Another Relationship Lesson from the Dance World
June 24, 2014
“Amy, you have to be completely, solidly on your leg. You cannot depend on Nick to hold you up.”
“Nick, you have to communicate to her-let her know that you have her. She is not going to let go if she’s not sure that you have her.”
I love the paradoxical nature of relationships and this is another important lesson in just that!
What does it mean to be standing on one’s own leg(s) in a relationship? That’s a loaded question but let’s begin with the basics.
It means that my partner is not responsible for my well-being. It is my responsibility to steady myself, ground myself, hold myself up. This means that I take care of my emotional and spiritual needs, as well as my physical and medical needs. I do not wait for someone else to take care of that for me. And I take care of those things because they are important to me. I love and value myself enough to be solid, grounded, and healthy on all fronts. When I am at my best, it is not only for me but it is a gift to those around me. I might go as far as to say I owe it to my partner (and my children) to be at my best. If we are going to “dance together”, go through life together, I can make that dance easier for both of us if I am completely, solidly on my leg. Don’t panic. I know there are periods when life hands us a hard time. We are wobbly and vulnerable and not at our best. Of course. But generally those times are not meant to be the majority of the time. It is during these times, times of desolation, loss, and crisis, that we have the opportunity to slow down, take stock, regroup, relearn, be nurtured, and come back again, different perhaps, but solid.
And here is the paradox in this metaphor. Even when I am standing on my own leg, we dance best together when my partner communicates to me that he “has me.”
What does it mean to communicate to someone that you “have them”, that you have their back and you will do your darndest not to let them fall? It means supporting them in ways that actually feel supportive. Perhaps saying words of affirmation and backing those words up with actions. Maybe offering a sincere apology if doing so would repair some damage done. It means listening clearly enough to know what would feel supportive so another. For someone it may mean taking on a few chores. For another it might mean planning a night out or a vacation. Perhaps taking care of the children or turning off a TV or computer and engaging in conversation would feel supportive. It may mean offering kindness and generosity to an in-law. Recently in my office I have heard many stories about how stressed sole providers of households feel. When spouses are unwilling to work, to somehow add to the family income, the other partner can feel very unsupported, like no one has his or her back.
It is important to remember that in real life, the dance roles are interchangeable. Sometimes we are the one standing strong, and sometimes we are the one holding. But either way, when we come together, independently and then interdependently, we can make a beautiful dance together. The final dance is more intricate, more fluid, more spectacular than the sum of its parts!
A client of mine drives a taxi part-time. Although it is a second job and is requiring some long hours, the job is allowing him to see many sides of life in his city, and he likes this. He recently told me that sometimes he shuttles children from homeless shelters to school if school bus…Read More
It’s 9:17 Wednesday morning. I am sitting on the loveseat in my office, drinking a cup of coffee. I’ve already exercised, had my morning meditation, and gotten showered and ready for work. My office door is closed, the phone is on Do Not Disturb, my secretary knows not to interrupt me unless someone is bleeding…Read More
Dear Blog Friends and Readers, I recently preached at a Lutheran church here in SC and I have been asked for copies of my sermon. I am posting it to my blog for ease, knowing that sermons are not my typical blog. You are welcome to read it and even comment. Or if this isn’t…Read More