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The Journey of Self-Discovery: How Relationships Shape Our Path to Wholeness

Lovers holding hand walking on the ocean symbolizing a relationship
Relationships aren't only between two people!

Learning how relationships shape my path towards a fulfilling life marked with wholeness on my journey towards self discovery is among the cornerstones to my fortress of success I have built over the past few years. When I realized that fitness was a relationship in my life, everything changed. Relationships, as previously mentioned, define us, as it's how we invest our time that shapes our lives. And what we do with our time is always in relation to some form of relationship. Athletes, for instance, view fitness as a purposeful pursuit with clear objectives; they train, they don't just work out. This active relationship evolves, grows, and constantly improves. Engaging in such a relationship brings not only enjoyment but also superior results. Ultimately, it boils down to choice—how we choose to perceive and engage with a relationship determines how that relationship serves us. I began to choose to view my relationship to fitness like an athlete would, and sure enough, 2 years later, I had accomplished a lifelong dream of being an Ironman triathlete. Relationships, when cared for through choice correctly can take you to the moon and back, if you choose wisely.

Everything we experience exists within the realm of relationships, much like a marriage embodies the essence of a relationship. Even the space shared between two objects forms a relationship; consider yourself and the pillow across the room as an example—there's a relationship defined by a certain distance and cause and effect. This relationship may entail significant distance but minimal cause and effect. On the other hand, consider the couch you're sitting on; it involves a variable distance and a substantial cause and effect. Your interaction with the couch is defined by contact and may even result in entanglement, especially if the couch seems to confine you. I recall a time when my couch became my prison; I left a dent from hours of indulgence in binge-watching TV and unhealthy habits.

Relationships vary in intensity. Some, like the bond with a musical instrument, demand dedication and time to cultivate. Once established, these relationships maintain a profound intensity, though the initial thrill may fade over time, leading the instrument to gather dust on a shelf. Relationships that are excessively intense often prove unsustainable. It's crucial to gauge and moderate the intensity of relationships to prevent them from becoming overwhelming. In the journey of self- discovery, relationships some how always shape our path to wholeness and determine how whole we end up being in the end.

Relationships can either enhance or diminish one's well-being. Depending on the nature of the relationship, it may impact one's mind, body, spirit, or all three. Alcohol, for example, had adverse effects on all aspects of my being, while my relationship with sugar primarily affected my body.

Persisting in a relationship despite recognizing its detrimental effects on the body can lead to mental anguish and self-doubt. Over time, guilt may escalate into shame, jeopardizing one's spiritual well-being. I vividly recall how cigarettes, initially harmful to the body, gradually corroded my mind and spirit as addiction took hold. Cigarettes became a metaphorical ball and chain, stifling my freedom and dimming life's beauty and light. Jealous relationships like these have a knack for souring an otherwise good life, turning experiences sour and diminishing life's vibrancy.

Regardless of their form, relationships define our existence. The time invested in them, the distance maintained, and the intensity nurtured shape our lives. Therefore, it's crucial to choose relationships consciously and wisely.

The Best Relationships Have Goals

Optimal relationships have purpose and direction; they foster growth and facilitate change. While some relationships may not feel good, discomfort doesn't necessarily equate to toxicity. Much like growth, change often entails discomfort. Emotions play a minimal role in the nature of relationships; decisions regarding relationships are driven by choice, not feeling.

Love, for instance, doesn't guarantee perpetual fondness for each other. Sometimes, within love, there's room for discomfort or even fear, yet the commitment endures.

Conversely, relationships driven solely by emotion often lead to stagnation and mental fatigue. Comfort, while pleasant, seldom encourages growth or progress and can ensnare us if we're not vigilant.

Love, when approached as a choice with a purpose, tends to enrich and fulfill us far more than relationships based solely on fleeting feelings. Anyone with dating experience can attest to this truth. One path feels burdensome, while the other fosters vitality and personal growth. Love nurtures every aspect of our being—body, mind, and spirit. Personally, I've found that when you're in love, life just seems to flow more effortlessly. Work becomes easier, and sleep comes more peacefully. That's because love possesses a healing quality; it's the antidote to darkness. But exploring the depth of love is a topic for another discussion.

For now, understanding how relationships shape our journey of self-discovery and influence our path to wholeness can help us identify relationships in our lives that require attention or possibly need to be released.

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