Friday, November 5, 2010
Day #71, #72, & #73: Symmetry
The other day I participated in a very interesting exercise. I was given a container full of sand and a box full of random objects...toys, game pieces, etc... The subject matter: healthy relationships versus unhealthy relationships. I was asked to interpret my idea of a health relationship on one side of the box and my interpretation of an unhealthy relationship on the other side of the box. The results shocked me. My interpretation of a unhealthy relationship included sharp, blunt objects placed on top of red sand, and very asymmetrical in appearance. The image was very jarring. The healthy relationship completely contrasted the unhealthy relationship. The objects were soft and round, and most surprisingly, completely symmetrical in nature. Very pleasing to the eye.
This got me thinking about what exactly makes up a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. Is a healthy relationship about comfort, softness, and symmetry, while the unhealthy relationship is made up of jagged blunt edges that are ready to cause harm at any moment? You would think that we would instantly want to avoid those nasty hagged edges, unless of course you're some kind of masochist.
I've started to realize something about comfort versus pain, and the representation of relationships. You see, that jagged edge really represents that bad boy that many of us seem drawn to. It's stimulates are sympathetic nervous system, and keeps us on edge. For many of us, we like being in a constant state of fight or flight. We love the fact that our heart beats faster, we breathe more rapidly, and all of our large muscles are engaged. Of course, there's a function to the sympathetic nervous system. It's just as it seems...it's all about fight or flight. If we are threatened or in harms way, we are going to respond, and we need all of those wonderful hormones to excite some things and quiet other things so that we can fight our attacker or flee. The problem, however, with these unhealthy relationships is that it is not good to always be in a constant state of fight or flight.
Constant stress, or constant stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, leads to numerous health problems. It can cause problems with the cardiovascular system, the immune system, digestive system, and the neurological system. Those in a constant state of stress have higher incidences of heart disease, asthma, ulcers, migraines, and depression. Yet so many of us run back to these anxiety provoking relationships because there's an immediate gratification. It's what many call fireworks. Unfortunately, this state cannot be sustained for long periods of time, and these so called fiery relationships end up completely and utterly self-destructing.
I was that girl. I loved a fiery relationship. I wanted to be kept on edge, to work hard for his attention to prove my worth. It was the thrill of catching him and keep him. The problem, I never really ended up keeping anyone. You see, a man who really cares for you and adores you will not keep you constantly on edge. A good relationship is comfortable, safe, and yes....relatively easy. I know what many of you are thinking..."but this is boring!" Well, really it's not. It's just that we've programmed to believe that unless a relationship induces tachycardia it's not worth being in.
This makes me feel bad for the good guy. I wonder how many good guys that have crossed my path that I have turned away because I didn't think there was a "spark." Well, you know what, the spark really is bullshit. In fact, the majority of people who have this "intense chemical connection" generally end up breaking up! Hello, I am raising my hand because I have been there more times than I can count. In a relationship article I recently read, it appears that the majority of couples who develop a sustaining and long-lasting relationship "skipped" the spark. These relationships develop gradually. Two people meet, get to know each other, and before you know it he or she has grown on you, and you realize the feelings you have for this person are much deeper and more sincere than the guy who almost caused you to stroke out.
I finally get it. I finally understand that in order to get my healthy relationship, I need to slow down, get to know someone, and not run the other direction if that instant connection isn't there the nanosecond I meet him. Just as Aesop said, "slow but steady wins the race." A real relationship is not a sprint, rather a marathon.
Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.