A good relationship is when someone accepts your past, supports your present, loves you and encourages your future.
There are so many kinds of relationships to forge in life. Friendships, familial, business, romantic, educational, mentoring and more.
In the course of these relationships, we encounter various aspects of the parties with whom we are building such a bond. These aspects cannot help but color our perspective and leave us in a position of choosing how we opt to interpret what we have learned about the other party.
Show me a person with a perfect past and I will show you a person whom you do not really know. I have never met such a person, nor do I believe that they exist. To the contrary, I believe everyone has chapters of their life story that are not as vibrant as other chapters, and each have moments that they would like to sweep under the proverbial rug and allow to disappear.
In life, these chapters shape us. Hopefully we are able to learn from them, and emerge all the stronger, more vibrant and certainly wiser for having lived them. This journey is what all of us encounter as we walk our path through life. This is why we gravitate to the stories of a protagonist who goes on a quest and accrues all of the metaphorical collaborators along the way. From the Odyssey to Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, we are all swept on a journey that is a metaphor of life, taking us to the pinnacle of our respective capabilities.
In a relationship, we are able to learn about the previous chapters of the other party, and collectively we are able to discern whether we are willing to embrace that person as someone with whom we are desirous of forging a bond. In many cases, the determination is colored by what kind of a bond we are contemplating. We may be more tolerant of certain past chapters in one kind of a relationship than in another. The variables are so vast as to make any kind of defacto determination, almost nonexistent.
From 43 years of running The Illusion Factory, I can share that at this stage of my business world, the only relationships I am willing to forge are those with people whom I really enjoy communicating, and whose integrity and personality I respect. Failing these qualities, I find myself instantly non willing to pursue any kind of opportunity with the other party.
In a personal relationship, such as this aphorism relates, it is even more complicated. The details about the other party are more readily digested, and processed such that we may really determine whether or not this is a relationship that can bear long term fruit for both parties. As the two people grow to know one another, they are more willing to share a few of those chapters that were less pleasant, in order that the other party may fully understand whom they are and whom they are striving to become.
Acceptance is earned through mutual respect, honesty and a common value system that is imperative for both to thrive in such a connection. It requires both parties to learn to appreciate and support one another through the toughest chapters, with expectation that those qualities are wholly reciprocal.
When you are fortunate to find these qualities in another, it is such a rarity, that we are most wise to acknowledge them in each other and celebrate those synergies in every way that our relationship may support.