"Don't make anyone a priority that only makes you an option."
I found this quote during research on relationship and commitment. First, I thought this was sound advice, but as I have continued thinking, I have changed my ideas.
One of the chief romantic notions seems to be that each partner makes the other the priority so that the wants and needs of the other take precedence over the desires of the self, leaving each in a state of sacrifice and denial. We like to think that in the end it will all come together and that we will get our needs and desires met as well. What happens, however, when we have consistently given up our hopes and dreams waiting for our turn?
This is not an argument for “Me, first,” but a review of setting a healthy universe or multiverse, if you like. As we define a center for our lives, we can healthily branch out. In my life, I hold Mother/Father/God/Goddess as Center. A strong spiritual foundation serves as support during the ebb and flow of life with all its events and circumstances.
My idea of relationships expands from the self into the community. As I honor the Higher Power in my life, I honor myself. Remembering there is something greater than we are humbles us daily, allowing us to continually be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us. Even as we describe this Power differently between us, we recognize that none of us, of our own selves has the power to bring forth life. And, life is a gift to be cherished.
Caring for my family comes from the energy I have invested in myself. The adage, “If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.” demonstrates both the understanding and the recognition that a well nourished and nurtured mother is better prepared to support her family. The same is true for all of us, regardless of gender or family obligation. When we make a dedicated effort to care for ourselves we have the resources to care for others. If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, have the precedent to love ourselves.
The greeting and blessing, Namaste, honors the light reflected in another as in one’s self. We bow to one another knowing we are each the embodiment of the Divine. I bless my friends with the next realm. These are the people who have remained in my life, present through trials and struggles, celebrating the journey with me.
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer
Friends, caring for each other, remain through thick and thin. For this reason, I believe they are the inner circle, before romantic relationships. It is possible that one might be both friend and lover, but in the instance that the romance ends, it is the friendship that remains. Notice those who comfort when the bloom has fallen from the rose. It is our friends who arrive for support and solace.
It is here that the greatest challenge will occur. We are socialized to dedicate all our time and attention to the object of our affection, to the neglect and dishonoring of our friendships. We “fall in love,” wandering off into a dizzying haze of convoluted confusion vision clouded by hormonal delusion and grasping for it all to last forever. In this state, the romantic entanglement becomes priority as we have imbued it with our every hope and dream (and fear). Push aside friends, family, self and God. Inject lover.
This is the very notion I reject. I choose to hold to my paradigm even in the face of my “romantic delusions.” I understand that others might choose to set their life up differently, but am clear from the beginning that I have other priorities and while I happy dance the dance of drunken lust, I know where my heart lies. This is the stability of my life rather than my fear of commitment. I recognize that being first in another’s life means they do not share the spiritual commitment I have. They will struggle to get their way, thinking they must give up to me. I will resent their lack of independence and long for even more of my own.
I hold that in a healthy life there are plenty of options. When I am surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances there are plenty of people to keep me company. Choosing one special one is an option. I might also choose to have several people I enjoy keeping time with. We have become so couple oriented that we miss the aspect of being social and learning to be interesting and amusing. Instead, we hope to convince another to hook up with us and to remain so, forever.
As life is an adventure, how we develop and secure relationships is fluid, free of formula – predetermined or invented. What if we allowed our lives to expand, to grow by virtue of each new encounter, so that rather than compartmentalizing our friends, family and lover, we opened the gates that all might join to compliment the love we share? Our experience of love would be so much grander; our lives so much more interesting.
My options are my priority.