AND Appreciate What the Relationship Offers

March 13th, 2016

Have you ever noticed how your whole perspective on something can change when you change the preposition that describes a relationship? Think about how different you feel when you say, “I work for her” or “for a certain company” and when you say, “I work with her” or “with a certain company to help people.”

One focuses on a power relationship. The other reminds us why we do the work we do, and may even remind us not to give too much power to the hierarchical structure in which we work. One empowers and frees the heart; the other limits, and sometimes crushes, it.

I was listening to botanist Ruth Walls Kimmerer talk about her Native American world view that causes her to focus on what she learns from the plants, while traditional science focuses on learning about the plants. The latter creates a kind of power relationship where the human is studying an object, or at least treating a living thing as an object.

What I love about learning from is the reminder to all of us that we exist in relationship with other living things on this planet. AND all relationships involve give and take. When we think in terms of learning from, the language prompts a more conscious relationship of both humility and gratitude. Each participant in the relationship has something to give.

How different our world could be if we treated every situation, person, and living entity as something or someone to learn from! We just might learn to look for the gift instead of either becoming so self important as to miss that the other has something to teach us, or so judgmental and entrenched in our own thinking that we stop learning from the beautiful gifts that others offer.

The conscious choice to pay attention to the pronouns we use to describe our relationships creates the opportunity to find more beauty, learn more humility, and be more able to appreciate the gifts that any situation or entity can teach us. AND that one conscious choice could change our whole perspective.

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