Today I’d like to talk about the most important – and often overlooked – factor that is essential for deeper, more connected relationships.
Ignoring this factor can cause a lot of heartache.
When it is properly understood and acted upon, it can bring lasting peace.
What is this magic factor, you ask?
No matter how much we bring to a relationship, we cannot force another person to connect any deeper than they are willing (or able) to go.
This truth, though seemingly obvious, is often ignored.
I should know.
I kept looking for deeper relationships with certain friends and family members for years to no avail.
No matter how much I gave to these relationships, I could never force a deeper connection if the other people didn’t have the same intent.
I’ve also seen this play out in a client’s life recently as well.
No matter how much she gave, she could never illicit the same level of care and concern from a handful of her friends and siblings.
We both butted our heads against the principle of Independent Will:
No matter how much we try to be the perfect friend, family member, or co-worker, we cannot force the internal motivations of other people to change.
Rather than tirelessly seek deeper connection with those who are unable or unwilling to do the same, we can lovingly choose to set an intention that includes the value of reciprocity in relationships.
Reciprocity is not about “dumping” everyone in our lives who fall on the shallower side of the relationship pool completely.
It is simply means that we meet and enjoy them at their comfort level.
And in turn, when we meet people who would like to have deeper, more connected relationships with us, we can accept those meaningful levels with open arms.
The point is to allow whatever level of depth the other person is comfortable with set the tone.
(Unless we are the ones who want the shallower level. In which case, it is best if the other person respects our comfort zone to avoid the reverse scenario.)
Of course, we are welcome to invite others into deeper connection with us, if we like.
But if they show resistance to our efforts, we can lovingly give them the space they feel comfortable with and recognize that deeper connections can be found with other people in our lives.
Depending on where you are finding a shallow connection in your life, this may be heartbreaking to hear.
I should know.
Some of my relationships with people “closest” to me are actually the more shallow ones. But no matter how hard I used to try to connect more deeply, I only got hurt.
Eventually I got so tired of “running around that mountain” trying to unsuccessfully please people in order to connect more deeply, that I decided to value peace more than the unreciprocated connection I craved.
This isn’t to say that I would not welcome a deeper connection with these people with open arms!
I’m just not forcing it.
At the moment, I’m still actively engaged in these people’s lives – only now I’m meeting them at their comfort level.
With peace and reciprocity as the foundation of my relationship intention for my friends and family, things flow much more smoothly.
There may still be a twinge of sadness knowing that some connections are not as deep as we would like.
But that twinge is far outweighed by the welcome peace that we can feel by accepting reality and honoring the principle of Independent Will.
Plus, this opens us up to opportunities to connect more deeply with other people in our lives – now or in the future.
We cannot force people in our lives to want the same deep level of connection that we crave. Independent Will is a principle that cannot be ignored.
However, once we recognize the comfort level of those in our lives and agree to lovingly meet them at that level, we can find peace and the chance to invite new people into our lives who may seek the same deep connection that we desire.
Reciprocity and acceptance lead to peace.
May something wonderful happen to you today,
PS – Looking to go deeper and bring more intention, peace, and joy to your life?
Up until I took Jess’ Life with Intention Online class, I had been going about life in a way that dictated that I have to be productive, busy, and successful in order to be fulfilled or complete.
Her lessons totally opened up my mind to a new way to thinking. I’ve already begun to feel more at ease with how I conduct my daily life.
I highly recommend working with Jess and taking this class!
Lisa Maithas, Lisa-Maithas.com | Washington D.C.
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