Do I perceive others as the motive for a TRANSACTION or as a CONDITION of my TRANSFORMATION?  

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

Throughout the day we connect with many people.  Sometimes we have significant relationships that contribute something or where we have the opportunity to contribute something.

It seems to me that often, and without realising it, we establish or maintain relationships that we only value for their usefulness or through inertia.  Not to mention those where we do not really pay attention to the other person, we do not feel interested in them as a person, their state of mind or their feelings or their personal circumstances.  They just form part of the landscape.

It might even be uncomfortable for us to become closer to them.  Sometimes creating a meaningful connection just involves greeting the other person and looking them in the eyes in an engaged fashion, asking with interest how they are today or how their day has been.  Perhaps just listening without interrupting with our own affairs.

At other times, we maintain relationships that are clearly for our own benefit, as might be the case with a boss, with colleagues or with someone who may be able to resolve a problem in the future or smooth the way for me.  For me they are clearly transactional relationships.  Here I do not want to say what kind of relationships we should maintain.  I just want to propose a reflection on the type of relationships we establish and their consequences.

Perhaps we maintain some relationships that are transactional in nature.  Perhaps lots of them.  If I do not listen, if I become angry without really wanting to look at what happened, if I am only out for myself, if I just talk about myself, if I do not value the importance of their problem for the other person, if I am just with someone for the sake of having company, my relationships will not be meaningful.    This has its own consequences, because you reap what you sow.

I will not attract people who are transformative for me and who will contribute something without weighing up the benefit to them.

If I am more inclined to have relationships where my interests do not intrude, it may be that other people’s responses towards me will be better and more affectionate.  That is true whether you are a boss, father or mother or travelling companion.  When you do not pursue an objective in a relationship, it may become meaningful to both of you and the fulfilment it brings is huge.   What are our relationships like?  What do they contribute to my life?  What do I contribute to the life of others?

These are questions that I suggest we ask ourselves today.

Observe, during the day, what your relationships are like, perhaps you may discover if you can improve something in this area.