I love a good question. My favorite questions are those that I can chew on rather than those that gnaw at me.
A question I’ve been chewing on for some time is “What will move our development (as individuals and as a nation) from an “I, me, and my” focus to something greater and more mature?” Voila! Hard times.
Hard times remind us of how much we need each other. They show us that no one can go it alone, that we are all interdependent, and that we are always impacting each other, for better and worse. Hard times highlight how much the “we” is needed to bring more light into life. Here are three ways you can make that happen personally.
1. Relationship as safe haven.
At home and in a healthy primary relationship you and your partner can turn toward each rather than against each other. If that isn’t currently happening you may need to push the reset button. Do you remember a time when you felt more positive about each other and naturally felt you were a team? Back then, many of the characteristics that annoy you today may have been what drew you together, or at the very least were endearing. The most challenging aspect of “resetting” is softening attitudes so that you can return to seeing your partner’s characteristics in a positive light.
For example: You can flip what you perceive as “controlling” back to what you loved as “resourceful and reliable;” “compulsive” returns to “organized;” and “anxious” resets to “responsible.” Make a list of any attributes that are getting in the way of your being fully open to your partner as teammate. Then flip the quality to its positive side to “reset.” If it too difficult to “reset” look inside and see whether there is something unacknowledged in you getting in the way. Perhaps you are encountering a quality in your partner that you reject in yourself.
2. Focus on personal resources rather than financial resources.
Future generations could look back at this time and recognize that we were the generation and this was the time when “The Big Turn Around” was made:
o From valuing consumption to valuing renewal of resources (including inner resources)
o From living materially to living meaningfully
o From focus on owning things to owning and actualizing personal gifts
Relationship and home life are the starting places for this “Big Turn Around.” What are the qualities in yourself and your partner that need renewal? How can you unite and support each other’s investment in these?
3. Home as a “virus free” zone.
We are all exposed to enormous amounts of the fear virus. Television, newspaper, and radio talk shows pass on the contagion. It gets carried into conversations over coffee and soon it’s been brought home, spewing back and forth between family members. Too often we become so vulnerable to fear that we add blame and divisiveness as we frantically look to each other to be the “rescue remedy.”
Better not to let this virus enter the home at all. There is a line between being informed about what’s going on and being rendered helpless by accidental or intentional overindulgence. Turn off the television and look at your partner more. Set down the newspaper and pick up your partner’s hand more often.
Information is just like food. It can either give you what you need to become more active, alive and responsive. Or, it will pollute you with toxins your psyche can’t digest and that are emitted as negativity through attitudes, words, and actions. Protect yourself, your partner, and your family from the fear virus.
We are all living in times that are pushing us from “I, me, and mine” to “we, us, and our.” It’s not easy giving birth to a new paradigm but relationships and home life are a perfect starting place.