What is Relationship?

What is relationship?

There are many ways to describe what makes a good relationship versus a bad relationship, but I think at its core, relationship is an act of being seen.

We humans have a troubled dynamic with being seen. On one hand, we need to be seen. We develop our identity through the reflection of the people who raise us, our friends, and our partners. On the other hand, there are many times we want to be invisible, to hide, to not have our wormy and awful parts on display for fear we will be rejected.

Where couples get into trouble, is when we demand our partner sees us while at the same time we are holding up a shield. When we go into an intellectual, or instructional, or stoic, or critical, or demanding stance, we are shielded with protection. That protection is there for good reason, and that protection also puts a wall between us and our partner. It is truly only through vulnerability that we can be seen clearly.

Of course, it usually doesn’t feel safe to be that vulnerable. So we are caught in a dreaded catch 22. If I lower my shield, and really let myself be seen, I fear I will be rejected. If I keep my shield up, I am more protected, but also much harder to see.

Wesley Little