For many multiple unknown months now I have been having to think, rethink, assess, reassess, refine, modify, embrace, and discard many aspects of my personal life. A very large part of this time-energy redirection was caused by the onset of COVID-19 in late 2019 and early 2020. No surprise, the ripple-effects of the pandemic are still a lingering impact. That necessary and expanded “redirection” was further caused by my 82-yr old mother’s Stage 5 & 6 Dementia. That second, newly expanded “redirection” by dementia was further exacerbated by my sister’s drug-relapse this past May 16th and 17th and as a result her consequential homelessness then ultimate move-in with Mom and I.
When local and not-so-local friends—two or three very dear friends—recently asked about my well-being, how I was doing and how my Mom was doing, I was candidly honest with them. Some listened empathetically, some consoled me and helped me laugh, and others lectured me.
I’ve never been a fan of sugar-coating factual reality. Furthermore, being unabashedly candid with others, especially “closer friends,” is a True-to-Myself and thus true to others life-principle I live by. I will never sacrifice or betray that principle, ESPECIALLY if it only makes them feel good or myself feel good. I am not ashamed in the LEAST of this personality principle to which I hold to airtight. It’s healthy existence (protection?) for myself, is not designed for anyone else. After all, no one on this planet will ever be confused or slightly unsure of what Dwain feels, thinks, and does. And I firmly believe there is a ton of value with this principle and condition. Some/many do not or never fully recognize that value. Nevertheless, I give it out for the sake of integrity and dignity… for myself and for them; they deserve that from me. And yes, I expect it, or hope to get it, in (equal?) return. I think this is completely fair.
Therefore, I sense I need another brutally honest, introspective checkup. I want to further examine myself and the various components and subcomponents of this principle within human relations. You might call this blog-post a Principle Checkup, for me and perhaps anyone else who wishes to join. As a result, I’ve come up with these nine questions.
1 — What is the number one need in every human’s life, or the mental-emotional-physical needs?
Is it feeling and knowing you are loved, valued, irreplaceable? Personally, I would rank this need and its three subcomponents pretty high up the checklist, if not all the way at the top. PsychologyToday.com and Dr. Glenn Geher, Ph.D. has this to say, or rather what the antithesis of being and knowing you are loved, valued, and irreplaceable are:
While love often gets a bad rap as some nebulous experience that is really only for dreamers, all kinds of evidence suggests that, in fact, love is a real feature of our evolved psychology3. Love, which seems to encourage people to form deep connections and bonds with others, plays a powerful role in not only cultivating happiness, but in helping people to develop healthy alliances and communities that have the capacity to lead to all kinds of benefits. Further, love actually is represented in various neurological and hormonal processes4. In short: Love is a real thing.
In the human evolutionary story, forming close, trusting, and loving connections with others is a core feature of how we thrive at all levels. Love is, in short, a foundational element of thriving. And this fact is true for people across the globe5.Dr. Glenn geher, ph.d. – state university new york; founding director of the campus’ Evolutionary studies program (evos)
But there are many forms of love, yes? Are some love forms better than others? Should we strive to obtain all of its forms during our lifetimes? Are some of us incapable of these forms, or certain love forms? Would that be a cop-out? More on this later.
2 — Is our need for three-component love clearly, proactively, and accurately expressed to others? Do others correctly interpret that/those expression(s)? Why or why not?
I will now reserve my own comments about these nine questions unless I feel they’d direct and/or pique and invoke some closer introspection.
3 — How many forms of love truly exist?
Since ancient Greece many modern anthropologists suggest a minimum of six basic forms of love existing in human relations. In their Greek form they are:
For a detailed explanation of these six forms of love go to my February 2016 blog-post: Untapped Worlds – Maior Liberatio. Scroll down to the “Love and Compersion” section. On the subject of not striving and obtaining at least some degree of all six love-forms, I personally feel all six are absolutely reachable. In addition, all six most definitely contribute to a more fulfilling, more whole, more happy life and human relations. Period. I speak from first-hand experience.
4 — What type of relations with other humans do we have in our lives? What types have we had in our past? Which ones worked best and which ones collapsed? Why and why not?
