Hold on Loosely

Hold on Loosely

Relationships – of all kinds – are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold on to some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with resepct and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.

Author Unknown

One of Tom’s frustrations in college was being around couples who spent all of their time together, who never took time apart or fostered other relationships with friends. More often than not relationships such as those are unhealthy in their over-dependence, extreme exclusivity and lack of independence. The fact is all of us have had relationships with someone who has been – for the lack of a better word – needy and dependent. Those relationships have demanded of us more than we could reasonably give. Because in all honesty, no one person in any relationship, no matter how wonderful or healthy, can give us exactly everything that we need. In another example, Tom had two friends when he was going to seminary with whom he spent a great deal of time during his first year. But by his second year of school Tom had gotten married and his priorities and responsibilities naturally changed. But to those friends it seemed as if Tom did not value them any more. That caused great tension within those friendships because Tom wasn’t able to provide his friends with everything they needed.
If we are overly dependent people, demanding that others fulfill every void in our lives, we are going to be dissatisfied in every relationship. We must be able and willing to grant every other person the freedom they need to be who they are as indiviuduals. To maintain healthy relationships we cannot smother others or have a stranglehold on them to the extent that it actually pushes them away and harms the relationship.
We shouldn’t allow our whole identity and entire self-worth to be wrapped up in someone else. We cannot place unfairly high expectations on others, expecting them to give us every single thing we need. This is especially true if others don’t know what we need, if we haven’t communicated what we need. We have to know that we are inherently valuable, that we are created out of love and are worthy of love and respect, and must not depend on anyone else to endow us with validation.
Ultimately, when we are free enough to say “You can’t give me exactly all that I need”, it makes for a healthier relationship. And working at, being intentional at and knowing how to strike that balance between independancy and dependancy, is the key to the strongest and best human relationships.


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