Saturday, May 2, 2020

David Richo's "How to Be an Adult In Relationships" - Selected Highlights


Once we accept that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, we can live wonderfully side by side. As long as we succeed in loving the distance between one another, each of us can see each other as whole against the sky. 
—Rainer Maria Rilke


How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo


  • Mindfulness - 3 excerpts
  • Relationship - 5 excerpts
  • Conflict - 5 excerpts
  • Flow - 5 excerpts
  • Workability - 3 excerpts
  • Odds & Ends - 4 excerpts

Mindfulness (3)

In mindfulness we do not repress or indulge any thoughts, only notice them and return to our breathing, gently guiding ourselves back to where we belong as a kindly parent does to a straying child.
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Mindfulness does not mean that we have no desires, simply that we are not possessed by them. We may feel fear and desire, but they no longer drive, shame, or stop us. Instead we hold them, without the elaborations our brain so habitually adds.
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To speak of falling in love implies powerlessness, permission to go out of control, to be foolish, to become the slave of emotions, to be carried away as if no longer in possession of one’s faculties. Love is a conscious tie not a bewitching trance.


Relationship (3)

Asking for what you want combines the most crucial elements of intimacy. It gives the other the gift of knowing you, your needs, and your vulnerability. It also means receiving the other’s free response. Both are risky, and therefore both make you more mature.
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In a healthy relationship we can safely say, “Join me in my chaos not to help me eliminate it but to help me tolerate it.”
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A relationship cannot be expected to fulfill all our needs; it only shows them to us and makes a modest contribution to their fulfillment.


Conflict (5)

The obstacles that lie along the journey to intimacy, which take the form of conflicts that arise in the course of a relationship, become a bridge to true communion and commitment when successfully negotiated. What seems to be in the way is the way.
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After all, relationships are not meant to fulfill us completely but to provide us with ever-changing and ever-evolving resources as we move through life.
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To work problems out cooperatively is to turn conflict into commitment. In fact, commitment is articulated in our willingness to handle obstacles rather than evade them, be stymied by them, or hold resentments because of them.
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[Addressing conflict] may mean talking and talking until we know what we are talking about. This involves going around and around the issue, not as a means of avoidance but as a way of giving it our attention.
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Closeness evokes both affection and aggression, love and hate. This ambivalence, which is normal, can tear us apart like horses pulling us in opposite directions, or we can accept it as a given of human relating.

 Flow (5)

All our experiences and levels of interest follow a bell-shaped curve: ascending, cresting/flourishing, and descending. This geometric figure asserts the given of human existence: that all things change and nothing is permanent.
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The phases of human relating involve passages of origin, change, loss, grief, and renewal. They are not linear; we drift in and out of them, and their order varies.
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The purpose of relationships is not to endure (which in Latin means “to harden”). When we try to hold on and endure, the relationship changes and leaves us behind. When we accept and work through changes, we evolve along with the relationship.
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Our goal, then, is to enjoy changes and grow because of them, to use them as a crucible for personal transformation.
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...relating to someone or something rather than being possessed by him or her or it is equivalent to acknowledging that the relationship will inevitably go through phases.


Workability (3)

Boundaries protect our commitment and ourselves. A person without boundaries makes her commitment to the maintenance of the partnership, not to its workability.
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Since the purpose of a relationship is human happiness not conservation of an institution—such as marriage—commitment is reasonable and vows are dangerous. A commitment is to workability. A vow is to time (“‘til death us do part”).
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The commitment to work through problems as they arise is the only sign that we truly want full intimacy. Only that commitment makes a difference, not good looks, not empty words, not what we seek, not even what we find.

Odds & Ends (4)

True men have warmth, caring, humor, the courage to show their feelings, vulnerability, no fear of touching without being sexual. Real men can show or learn to show all five A’s. They are not always in control, not always potent, not always on top. They do not have to be violent or retaliatory.
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In truly loving attention, you are noticed not scrutinized.
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Acceptance means we are received respectfully with all our feelings, choices, and personal traits and supported through them.
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True allowing also means letting someone go. To allow is to stand aside when someone needs space from us or even leaves us.




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