“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.” -Paulo Coelho “Eleven Minutes”
One of my favorite quotes from one of the best books I read during 2013. It’s been turning over in my head for several months now. What is freedom? It is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. What is ownership? The act, state or right of possessing something; to have or hold as property; to have power or mastery over.
I feel too often we see in our relationships that one or both parties try to maintain control or exert influence over one another. Sometimes I feel the very nature and mindset of humans is to regard things (and people) in terms of property. We talk about “my car”, “my house”, “my dog”, etc. I don’t know how often I’ve heard the introduction “my wife”, “my husband”, “my partner”, or even “my friend”. I don’t think people even think about it as ownership, but “my” and “mine” are possessive pronouns, denoting possession.
A certain type of stability comes with the idea that someone belongs to you. It creates comfort that the person will be there for us. And don’t get me wrong, we are material beings and certain material things are the foundation of a good life. Owning a house or place in a good neighborhood makes you feel safe. Owning the appropriate clothing for the season makes us comfortable. But should possession extend to the people and relationships in our lives? It can bring stability, happiness, and satisfaction to feel secure about our relationships.
But do we need to possess the people in our lives to be happy, safe, and satisfied? People are complicated beings and will always have aspects that are uncontrollable. We need to be careful when it comes to too much attachment. We should not feel compelled to try to control or manipulate another person through feelings and emotions to get an individual to act or behave in a certain way.
It is my personal belief, that we need to be secure with ourselves first. We should have faith in ourselves and in others. We each make our own choices and are responsible for our own actions. So instead of trying to exert influence on another person, only try to control the things that are truly up to us to control- our own actions, behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and words. Begin with loving and respecting yourself. Show yourself affection. In a healthy relationship of any nature, both parties enter with mutual consent to care for each other, whether it’s a friend or lover. You can’t force another person to feel or show affection, respect, or love. All you can do, is decide whether you want to continue the relationship based off of what you are receiving and what you are needing.
The best thing in the world is to be loved for who you are. Control is contrary to experiencing love. So find someone who loves you for you, and you love them for who they are. Things may not always go smoothly, and you should absolutely communicate your needs, wants, and desires. How the other person responds, however, is outside of your control. Voice what you need and the rest you have to let go. Sometimes that means letting go of someone. Try not to look at it as a loss, but as an experience. Live the experience, feel your feelings, learn from them, and let go of the rest. For recovering co-dependents, I’d say it’s about rediscovering the freedom to be ourselves in a relationship. Yes, it’s a lot easier to conceptualize than actualize in life practice. I do believe, however, it is one of the freest ways to live.
But what would I know? I’m just a 30 year old kid with good intentions and looking to give life the best of me. :-)