November 2012: Adventures in Relationships
So what to write about this month? What have I been working on recently? Well, being married, there’s always relationship stuff going on. Being a therapist, issues are raised on a near daily basis that can have a personal affect on me. The last book I read was about narcissism. Before that, the 2nd edition of Motherless Daughters. And before that, The Hobbit.
My notes after reading The Hobbit indicate the themes that stuck out for me were harrowing adventures and friendships. As I think back to that book, what strikes me is the unlikelihood of the friendships that developed. Under normal circumstances, the hobbit the book is named for and the companions he has adventures with (dwarfs) would not normally take a long journey together. But with the guidance of the wizard Gandolf, not only did friendships flourish between unlikely characters, but also new acquaintances were made who eventually helped each other out at significant moments.
As well, not only does the hobbit learn more about himself throughout his journey; but he also learns more about the creatures beyond the safety and security of his home base. Some creatures are dangerous and to be avoided if at all possible; others are friendly and necessary alliances to successfully navigate the rigors of their journey. And of course, some appear dangerous but end up in the friendly alliance category.
I’m sure we can all think of people that fit these categories that we have encountered on our journeys through life. Some making a greater impact than others—either positive or negative—shaping how our journey goes along. Some making it safer, others adding to the danger.
My re-reading of Motherless Daughters actually fits with this theme as well. A note I made about that book was that my mother’s life, as well as her death, has influenced who I have become. Her presence, as well as her absence, has impacted my journey: the adventures I have faced; the friendships developed, broken, or avoided; decisions made; paths not taken. I have on occasion wondered what my life would be like had my birth mother not died. Where would I have grown up? What schools would I have attended? What would I believe about myself? Would I have different friends, a different husband? The possibilities are endless. And really, all the mulling returns to where I am and how my journey has actually meandered along. The paths that were taken, the friendships made, locations visited, places lived.
Even the book about narcissism can find its way into this theme. As we journey along and encounter various people and adventures, we, at times, have to learn new skills to navigate better. We are all somewhere along the spectrum of narcissism—from healthy self-awareness to damaging unawareness of our true selves. This also means we daily encounter people somewhere on this spectrum. And the more damaging the unawareness, the more difficult the interpersonal relationships. If we cannot view ourselves or others in healthy terms, we cannot interact in healthy ways.
So what have you been reading lately? How has it affected your view of the world, relationships, your journey through life?
May your adventures on your journey add to your character, your relationships, and your outlook.