone wants to know their neighbors.
This went on for a number of weeks – it was our relationship. I wasn’t expecting anything, knowing that I will always say hello as I pass by. Recently a large new shiny silver truck replaced the sportscar in his parking spot. I smiled and acknowledged the change with “nice truck.” He responded with a smile and “yeah.” The next time we passed on the sidewalk, I said “good morning” this time he changed. He looked up, smiled and started talking about how cold it was. He was on the way to work at the Hyatt hotel where he is employed. I shared that I had worked at the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa in the past – we were now relating. He shared that he may move to Tennessee and work at a Hyatt that is being built there. I commented that his truck would be perfect in Tennessee, and a big grin crossed his face. His last comment was “I have a heavy walk, I hope that I don’t disturb you when I am home, I try to be quiet.” Yes, we were relating.
To be in full disclosure, I often wish that he would take off his shoes when he came home. I wished he went to bed earlier so he didn’t wake me, I agree he has a heavy walk. After we had a relating moment, I don’t mind the noise as much; I have connected with the person, it made a difference.
To relate means to share, to relate means to love. To relate requires a certain level of vulnerability.
Using a nature analogy: two seeds cannot relate, they are closed and protected there is no space for relating. Two flowers can relate, they are open, they share their fragrances, they bask in the same sun and blow in the same wind.
We each have the opportunity to allow the seed to open and become a flower. It is your choice and each moment the choice has to be faced; each moment you are at a crossroads. Millions of people decide not to open or to only open within their comfort zone. How can they relate? It seems safer to keep a distance, at least to some degree. The flower is exposed, to the elements. Anything can happen to the flower, everything can happen to the flower. But to remain a seed is not to live fully, which is the price of staying secure as a seed.
Relating is a process, avoid doing relationships and go deeper and deeper into relating. Life is not a noun it is a verb, it is living. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a dance, it is dancing. It is not love, it is loving.
To live your life consciously there is always an invitation to go deeper; if it was easy we would be doing it already. Look at what you say you want and may not have in the moment and ask how you are contributing to that outcome; it takes courage and vulnerability to look within. There is strength in vulnerability and it is essential for relating-ships.
Before you can relate with anything or anyone else, relate with yourself, find your center first. That is the basic requirement that needs to be fulfilled. With it, nothing is impossible. Relate with a flower, with the wind, relate with a child, relate with a friend or a lover, relate with laughter – yours and others – just relate.
I invite you to choose one area that you are willing to deepen and move from relationship to relating-ship.
Share your area in the comment section or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to creating a relating-ship with you.
Love and blessings,