Relationships are teleological.
If you're like me, you'll probably have to read that word a few times just to make sure you read it correctly the first time.
Perhaps unlike you, this is not a word I throw around in my everyday vocabulary. However, it's definitely a concept I believe in.
Teleological relates to teleology, or the philosophy that final causes, design, and purpose exist in nature.
Put in the realm of relationships, it means that they are alive and moving and becoming something.
Thinking of relationships this way has caused me to pause and ask the following questions:
- What am I doing in my relationships to build and nurture them?
- Where do I see my relationships going? (At work? In my marriage? With my family and friends?)
- Am I letting my relationships take a natural course? Or am I guiding them in a direction I want to travel?
- Am I using old, reactionary patterns in relationships, rather than approaching them with more careful attention?
The last question is one that particularly stood out to me today as I had an interesting encounter with some new renters at our commercial space.
From our understanding, the new lease was set to begin on December 1st.
From my perspective, this was a sigh of relief because I would have a few weeks to clear out the old office furniture, repaint a new office, and move all of my furniture over to the new space.
Yet, as I drove into town after a relaxing weekend at the lake, I decided to do a quick drive by the office to pick up my mail. After all, I knew Steve's birthday gift was there and I couldn't wait for him to open it!!
Well, a surprise we did receive! Only, it wasn't the bacon press I was so thrilled to try out!
Instead, the new renters were under the impression that their contract began mid-November and that permission was given to move in early.
The knee jerk reaction in me was like, "WTF?!?"
That response only strengthened when I walked into my office only to find that all of my yoga studio items, the bathroom items, and the hall items had been deposited in my 10' x 12' space.
Clearly, until this point, I had been fairly lackadaisical in how I wanted this relationship to start.
We set various meetings today to (1) discover where the communication trail derailed from the tracks, and (2) decide where this new relational train should head.
This diagram below helped me keep my cool through it all:
One circle represents me, and my life. It's my territory. It's my soul. It's my purpose for being here, my learning lessons, and the decisions I make in this journey.
The other circle represents everyone else--each person's soul, their individual life, and their own experience being human.
The middle circle represents a possible relationship.
This is the place where I get to ask the question, "What do I want in a relationship?"
This is the place where I get to decide what values and beliefs I want to share. It's also the place where I get to see if other people want to share this space with me and be on the same path. (Now, I'm not saying that the path will last forever, because we all know friends, lovers, and even family members come and go over the course of life).
But, the center circle is really a place where a meeting of the minds and hearts can occur.
What I love most about this diagram, is that I am responsible for myself, and myself only. Stepping all the way over into someone else's circle is acting as though I want to change them in order to make the relationship be a certain way.
It's almost refreshing to know that I can just be who I am, know what I want in my relationships, and then give other people the freedom to be themselves.
So, in the context of this new office roommate situation, I get the choice to decide what I want in this relationship. Instead of sitting around, being pissed off that my office looks like a bomb went off inside, I'm going to focus on the aspects I do want in this relationship from this point forward.
Within our shared office space, I choose to focus on having:
- a clean, welcoming space in which to work
- a high-vibration place full of positive people and ongoing growth
- everyone take responsibility for themselves
- clear, open lines of communication ... including expectations, timelines, and solutions to problems
- people who are excited about life, and are open to the miracles within it
- silence when needed
- laughter often
- a sharing of ideas and materials
- an ability to be authentically unique, and a respect for those differences
- a destination that is full of joy and success for all involved
These are just a few, but starting to list the positive aspects that I want to see flourish in this relationship already sets a new tone.
I know that by consciously choosing to start over, I can give this relationship a chance to thrive.
For, it's a relationship that I think will not only benefit just us involved, but many more who will secondarily (and perhaps unknowingly) feel uplifted from the harmonious foundation we have created.
I've challenged myself in this process to use my attention in a positive, and influential manner to create the relationships I desire. How about you?