Whenever we choose to have a relationship with someone, we are signing up to the following difficult conditions:
- There will be times when the other person is not available to us in the way we would like them to be.
- There will be times when we disagree with the other person, but will be too tired to fight our corner.
- There will be times when the other person is more concerned about themselves than us.
- There will be times when we have to tag along with an activity that we may not have chosen.
- There will be times when we are left out of activities which we would have liked to participate in.
- There will be times when we gear up for something enjoyable, only to have it taken away from us if the other person changes their mind.
- There will be times when the balance of fairness goes against us.
- There will be times when we are prevented from doing what we would like to do, because of our concern for the other person.
- There will be times when the normal aspects of a relationship, such as physical reassurance, sex, and even kindness, will be absent.
- There will be times when we ask ourselves if the relationship is worth it.
But we can phrase all these another way, doing justice to the fact that the other person has their own life and is a real person:
- Like all humans, they are independent.
- Like all humans, they have their own mind.
- Like all humans, they sometimes exercise self-care.
- Like all humans, they have their own tastes.
- Like all humans, they have other friends.
- Like all humans, they are changeable.
- Like all humans, they are not always able to be fair.
- Like all humans, they are vulnerable.
- Like all humans, they are not always able to relate.
- Like all humans, they are an uncertain bet.
Finally, to reinforce the point, we can apply these affirmations to ourselves:
- I am independent.
- I have my own mind.
- I exercise self-care.
- I have my own tastes.
- I have a number of friends.
- I am changeable.
- I sometimes fail to be fair to those close to me.
- I am vulnerable.
- I am not always able to relate.
- I am unpredictable.
These affirmations sound much easier when applied to ourselves. This is because we tend to feel more pain when other people do them. When we do them, it seems natural, and doesn’t feel like it needs justifying.
If we want to become more patient with others, then we can try the following contemplation whenever we meet another human:
“This person is human, just like me. We are both independent, have our own mind, exercise self-care, have our own tastes, have a number of friends, are changeable, sometimes fail to be fair, are vulnerable, are not always able to relate, and are unpredictable.”
In the end this contemplation will make us happier and more compassionate. Rather than feeling isolated and frustrated, we will feel friendly and easygoing.