PsychologyToday.com and Robert Taibbi, LCSW share the five most common types of relations: four bad, one good. Those five types, their climate, dynamics, and long-term effect are as follows, however, for the sake of time and space I will only post each with their long-term effect; maybe that will interest viewers to go read the entire article. It is well worth it, after all, recognition and accurate identification of problem-issues is the first step…
- Competitive/Controlling — There’s a jockeying for power about whose way is better, who wins the argument, whose expectations and standards do we follow, whose career is more important. There are a lot of arguments that quickly turn into power struggles, battles over getting the last word.
—Long-term impact: These couples [or friends] get tired of battling and divorce [detach], or one finally concedes, or they both finally define their own turfs that they are in charge of.
- Active/Passive — One partner [or friend] is essentially in charge and does most of the heavy lifting in the relationship while the other goes along. While some of these start out as competitive relationships with one conceding, more often this imbalance has been there from the start. There are few arguments, though occasionally the active person will become resentful for carrying the load or not getting enough appreciation. They explode or act out, but then feel bad and go back to the same role [routine trap].
—Long-term impact: The risk for the active partner [or friend] is that she/he will get burned out or resentful and leave. The partner left behind either needs to become more independent or find someone else to take over.
- Aggressive/Accommodating — Here the power difference is not based on caretaking, but on raw power. One partner [or friend] is clearly in charge, and the other accommodates less out of passivity and more out of fear. While the intimidating partner [or friend] will easily blow up, there is little real conflict. There is emotional abuse and sometimes physical abuse.
—Long-term impact: Either the relationship continues, or the accommodating partner/friend finally gets the courage to leave/detach. The aggressive partner/friend will do what is necessary to try to pull the other back into the relationship. If that doesn’t work, the abusive partner/friend will likely find someone else to replace the other.
- Disconnected/Parallel Lives — There is little arguing, but also little connection. They go on autopilot, with both having their own routines. The relationship seems stale, they have little in common; they are more roommates [distant acquaintances] than lovers [or close friends].
—Long-term impact: Midlife or older-age crises may cause one or both to feel that time is running out. This may precipitate arguing and efforts to either finally revitalize the relationship or leave. Or, they continue saying to themselves that this is good enough, or that they’re too old to change [then gradually wither away].
- Accepting/Balanced — The couple [or friends] are able to work together as a team, complementing each other. They each recognize and actively accept the other’s strengths. They’ve got each other’s back, both are interested in helping the other be who he or she wants to be. They are able to revitalize the relationship when it begins to grow stale; they are able to solve problems rather than sweeping them under the rug.
—Long-term impact: Midlife and older-age crises may arise, but they are able to work through them.
5 — Were some of your past relationships or current ones similar/identical or a sub-form of a Black Hole in outer space?
6 — Were the expectations for the best or failed relationships reasonable or unreasonable expectations? Why and why not?
7 — Where do our blueprints-of-relations originate? Do they flex and/or adapt over time to everchanging conditions, both environmentally and amongst our human daily/weekly engagements? Why or why not?
8 — Are certain man-made social-systems, ideologies, belief/faith systems flexible, adaptable, and sustainable from subatomic micro-levels to organic-human levels up to macro-levels of our Universe and the Cosmos? Why or why not?
9 — Given the above (honest!) answers, am I at a healthy juncture? Am I thriving, becoming a more whole human-being? Or am I in need of (serious?) change, redirection, and/or bigger better refinements?
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In my near 6-decades of living, these are questions I have sometimes asked myself when my circumstances and those immediately around me take a noticeable, significant, or life-changing shift. Some are like trimmers, others like an earthquake. To me this 9-point litmus test on say the pitch, roll, and yaw of my airplane’s performance, has to be a regular, maybe even frequent introspection and raw honest maintenance routine. Seriously, what’s the consequences of not doing it? How obtuse of me, right? 😉
No surprise, I’ve been going through these checks—a few of them new—these last 3-5 years. But inescapably these last 9-months. The process damn sure has its annoyances, its frustrations. It’s painfully exhausting sometimes. Yet, one predictable, consistent outcome after doing it is…
I eventually find my balance and my buoyancy returns in order to handle my ship’s rudder or airplane’s stick. And so I know the next inevitable shift or storm I will have gained more treasured experience to cope, survive, and hopefully find calmer, pristine Seas of Living Tranquility.
Eh, or I won’t. Hah!
What about you? Might this litmus test help or has it, in your own version? Share it if you like, or as much or as little that works and doesn’t work for you. 🙂 Also, I’d enjoy reading your answers to some or all of my above questions.
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