Visualize standing on a crack as the gap widens into a chasm between your feet. You can’t stand on both sides when your whole world splits apart. What do you do? How does one choose priorities? What and who stays and how do we decide what to leave on the side for now?
Turning to lessons from nature helps me with some tough choices.
Symbiotic relationships involve two separate beings who nurture one another. These are synergistic, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships.
Some examples of this I’ve observed in nature:
Bees and flowers are not in competition. Each appreciates what the other has to offer. Each understands they are separate from the other and they nurture one another. As the bees gather the nectar, they need to make honey to continue living. They help the flowers reproduce to continue living. They support each other’s continued joyous life and nurture each other.
There’s a concept called companion gardening. Plants flourish and support one another when planted near each other. There’s a mutual benefit but each is separate with unique gifts. There’s no jealousy or envy. There’s no comparison, no wishing they have what the other has. They bring their distinctive contribution to the relationship and both are happy to be in the other’s company.
Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen humans need to breathe. A byproduct of our breathing is carbon dioxide which the trees need to live. Again, a mutual benefit supporting and lifting life.
What This Means for You
Humans are unique. We each offer unique gifts in our journey of life. We touch one another in distinct ways and choose how we wish to interact with others. We do not offer others precisely what they offer us. Each human is unique. We each have something to offer, no matter how small it seems to us. Sometimes it’s a kind word, a good thought, a prayer, or a smile. We choose how to share our unique selves with the lives we touch.
One day I shared with a friend I was sad about my limited energy. I felt I had little to offer to my friends. His words ring in my heart to this day “do not dismiss your most precious gift. You have words that upbuild others, do not minimize that gift” and I treasured my words from that day forward. You, too, have a gift and more than just one. We all do.
May you choose people in your life who lift you and may we each choose to use our unique gift to lift others.
How do you choose to share yourself with others? How do you show up in your world? A smile? A kind word? A “thinking of you” text or greeting card? How do you lift others? How can you offer comfort to someone today?
How do you choose who you surround yourself with, your closest companions?
If you have some thoughts please share them in the comments! Here are some of my thoughts:
Do they lift you? Are they authentic and honest? Are they supportive? Do they accept simple, healthy limits and boundaries? Do they respect your time and energy? Do they respect you as a separate person, honor and respect you?
Circles of intimacy is a concept I teach in my workshops. I’ve deeply researched scripture and the examples I discovered help me and my clients build meaningful relationships with many individuals. If you’d like to learn more, sign up for the Gentle Boundaries Course where I teach the concept or schedule your personal Level UP session.
If you’re not already in the loop, make sure you sign up for workshop updates and here is the 2023 workshop schedule: 2023 Workshop Outline.pdf
* Note: in phycology, symbiotic relationships are often defined as unhealthy needs and attachment. In this post, I share my thoughts on healthy interdependence, which is very different from unhealthy codependence. Healthy boundaries mean you know where you end and others begin. Each interacts with that healthy understanding of a separate self. The type of symbiotic relationship called mutualism accurately describes the kind of symbiosis referred to in this post.
Bonus Video from the Archives
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I have thought of the Bees and the flowers how they help each other.
And also the trees and us, how we help each other.
And I know each of us has something to Shear with each other.
I’d like to know more.