Partnerships and Whole/Parts

Personal relationships (that do not include family of origin or career relationships) are a choice. The only clear reason to be in one is because you want to be there. Healthy relationships or partnerships start with people that feel complete within themselves and then come together to share who and what they are and what it feels like.

Partnerships acknowledge that each person has a separate journey. Each has a life purpose and things that they came here to do. They then choose a partner and come together to support and share their journeys with each other. And by coming together to share, they create a shared journey together.

So a partnership has both separate and together elements. It is both I and we. While this dichotomy may be tough for the intellect and logic to grasp, it is the foundation of a healthy relationship.

Ken Wilber offers another way to view this in the quote below from his 1996 book A Brief History of Everything. "Arthur Koestler coined the term "holon" to refer to an entity that is itself a whole and simultaneously part of some other whole. ... Because every holon is a whole/part, it has two tendencies or two drives we might say- it has to maintain its both its wholeness and its partness."

Wilber describes each holon or whole/part (for our purposes- person in a partnership), as a whole in themselves and at the same time part of a another whole (the partnership). He adds that each holon (person) has to maintain his/her wholeness or self-agency as well as its "partness" or communion with the thing that he/she is part of.

Most relationships tend to emphasize one of the other of these tasks and neglect the other. Some people for instance tend to lose themselves in the relationship and lose the autonomy of their own journey. Other folks are overly independent and fail to surrender to being a part of the relationship.

In summary, people in a partnership do not come together out of need to complete themselves. Rather they are whole in themselves and come together to support and understand each others' journey and... to create a new journey together.

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