We are conditioned by nature to seek out relationships. We are engineered by our environment as to the types of relationships we build, based on what and whom we are exposed to. Some of us are born to our families and remain with them all of our formative years and maintain good relationships when we flee the nest. Others do not get to stay with their family of origin but may still have some form of contact, or none whatsoever, depending on the circumstances and the circumstances can be many and varied. We are shaped by the people around us, parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, friends. We learn from each other. We build and we adapt, depending on whom we are with and what we are doing. We often ‘go along with things’ so as not to stick out, be the odd one out, rock the boat. To keep the peace is often the easier option. We may surpress what we really feel and deny ourselves the opportunity to be honest and open. To do so could offend, incite an argument, evoke scrutiny that we may not wish to recall or simply we may think it is kinder to not be honest in certain situations. After all, we all have different tastes, ideas, ideals, opinions, beliefs and perspectives, and that is fine.
Sometimes though, it can all become too much. We are but one person. In order to survive we NEED others, we NEED relationships. We need to love and be loved, to feel value and give another person a sense of value. We need relationships on some level, for us to feel full and complete. This can lead us to feeling good, yet overwhelmed. As the saying goes, ‘we cannot please all of the people all of the time’. One person, whether a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a grandparent, a child, we must ‘interact’. It is in the interacting with all of the people in our circle and indeed outside of our circle that can lead us to feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, overshadowed. We can deny ourselves so much and so often, that we don’t even realise that we are denying ourselves. It can become a way of life, a habit, and habits are easy to form yet difficult to break.
Like an animal, taken from the wild and placed in a zoo, it can adapt to his new surroundings. He will be fed, exposed to company, given somewhere to live, given the basic things needed to survive, but, will he be happy, all of the time or for that matter, any of the time. Yet he stays, no option but to stay, he is so tightly monitored and guarded that his existence is secured. He learns to adapt to his new way of life, but may still yearn for his former life, for his independence. His offspring born in this new habitat will no nothing of the wild as they would have been born to this habitat and will not know any different….. but what is their instinct. They may not know how to hunt, how to take care of themselves, how to survive in the wild, but perhaps they have a desire to find out. Perhaps they have a desire to break free, perhaps their instinct is engrained in their DNA.
We are the same. We were born into our surroundings, guided, nurtured, ensuring or needs were met. We conform to the rules of our environment and of our society. We built friendships, relationships, homes and families of our own. Some of it is easy, some of it is difficult, but still we strive. However, there comes a time, often more than once, that we may want to’ break free’. Not necessarily forever, maybe just for a day or a week or even a few hours. We need to break free for our sanity, for us to be us, the person we were born to be, not the person someone expects us to be. For a short time we need to take care of us, we need to take the time to be free, to recharge, re-energise, reflect and reconnect, if we so choose. We have to NOT deny ourselves of what we want or need. We need to practice self care, in order that we can fulfill and continue to be part of all the other relationships that we encounter and are party to. We need to go and find something, a place, a thing, a journey, whatever it takes, but we need to find our joy, our peace, our inner calm and ourselves. If that means you need to break free, then break free, just do it – you need to love and have a relationship with you!
Picture authors own taken at Fota Wildlife Park.