“In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.” –‘Contact’

For a loveologist, everything is about the relationship. It is the first thing I notice in any given situation and the thing that I most work to cultivate. How I feel about myself and the world starts and ends with the myriad relationships that make my days. This can be hard on my positivity quest as many of my relationships are not predictable or stable. (Think teenagers, although babies and midlife crisis and aging would probably all fit the bill as well). Still, my life gets breath and meaning from relating. I believe that my ability to relate provides the truest reflection and for better or worse acts as the barometer of my days.

 

I remember once reading something that struck me early in my marriage when things were challenging for us and I often wondered why I wanted to be married so much to begin with. The quote as best I can remember it said “choose your partner wisely, for it will create 90% of the joy or sorrow of your life.” Having been married now for more than half my life, I would have to say that it is more true than not. When things are working between us, my life also works. When things are not working- so goes my life.

As accurate as the quote is for your primary partner, it also rings true for all of the other relationships that make life what it is. Whether the relationships that fill your time are familial, professional, romantic, sexual, friends or acquaintances- they all mirror back to us how we are living and exert a force on our sense of who we are. This is more true for some people than others and the difference in how we prioritize relating can sometimes be at the root of relationship issues.

What I have noticed though in my positivity quest is that when I just focus on the moment to moment experience of relating, I am satisfied (well usually). Where my positivity takes a beating isn’t usually in the relating, it is in my interpretations. Silent judgments , old insecurities and tired self esteem all hold secret meetings in my mind and before I even know it, the work of relating has lost its joy. It is a weighty thing, where I struggle to find my balance. It makes me lose my basic curiosity about who is in front of me.

On my quest, I want the joy of knowing people, trusting that they will take the best of what they get from me and let go of the rest — as I hope to do for them. In the whole great universe, the truth is that what makes this life most meaningful and happy is each other.