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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Challenging Love

I just thought of a sports analogy that is ignored in 'real' life (I know this blog is fairly anti-competitive, and this point does not want to take anything away from that stance, so bare with this point please).  In order for someone or something to be the best this status must be proven regularly, repeatedly, and sustained.  This is a simple logical truth regarding competition and ranking.  This point being said, think about what it takes not to rank oneself against others but merely to challenge one's own self.

What is it that makes us sharper?  In sports it is said that you can only get better by challenging yourself, you get better by going against the best.  Challenging yourself daily, or perhaps repeatedly, is the only way to hone, develop, and maintain a skill-set.  I could go on for days about how it is these moments that challenge us that confirm our resolve, make us 'better', stronger, more convicted, etc.  It is essential to keep pushing ourselves or striving to be better if we want to expect consistent of greater things of ourselves and to try to live up to these expectations.  Sports, business, life.  Challenge yourself and your strengths show through and new strengths you didn't know you had come about.  A diamond is created by pressure.  Heard that before?

Now take this line of thought and apply it to relationships.  We get involved in relationships, yet we don't challenge them.  We don't truly test them.  It is only in the face of temptation that a true relationship is tested.  You will not love something that you haven't struggled with or fought for.  But it is not about fighting, it is about testing yourself, challenging yourself.  Why don't we do this as a culture?  It is not viewed as appropriate to spend time with another person if you are involved in a relationship.  There is fear, hesitation, worry.  But why?  Why are we so hesitant to find out if the one we are with is really where we want to be?  We get upset about 'cheating', yet there is plenty of doubt – both scientific and practical – as to whether humans are wholly monogamous creatures.  Society has created a culture that values, rewards, and expects a settling of us into monogamous relationships (case in point legal rewards for marriage, tax breaks, etc.).  What would biology say about this?  Are we not here simply to procreate the species?

This being said, 'wo/man' is said to be a social being and need human to human compassion and caring.  So where is the happy medium?  To me, I think it is about testing oneself, and one's relationships.  If you are involved with someone, don't you want them to know they want to be with you?  Why are they not challenging themselves daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Etc?  The more people you spend time with the more you realize what you want in life.  To me, I think we should all be looking at things openly.  Life should be about two things.  Honesty, and following what one thinks is the right thing and thus wants to do.  (yes, again this can be seen to conflict with other posts – but it does not.  If society constructs individuals to think more inclusively about society and beyond themselves, then their desires will reflect more of the stuff I have been talking about in other posts).  In relationships, it seems that we end up committing and staying together out of a subconscious belief in duty and responsibility, yet more realistically mostly in failure (as the divorce rates keep rising).  I believe relationships should be about openness, and a contextual understanding that allows us all to realize that we want people to be involved with us because they ultimately want to, not because they have to.  How many people have been or are in relationships that feel confining, or entrapping?  Most people have been at some point, yet could they spend time with other people to either be reaffirmed, or to find a better option?  It is so common to go away and miss someone, or to spend time with someone else, and realize that ultimately the time apart simply shows that you are fine where you are.  “The simple thought of her means more to me than another's presence.”  Good quote, but how do you know until you have been both away and in another's presence?

As a society, we need to open ourselves to being more friendly, more open, and more experimentative.  Nothing is known without trying to know it.  And yet what is the best way to learn, is it by doing it or by not doing it?  I think it takes both.  Just as no athlete will ever reach their peak training on their own, so is the case with human's and relationships.  We will never truly find our place without constant challenge to our current place – both in presence and absence.  Learning through failure is just as important – if not more so – than learning through success.  

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