In any relationship, it is not the things that we like about another person, but the things that we don’t like, that we are committing to.
If we spend enough time with a person, it is inevitable that we will find things that we do not like about them. When deciding if we want to spend even more time with that person, especially if we are considering a committed, longterm relationship with them, whether it is platonic, romantic, or business, we have to consider how much the things that bother us really bother us.
The good qualities of a person work themselves out. The things we like about a person make no demands of us in terms of patience, tolerance, or understanding. They do not require our compassion. The things that annoy us, make us wince or cringe, and get under our skin, those are the things that test the limits of who we are and how much we really want to be with this other person.
We must decide if the things that bother us are enough to make us quit the relationship or if we can live with them because we are most likely not going to change the other person. Do their idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, and flaws fall on the side of generosity, warmth, and kindness? Or do they fall on the side of selfishness, coldness, and cruelty?
A relationship, if it is to be meaningful in any way, requires us to put our hopes and our dreams in the hands of another. At some point, they will let us down. They will fail us. We will be hurt and disappointed. We must ask ourselves whether or not we can live with the way in which they will do this. Good intentions, in spite of what is said about them, go a long way.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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