It goes without saying that relationships are important. We are social creatures and know ourselves through the feedback of a community. Even in the best of circumstances, maintaining relationships that thrive takes a lot of work and savvy.
It doesn’t help, then, that our culture conspires against our relationships. The following three factors are ever present in the ether of our lives (whether we know it or not) and impede good relationships.
You might remember the greek myth of Narcissus. He was renowned for his beauty and was especially prideful. The greek god Nemesis exploited those qualities and had Narcissus fall in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. He died lonely and infatuated only with himself.
Think about your consumer culture. It plays off the narcissus in each of us. It wants us to believe we are the center of the universe, touting individualism and unconcerned about a reality beyond our private lives.
This is an overly dependent belief that only that which works is worth pursuing. What is true is what works. If your relationship works, great. If it doesn’t, jettison it along with all the other effluvia that doesn’t work in your life.
Your worth lies in achievement. Value lies in being practical. There is much to pragmatism that is good. Many of the good things we enjoy today come from pragmatism. The issue though, is our pragmatic tendency to place value on ourselves and others from what we do rather than who we are.
This is unbridled restlessness. We flit to and fro, hither and yonder at light speeds in a vain attempt to get on top of life. The faster we go, we believe, the more success will be assured. If Satan can’t tempt you through normal channels, he’ll make you busy. The consequence is, of course, the depletion of a deep, interior life. The speed of life only propels us off the surface of life, like a stone skipped across water.
Relationships flourish when we are more concerned with the other in our midst than we are with ourselves. Relationships flourish when we know each other at the core of their identity; their heart. Relationships flourish when we slow down long enough to share unfettered time with family and friends.
What else might impede meaningful relationships?