Exploring our relationship to service will positively impact every area of our lives. It’s time to learn what unique gifts we can offer in life and love.
First of all, what is relationship to Service? Secondly, what does it have to do with your relationships with others? The relationship to Service is about becoming aware of what you have to offer and what you contribute. If we operate from the premise that we are all unique and have distinctly different things to contribute, then the relationship to Service becomes synonymous with the contribution we make. We’re going to look at the aspect of Service that applies to relationships.
Relationship is obviously about giving and receiving, but many only focus on the aspect of what they want, not on what they are going to give.
The “Why are we together?” question we ask relative to the relationships we are in prompts other questions we ask ourselves: “Why am I here with this person?” and “How can I, as a unique human being, make a contribution to the other human being in this relationship?” “What can I do to make this a valuable, enriching, and satisfying relationship for both of us?”
Your Vision Puzzle
I want to address what pieces must be in order to be able to develop an effective Vision for a relationship—knowing your contribution is one of the pieces of the puzzle for developing that Vision. A life of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment is also a life of meaning. The way for us to live a life of meaning is by living a life of engagement. We can’t find deep meaning in things if we’re not engaged in them. And we can’t engage ourselves in things that are meaningless to us. It is a Catch-22; that’s why we must explore the relationships to Self and to Source—to provide us with a wealth of information to draw from. What creates passion and engagement for you? What guides and inspires you?
We begin to look at all this information—your likes, dislikes, desires, interests, passions, talents, gifts and even your dark side from your relationship to Self—and then we add what guides you and what inspires you from your relationship to Source. Then the final element, the contribution you long to make comes from the relationship to Service, as if they are all ingredients in the recipe that you follow in order to develop your desired relationship Vision.
I believe people are born with an intuitive sense of what makes them unique.
Sometimes it shows up clearly and other times indirectly. Some people barely think about it and it remains unclear their whole lives. Others seem to be born knowing. Your Service, your contribution as applied to relationship, is not something you get paid for, but it can be. Think of it more as your daily expression of who you are; these are the qualities that show up with you wherever you go and whatever you do, if you are playing full out and striving to reach your ultimate potential.
When you are in alignment with your relationship to Service, and you are contributing, you can’t help but feel good because you know you are making a difference. Again, I don’t mean professionally, but just on the level of human interaction. When you have developed your Vision for a fulfilling relationship and you are living it, it brings deep joy, contentment, and fulfillment.
If you haven’t yet articulated your Vision for a relationship, there are still reasons why you long to create deep partnerships. This is obviously a personal journey; no one can tell you what your three relationships should be, and how to weave those ingredients into the tapestry of your personal relationship Vision. As a matter of fact, most of us need to eliminate some things to be able to do this work. We may need to let go of our family’s expectations for us. Let go of society’s structures that trap us, and our childhood experiences that shape our expectations. All these aspects are often in need of a serious overhaul.
Even if you find that you are struggling to express your relationship Vision, most of us can tune in and feel the difference between when we are in the flow and when we are not. Over the long term, it is actually more challenging to withhold our contribution, our gifts, and our love than it is to get clear on the relationship to Service and create our vision for a fulfilling relationship and act on it.
We find that our relationships become sustainable when we engage our deeper drives, which I refer to as our dark side. This includes your deep sense of justice, what drives you, and it comes from deep needs within. Having our “darkness” articulated out loud is what makes the difference. Metaphorically speaking, it takes it from the darkness of the shadows and out into the light. Meaning, you are having and owning your darkness, instead of it having you; and that difference is exactly what shifts you from being unconscious and out of control into the power seat of what you desire to create in your primary partnership.
What mobilizes you to be of service? What are you longing to offer to someone else? And what are you aching for in return? It has to be something you’re willing to “live with” long-term, and you want to feel passionate and engaged; because, if you don’t, you’re simply not going to stay through the rough times. Your relationship to Service is the “why” that sits underneath your Relationship Vision statement. And it puts you in full command.
When we create a vision in business we ask three basic questions. I’ve adapted those same questions for your Vision for a fulfilling relationship:
- Your relationship to Self: Who are you and what’s your dark side?
- Your relationship to Source: What guides and inspires you?
- Your relationship to Service: What are the gifts and love you offer? And wish to receive in return?
Answering these questions will get you a few steps closer to developing your relationship Vision.