Why you should read this – about 3 minutes
We are genetically hardwired for close, nurturing relationships. Our species could not have survived without them.
Before recent times, we were absolutely dependent upon one another for our survival. We understood our lives required interdependence, and we valued our relationships above all else. We did not doubt that interdependence as we do now, as divorce rates clearly indicate.
In the last 50 years we have been conditioned to believe in “personal, independence” but what that really translates into is separation, isolation, loneliness, and children who are less likely to have successful relationships themselves.
Relationships are the most important thing we do. Close and nurturing relationships provide the best opportunity we have to meet our most important need of all, the need to nurture, the need to love, the need for nurturing and the need for love.
The real “fabric” of civilization is the family unit. This is where we learn our most vital life skills. We learn them in a unique way, beginning at the moment of conception. Some experts now conclude a third of our personality is formed before we are born.
This is a real wake up call. We must accept the fact that the most important education in our lives happens in the first 1000 days of our existence, beginning at the moment of conception.
The skills we learn, the safety we have, and the nurturing we receive, in those first 1000 days, are what teach us how to interact with the broader world. If we don’t get the skills there, we most likely will not get them. But, as an adult, we can retrain our infant brain to do them a lot better.
Close and nurturing relationships are even more important to our development as a functional human being than food and shelter.
If you want to read further about what happens when humans are not nurtured, here is an article from the Harvard Gazette titled Breathtakingly Awful about a study of the disastrous effects of neglect on infant orphans in a state run facility in Romania.
We may think we nurture our babies, but how many of us put our work in front of our families, and trust our babies to non-family systems. Granted, sometimes it is necessary for parents to work, and sometimes family members are not the “best” choice for care givers.
This is not a moralistic view. We are all doing the best we can. But, I truly believe we must change what we are doing; because it obviously is not working. Humanity has not evolved socially.
We are great tool makers, but the way we relate to each other is still much more like savage primates than evolved beings. We are no less violent today than in any other civilizations in the last 5000 years as this recent article from Notre Dame demonstrates.
All humans seek fulfillment. Those who seek fulfillment in relationships with material goods fail to find it. Some find fulfillment in a relationship with the divine. But, the vast majority of us seek fulfillment in relationships with each other.
Relationships are mirrors. They reflect back to us who we are, and what value we bring to those around us. If we fail to learn how to create and maintain safe and nurturing relationships, we suffer, and we usually cause those around us to suffer also. In a very real way, Relationships are the truth, and the only proof of our existence.
The information in Emotions and Choice explains why we need to update the skills we learned in our Environmental Genome with newer ones that can produce a lot higher degree of accuracy. These are all vitally important skills we need to master because, as you already know, in our relationships, we will use all of them.
Whenever we think about relationships, we automatically think about couples. Our brain, on the other hand, only sees that as one kind of relationship, because all our brains do is relationships. Time, space, distance, textures, colors, flavors, sounds, emotions, difficult or easy, likes, dislikes, anxieties, biases and prejudices.
Everything we think, or do, relates to something else. Every relationship has a purpose. Understanding how relationships work, and practicing better relationship skills can change our lives significantly is a very short period of time.
Next: Emotions are a unique kind of relationship.
© 2017 Douglas McKee