Almost every human is actively pursuing relationship. We like having friends. We are desperate for a spouse (or a dating partner). We want to be a part of group, to be in the in-crowd. We are afraid of being left out and isolated.
The reality is relationships are hard. They induce conflict, annoyances, offenses, and frustrations. They are sources of stress and they demand so much from us. Many relationships end in failure and heartbreak. Yet we still pursue them with fervor. We may spend a short period swearing off dating or friendship altogether; we may binge on Netflix and hide in our homes, but we eventually get back to it. The draw of relationships is too strong to ignore forever.
Despite their challenges, relationships remain a significant source of value in people’s lives. Here are a few thoughts to remind you why we pursue relationships, why they matter, and why they are worth fighting for.
Everybody wants to be important. Meaning and purpose are the main driver for every human soul. Relationships are the mechanism by which we measure and experience importance. Our worst punishment is solitary confinement. Our biggest fear is isolation and rejection. We need a context in which to exercise the importance we long for.
All of our struggles with relationships come when we abuse our need for validation. We act as if we are the only one in the relationship needing validation. We see others as our cheerleaders. We abuse and manipulate others to get the validation we seek.But all of the beauty within our relationships comes when we maximize our need for validation in unity with the needs of others. Harmony requires a diversity of notes. When we demand to be the only note, the music of meaning does not reverberate in our souls. The strange reality is that we are at our best when we serve. We receive the sense of importance by loving and empowering others and receiving the same from those around us.
Just like the sound of harmony, we are more beautiful together than we are alone. There are things in life that are too great for any one human to contain. Truth. Love. The reason we long for relationships is because we are searching for these transcendent things. We want something more than ourself. And as hard as it is, as frustrating and annoying as it can be, we know deep down that meaning is bigger than the parameters of our lives.
The meaning of life is like one of those doors in SciFi movies that takes two matching keys to unlock. We cannot do it ourselves. We need to be who we are in conjunction with others in order to experience the best of life. We cannot find meaning without relationships. And that is the reason we seek it out relentlessly. And something that should be celebrated.