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When you have never taken the time to discover/find out who you are and what your purpose is here on earth, a phrase like this “you are nothing without me” has the potential of killing you before you even die.
It is true that relationships exist as proof that none of us are an island and that we need each other to reach our fullest potential in life or rather to fulfil our purpose. I am of the belief that relationships were created to encourage a sense of fellowship and interdependence outside of ourselves, through companionship, family, community, etc. Within each one of us lies a natural need to have fellowship or relate with others. This need or desire is what sets us up for an effective trade. Trade in that, when two or more people gather together or fellowship with each other or relate with one another, there is bound to be an exchange.
Firstly, it is an occurrence of an exchange of energy, followed by an exchange of words (usually expressed through dialogue or what we call conversation). At times, even an exchange of substance like material things or to a deeper extent body fluids, all these of course depend on the nature of the relationship. An ideal scenario of an effective relationship would be an exchange that would be rewarding to all persons involved. Perhaps not equally beneficial but certainly, each would have to engage in such a way that at the end of the exchange, everyone takes home a piece of the pie. A famous quote says “We are one another’s strengths, where you are weak I am strong and where I am weak, you are strong.” Another of my favourite quotes that supports a mutually beneficial relationship is “Iron sharpens iron”.
The concept behind relationships is really genius. If you think about it, it ranges from a brief meeting with a stranger to a longer meeting with your friends or colleague, etc. It varies in degrees, from your professional relationship to biological relationship. It is the foundation or the basis on which our society is modeled in that a relationship/partnership in the form of marriage or love leads to a family, which form a community, which forms tribes and nations. Even up to a point of a partnership in the form of a business venture or project, a relationship between a teacher and a learner, an employer and employee, a doctor and a patient, a producer and a vocalist. I could go on, relationships are everywhere and they are the embryo of human development.
Think about it, why else would it be necessary to develop languages, transport, and/technology? Our relationships define us, they are to a great extent our deal makers or deal breakers, so yes, relationships are a big deal.
However, we must also be aware that for every positive, there is a negative and such is the mystery of life. Therefore, not all relationships will be mutually rewarding to all participants and inevitably, not all relationships will chaperon us to our destinies. Some will malfunction, some will even take from us without ever giving back, not only leaving us empty but also dry and bitter. It is because of such scenarios I think, where one party may feel the boldness to utter such words as “You are nothing without me” What an audacity! One might think so, but it stems from a place influenced by various factors of which I will only elaborate on one. You see, there is a hierarchy module designed for the functionality of relationships. Needless to mention that the intent of this hierarchy was not to discriminate or to place one human life above the other, but this model was designed to instill order. For example, in a home/family set up we have parents and children whom all function in different roles but are all significant family members. Another example would be that of a business where you have management, and staff members or a religious organisation with a pastor and a congregation. Hierarchy is designed in such a way that there is an authority or leadership and then the rest. All of this of course for the benefit of order, to ensure that things are done systematically and not to say that one human life is more superior than the other.
We become victims of poorly managed relationships when we first of all fail to define the purpose or the function of
the relationship. Secondly, when there is no clarity or definition of the roles of the people involved. Most importantly, we become victims of poorly managed relationships when we, ourselves have not yet addressed or answered the “magic” questions who am I, and what is my purpose here in this life. It is true that we do not choose our biological relationships, we trust in an all-knowing God who has strategically placed us into those relationships/families.
However, for the rest of our journey, we have a choice of whom we become and with whom. Here’s another famous quote “Unless purpose is known, abuse is inevitable” in this case let’s use a business as an example. If I want to do business, the success of my business will be determined by how I answer the following questions “What services or products do I offer” or “What am I selling” before I even get to ask who my customers are and before I determine how I will make my business accessible to them. How I answer these questions will give me a shape or form or a sense of direction. The same principle ought to be practiced in our self/personal governance.
Before you even choose a career, a spouse or join a social club, you need to have a good idea of who you are and what your role or purpose is. This knowledge will create a taste and a preference for you, it will give you a sense of direction but failure to answer this critical question will set you up for misuse or abuse, whether from yourself or from others. Based on your purpose, you will know which places/people to avoid and which to pursue. Most importantly, when you hear these words “You are nothing without me” you will be able to tell/distinguish if these words come from a good source or if they are merely an attempt to possess and control you and to make you question your worth.