i don't know why i'm tempted here to say relationships are stupid, but...well...relationships are stupid.
and i'm not just talking romantic relationships, either. i'm talking about any relationship that any two people share. and even within a family relationship, you have to take each pairing, because nobody reacts the same way to everyone. although i must say that families hold a little advantage. for instance, it wasn't until *t* came up to visit me this summer that the house of dragons' rest were able to look at me with a lot more comprehension in their eyes and say to me, "now i see where you get it."
with the rest of everyone, when you meet someone, there's a multiverse of history and culture, mores and belief structures, subconscious reactions and individual nature all waiting beneath the surface of a smile and friendly demeanor. some things about a person are malleable, able to be influenced. others are hard-wired. some people are self-aware enough to be aware of the hard-wiring. some choose to work to install a completely new program. some like it the way it is. some accept that it simply Is What Is. most aren't that self-aware.
when two people agree to relate to one another, a subtle dance ensues as they subconsciously figure out how much they will relate together. how deeply. for how long. and when two people decide to wade into the quagmire that is relationship as defined by words such as "friendship," or "like family," or "lover," then they have now willingly sunk themselves up to their elbows and eyeballs into all those unspoken, hidden, and undefinable things that make up the multiverse of a human soul.
and fools that we are, somehow we come to believe that since we're speaking the same language, we're actually speaking the same language.
we believe that others approach life the way we approach life. think as we think. take for granted what should, naturally, be taken for granted. define "common sense" by the same factors.
oh, sure, we say, "of course not! i know everyone has their own way of doing stuff. pfft! c'mon, what do you take me for?" but inside, privately, we wonder how come they don't want what we want, wouldn't do what we would do, why they do a thing and think it's smart when we can clearly see it was completely stupid.
and so we call them these things. we call them selfish, or cowardly, or stupid. we call their ideas and thoughts and needs moronic and trivial. or we say, "i love you, so i say this with love: get over it," and wonder at this other person's sudden flare of nuclear temper.
there's no way we can know a person. not like they know themselves. they know how their world works, how their multiverse is strung together. they may not be able to completely describe it, but they know and understand. and if we are to have a true relationship with that person, then we must be willing to step into their multiverse and learn their rules. E may not exactly equal mc^. an eye for an eye might be too tame a price. or it could be a world without shrimp, so we learn to love oysters.
whatever it is, in a relationship, we're not forcing someone to live by our multiverse's definitions. we're asking to learn how to live in theirs. we're not trying to bend anyone to fit our comfort, not yelling at them or guilt-tripping them because they fail to meet our standards.
a relationship is the wonderful thing created when two people relate. to relate is to have a sympathetic connection with another person. and to be sympathetic is to have compassion for them. to have compassion is to be merciful.
where is the mercy in criticism? in name-calling? in passive-aggression? in inflicting pain to get even, or even make a point? where is the sympathy and compassion in reveling in the anger and allowing the pain it caused you to define a part of who you are?
all of those things aren't part of a relationship. all those things are selfishly motivated and fear-based.
what are you afraid of? what are you hiding from? why do you hold on to your anger?
relationships are the cause of more headaches, illness, injury, and death than probably every other threat to the human species combined. but they're worth it if there is compassion and mercy coming from both sides. and the wellspring from which all these things are drawn?