How Do You Want to Relate to Others?

By Chris Chittenden

"The pathos of man is that he hungers for personal fulfillment and for a sense of community with others."

… J. Saunders Redding (1906-1988) US Historian, Educator, Essayist and Critic

This is the last episode in our journey to establish some foundational values based on the four questions I posed in the August e-zine:

  1. What is at the heart of how you want to experience life?
  2. What is most important to you about what you want to create in life?
  3. What is central to how you want to approach life given an uncertain future?
  4. What is the basis of how you want to relate to others?

My responses to the first three questions has been "Gratitude", "Balance" and "Intuition". What have you come up with?

This month we will explore the question, "What is the basis of how you want to relate to others?"

My answer will probably not surprise you and it has certainly been the easiest answer for me to find as I have given this a lot of thought over time. However, how I have come to my answer might be a little from left field for you.

It begins with a question most people do not even consider, "What does it mean to relate to another human being?"

When I have spoken to others about what is at the heart of relationships, they almost invariably say "trust". Certainly trust plays a key part in our relationships with others, however we have all been in relationships where there is little or no trust. This leads us to the conclusion that relating to others is ultimately not just about trust. Something else is in play here.

So let us look at this another way. In the ontological approach, relating to others is about how they will impact our future. Consider it this way. We each go through life with our eye on the future and our decisions and actions are taken with a view of creating the future as we want it to be. Unfortunately for us, everyone else is doing the same thing leading to interactions where one person allows another to create a future other than the one they may desire. As we go through these interactions some people are more determined than others to have the future the way they want it. They tend to be more aggressive in the way they interact with others and will most likely be those we trust the least.

These people use what I term the 'Paradigm of Control' as a means of getting others to do what they want them to do. They use strategies such as varying degrees of force, threat, manipulation and emotional blackmail which are all designed to reduce us to one choice - that of the speaker.

This is certainly not the way that I want to relate to others, and so I choose the 'Paradigm of Trust' as my preferred means of relating. I want to go through life in a cooperative and collaborative way that involves a mutually beneficial journey with others. I guess there is no surprise in that!

So there you have it. My four responses that define my values are Balance, Intuition, Gratitude and Trust - 'BIG-T' for short. Did you ultimately come up with something?

With 'BIG-T' in mind, in the final e-zine for the year, I will talk about how to use those values to create alignment in life and manifest our preferred ways of being.

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© 2015 Chris Chittenden