The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer
The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.
The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.
As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self. I watched both Catholic Priests and Catholic Nuns put everyone else above themselves.
I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.
Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, and as we learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs
When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age.
Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage opportunities in education and employment among other opportunities means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree or work experience.
Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life. And that is whether they remain in their lives or not. Parents are forever and so are their children.
Life is long
Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.
One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation.
Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.
The Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, if needed you can find it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Group-for-Parents-of-Estranged-Adult-Children
I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.
Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.
Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From
It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.
Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.
When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.
Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.
As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.
Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.
I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.
Peace, love and all good things …
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer