We need each other Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Tuesday, 10 December 2019 08:08
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Boxes! The year draws to a close and my thoughts are all about . . . boxes, boxes, boxes; all the pre-Christmas boxes full of treats sent to women on drought-stricken farms.

I recently saw a video clip based on a letter written by farmer Fanus Hansen’s inner struggle about the drought. “Why? What is the message this drought has for me,” he asked his mother. She answered: “Maybe the message is not meant for you. Maybe it is for the people making up the gift boxes, for those donating feed.”

“Maybe our drought is not just our drought,” she said. “Maybe our drought is South Africa’s drought. Maybe other people have to learn how to give, how to care. Maybe it’s to experience friendship, connection. We need more than rain. We need each other.”

So much of human history has been about mere survival. You couldn’t survive alone in the veld without your tribe and later on it really did take an entire village for people to stay clothed, fed and connected.

Somehow we’ve lost this with industrialisation. We don’t know the person who grows our food; the one who makes our curtains or clothes. Many people have never even met the majority of their Facebook friends in the flesh. We think we’re much more in touch with each other thanks to technology, but the reality is that we see fewer people than ever before.

Dhru Purhit, from Broken Brain podcast-fame, says that this is why a lot of relationships are under way too much stress. We try to get everything we need – support, friendship, advice – from just one person: our partner. This used to be a team effort. It used to take a village.

Psychotherapist Lair Torrent says that we’re never taught how to be in a relationship. Relationships seem to fall in the same category as filling out your tax form or getting a home loan. There are no high school courses that offer a how-to in these subjects, yet you’re supposed to know how to do them.

Lair says that people often seek couples therapy because of poor communication. What we don’t understand is that people rarely have communication problems. What they actually have is a part-of-self-problem.

He explains that we all have different parts of self that show up depending on what we come into contact with. You’re different at work than you are with family or when at a party. Which part of you comes to the table in your relationship when things get difficult? If you’re having trouble communicating, you’re probably in a part of self whose job it is to keep you safe. This side of yourself simply isn’t capable of intimacy.

Lair says that people cannot communicate effectively from protective sides of self. He believes that interactions begin with knowing what part of you is present and whether that part is open to connection. If the wrong part is present, any attempt at closeness is dead in the water.

Should it be a surprise that our protective sides of self emerge during the festive season? Maybe the vulnerability of love comes into play because our family members are especially designed to bump into our wounds. Maybe it’s because their attitudes and behaviours are closely linked to our own unresolved issues.

We’re all mirrors for one another. Madisyn Taylor says that who you are can be laid bare to you through what you see in others. It’s easy to see the characteristics you abhor in others. It’s much more difficult to realise that you have those same traits. After all, it takes one to know one.

My Christmas wish is that this year we’ll all see the wonderful qualities of those around our festive tables. Maybe then we can be the people we always hoped we would be.

And those people will know that even though Christmas doesn’t come from a shop, in 2019 Christmas was sent in a box. A box wrapped in plain newspaper to say to someone you don’t know: “I’ve got your back.”

The women who packed those boxes received the same gift as those who opened them. They discovered that the real gift is invisible. You don’t see it; you feel it. We need each other, girlfriend.

 

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