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We wish to be in a relationship that is equitable, fair and honest. Our desire is to be involved and nurtured in a relationship that feeds our soul, mind and body.

Relationships we have with others are invaluable and influential. Relationships with our partners, employers, colleagues, family members, children, school staff, neighbours, and so on are essential in our livelihood. Relationships form our identity and our understanding of ourselves and others.

We are often curious to know why sometimes it is difficult to find a relationship that nurtures us the way we deserve. We often wonder why it is not easy to form relationships without any external influences. We are often interested in learning more about those who are happy with their relationships with others. We want to know what works, what doesn’t, why some have it and some don’t.

Historically, everything seems to be geared to individuals. Success or failure of relationships has been an individual’s responsibility. We all may remember a statement that was said to us: ‘it is your fault if your relationships with others don’t work’.

I would like to challenge this attitude and mentality towards individuals and shed light on some hidden factors and conditions that influence our relationships with others in society.  I am not convinced that an individual -based answer to a complex question such as relationship is accurately reflective of all domains involved in relationship.

I suggest that we begin to pay attention to what contributes to so- called ‘failure or success’ in relationship; what makes it work and what prevents it from working; what internal and external factors intervene to one’s interactions with others.

I would like to name and categorize all of those factors and conditions as ‘POWER/ PRIVILEGES”.

Yes, I am aware of many definitions of power and privileges . To illustrate this, i would like you to take a test. Have you done ‘the Power Flower’ test? Here is the link to do the test. Please return to this page to continue reflecting on this theme.

http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/courses/csafety/mod2/media/flower.htm

Thanks for doing the test. Here are some questions that i would like you to think and reflect on:

  • What was it like for you to do the test?
  • What did you notice?
  • How many petals did you collect that were in Yellow and how many were in Blue?

Count your petals in each colour.  If you have more Blue petals, it means that your ‘power and privileges’ are recognized in society. If you have more Yellow Petals, it means  your ‘power and privileges’ may not be recognized in society as much.

Having this information in mind, I would like you to imagine yourself entering in a relationship; it could be a work related, romance related, or professional related relationship.  Knowing the fact that you have or have not shared the same power and privileges as the other person, pay attention to how you interact with the other person.

  • Would this knowledge change your interaction with the other person? How so?
  • How do you position yourself in a relationship when interacting with a person who has less or more power/privileges in society?
  • Does this knowledge affect your expectations from the other person? How so?
  • What do you need to be mindful of when interacting with a person with less or more privileges/power than you?
  • What difference do you think this knowledge make in your future relationships with others?

Wish you create conditions for yourself and others to have an equitable, fair and honest relationship with you!

Hope you engage in relationships that nurture your soul, mind and body!

Happy Possibilities!

Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT

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