It's nice to have people we can trust beside you, people who will support us when our strengths fail and encourage us to make our dreams come true. Needing others does not make us more vulnerable, on the contrary, it strengthens us, always when we do not make the mistake of thinking that the other person belongs to us. The line between a mature relationship and a relationship of dependence and possessiveness is very thin, and it is very easy to cross it.
The illusion of exclusivity
Different ideas have crept into the collective imagination that create the illusion of exclusivity: the soul mate, the best friend, the spiritual guide ... In reality, these are all linguistic traps that lead us to think that these people belong to us, they are " intended "for us.
When we fall into this trap, we forget that in every relationship there are always two people and nobody belongs to anyone. Finding a soul mate just means meeting a person who satisfies our emotional needs and expectations. But you need to nurture that relationship every day, make sure you give and receive happiness, otherwise our sweetheart can become very bitter.
Idealizing the other person can generate emotional dependence
In reality, there is no perfect partner or friend, just a relationship in which both of you have to invest time and effort in order to give the best results. It is important to be aware of this in order not to idealize the other.
Idealizing someone is a very dangerous game because it tends to be the prelude to emotional addiction. If we are convinced that the person is made to measure for us, if we allow ourselves to be convinced by the "illusion of exclusivity" we become addicted, and this will create a harmful asymmetry in the relationship because those who depend are always at a disadvantage.
The problem in an asymmetrical relationship is that the addicted person usually ends up putting aside his needs to satisfy the other, to the point of suppressing his own individuality. Addiction does not make you happy, on the contrary, it often generates the fear of losing the other, which in turn gives way to jealousy and possessiveness. We make the terrible mistake of limiting the freedom of the person we love for fear of losing it, because we think it belongs to us.
The hedgehog's dilemma: How to develop mature relationships that enrich us?
One of the most famous passages in Schopenhauer's work is the parable of the hedgehogs, which refers to his view of human relations.
Some porcupines, on a cold winter day, huddled close, close, to protect themselves, with each other's heat, from being frozen. But soon they felt each other's thorns; the pain forced them to move away from each other again. Then when the need to warm up led them to be together again, that other ailment repeated itself; so that they were tossed back and forth between two evils. until they found a moderate distance from each other, which was the best position for them.
Thus the need for society, which springs from the emptiness and monotony of one's interiority, pushes men towards one another; their many repellent qualities and their unbearable flaws, however, push them back away from each other. The average distance, which they finally manage to find and thanks to which coexistence is possible, is found in courtesy and good manners.
To him who does not keep that distance, it is said in England: keep your distance! - With it, the need for reciprocal warmth is met in an incomplete way, but on the other hand, one does not suffer from the thorns of others. - The one, however, who possesses a lot of internal heat prefers to give up on society, in order not to give or receive unpleasant sensations. "
There is no doubt that the closer the relationship with someone is, the more likely it is that the person can harm us because he is emotionally important to us. After all, only what we value can harm us, what we allow to enter our innermost circle. But when we drift away, we are likely to feel anguish and feel the emptiness of loneliness.
Therefore, in interpersonal relationships, whether they are a couple, a simple friendship or between parents and children, it is necessary to find the optimal distance. Erich Fromm spoke of mature love when each person shares with the other what is necessary for both to grow, developing a relationship in which each maintains their individuality.
In this regard, it is essential to face all our relationships being fully aware that no one belongs to us. We need to be able to love enough for that person to be free at all times to stand by our side or walk away. We must learn to love without possessing and to live without depending.