“Of course, they aren’t!” I can just hear people scoff when I post that statement. But then I hear the way they talk about the people in their lives and wonder…do they know what that really means?
We treat people as possessions when we get angry that a child is not “living up to his potential” and doing something other than what we had planned for them. We treat people as possessions when we insist that our romantic partners spend all their free time with us and never even look in the direction of another. We treat people as possessions when we get angry that our parents move to another state away from our young family.
Each of us has a life to live independent from the others around us. There are times in our life when we come together and work toward a common goal, a family, a job, a project, but ultimately, we are responsible for our own lives, for achieving our own goals, making ourselves happy.
When we choose to work in relationship with others for a short or long term, both sides of the relationship are voluntary. The relationship lasts as long as everyone in it wants to be in it. And when one person in the relationship no longer wants to be there, they are not monsters, they are not mean, they are not evil. They are acting in their own best interest and they should be encouraged to do so, even if that means we must be sad or hurt a bit while we adjust.
These things seem to be so glaringly obvious to me lately, but still I see the way people treat the ones they love and wonder what it would be like if we all respected each other more.
The possessiveness I see reminds me of a small child.
They gather all their precious toys around them, clutching in desperation to keep their possessions from being stolen away by others. When someone makes a move to see what it is that they are holding so dear, they snatch it close and holler, “Mine!”
Children haven’t learned to share yet and to learn to share, they must at first feel secure that things won’t be taken away by force. We allow them to horde their things and build up the strength to share with the presence of abundance.
Do we not think this will work with relationships as well? When I have filled up my bucket of love so to speak, I learn to share that love with others. When I spend time and energy in any relationship, I know when that person spends time away from me, they will return. I am sharing my precious with others, not giving it away.
My children will grow into independent and fully functional adults, that go into the world without me and bring back to me the new relationships they have built with others to share with me.
My husband spends some of his after-work time meeting new people, following new activities, without my presence. And when he returns, he is happier and brings new feelings and energy, new people, and new activities to our relationship.
My parents, while not right down the street while I raise my own children, have moved to another state and now I can bring my family on vacation there and enjoy their company on completely different terms than the way I grew up.
Possessiveness is only jealousy in disguise. There is no faster destroyer of love than feeling as if one is a possession of another. “If you love something, set it free…”
Interesting post. You have many good points. It’s definitely wrong to be possessive about people. I do believe that we sometimes use the phrase “my …” about a person to put everything into a context, or maybe because we are grateful for knowing them, not because we think we have exclusive right to them. I enjoy reading your thoughts.