Relationships as Far as the Eye Can See

It occurred to me that these days the word ‘relationship’ is mainly used to refer to an intimate, romantic or sexual relationship and I wanted to find out whether that had always been this way. When I looked it up, I found that before 1944 this had not been the case and it made me wonder how they got to the exactness of that date?

I also learnt that the word ‘relationship’ comes from the Latin ‘referre’, to bring back.

‘Relationship’ standing for a one-on-one and mainly intimate relationship reminds me of the word ‘drinking’ which, in its modern-day usage, refers to drinking alcohol. When someone says they have stopped drinking, we all know that they are not referring to water, tea, juice or any other of the possible options. Drinking has become synonymous with drinking alcohol.

Likewise, a relationship now denotes a degree of closeness as indicated above, meaning it is either romantic, intimate and/or sexual. But don’t we have relationships with many people, and many things/objects even?

I certainly have a relationship with the people I share my house with; I have a wonderful relationship with my butcher up the road, one that is built on trust and my love and respect for his amazing dexterity, the awesome service, his skills and forever willingness to engage and explain and advise. Nothing is ever too much for him and his staff and I get the same treatment whether I spend $15 or $85.

I also have a relationship with a lady at the local market; together with her son they grow the most wonderful vegetables. There are times during the summer months when I don’t buy from them as what they grow is not what I eat but come the colder months, I stock up big time. We always have a chat, whether I happen to be buying or not.

I remember a conversation with a taxi driver in Sydney – just a short trip to the airport but when I asked him about his country of origin he completely opened up and I learnt more about Afghanistan and the war that was being waged there than any newspaper or other media outlet had ever reported.

Relationships: don’t people have them with their soccer club, with a singer or movie star they admire, with their favourite brand whether that be their beer, a label or favourite sports gear?

What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?

Is it a fact that we are in relationship with many, many people and many things – not only every day, but every minute of the day?

And how supportive are then our relationships? And if they are not, what is our responsibility here? Have we allowed familiarity to creep in, a certain fatigue and boredom? And if so, have we not deserved better and more?

And on a final note – as to our relationships with people, what do we feel when hearing that the root meaning of the word ‘relationship’ is ‘to bring back’? Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?

By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, NSW

Related Reading:
Relationships Re-Defined
Serge the Friend
Love and Relationship Audio

819 thoughts on “Relationships as Far as the Eye Can See

  1. A True relationship and intimacy is to let-people-in, or being trans-parent and thus we are parenting ourselves to be more open and responsive in every situation in the most intimate way, which is letting them in and being open.

  2. When we us the word ‘relationship’ in the context of a romantic/intimate one, as we do now, we actually dismiss all other relationships as lesser, and if we don’t have the one above we feel lesser ourselves as human beings. Time to bust this one. All relationships are equal if we arrive at them from soul; it is simply the outward expression within them that changes.

  3. “Is it a fact that we are in relationship with many, many people and many things – not only every day, but every minute of the day?” So true. yesterday I had a few short conversations in a theatre with a stranger. We definitely had a connection and met each other after I initiated a conversation. A short relationship with someone Ill never see again. However we are most in relationship with ourselves 24/7.

  4. Absolutely Gabrielle, and may I add that all relationships or “bringing back” starts with self being brought back to our True Inner-most or Essences and our essences bings us to another interesting word that could have its roots in returning or “bringing back” our Soul-full-ness.

  5. What you share here is how we tend to put relationships or the word relationship in a box. That is not only so restricting but also very boring! I love and appreciate that I have a truer sense and knowing of the word relationship now, it enables me to see the magic and richness in everyone I meet and also the constant unfolding and depth we can go to with another if we (and they) are so willing.

  6. “all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?” Sums it up exactly thank you Gabriele.

  7. I feel that we fight this Gabriele
    “the truth that all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?”
    That’s why we have war, abuse, murders etc., because we fight what and who we truly are. And until we stop this inner turmoil we will never have oneness.

  8. I never questioned that I have a relationship with everybody I have met or know but my relationships varied in quality and depth. So what I get out of your amazing blog Gabriele is that because in truth we are all one it would be great if every relationship would have the same quality and depth.

  9. ‘What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?’ Yep. Its that word again … assume! Also as you share that we can have a relationship (connection) with someone in a fleeting moment in a store or shop or public transport etc. How we are with ourselves and how we choose to be with all others in every moment is a relationship.

  10. I agree Gabriele, the word ‘relationship’ is indeed a funny one in that it is commonly perceived to be the kind that involves romance. And yet, we have relationships with ourselves, friends family, with the clothes we wear with the TV perhaps or with food, and none of these are necessarily romantic yet are very real relationships. When we allow ourselves to come back to the original meaning of words, life begins to make so much more sense.

  11. Gabriele I get what you are saying, we do have a relationship with everyone we meet even if we just pass them by on the street. Our particles are constantly intermingling with each other, so to say we are separated from each other shows to me our ignorance of the science of our surroundings and the universe.

  12. “Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?” I just love this. Yes, we all come from the same source.

  13. “What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?” A great question Gabriele. I feel I have a relationship with the lovely supermarket checkout woman and also with the petrol checkout one – cos I see them so frequently, and we often exchange a few words. .

  14. ‘Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?’ YES! Also interesting in how over time we have bastardised so many words including the words relationship and drinking.

  15. When we get out and about we get to see how families interact, and I feel that we sometimes forget what standard of relationship and communication we have set for ourselves as being the ‘norm’, for this may not be everyone’s norm. For example the other day we were out as a family and we were standing close to another family who were clearly on holidays and enjoying a recreational activity, however, we could not help noticing that this family was using foul language to communicate with each other and they were speaking very aggressively to each other and even pushing each other around (this included the adults as well as the children behaving this way). When we got home we talked about the fact that everyone has different standards of what they accept in relationships. And we also realised how important it is to be aware of how we are with each other so that our standard does not slip and possibly become our new normal of relating to each other.

  16. Thank you Gabriele for the great reminder that relationships do abound all around us, and it is not just about the one intimate relationship we may or may not be in…There is so much for us to learn through all relationships.

    1. We tend to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, especially when partners first get together. It is great to learn and experience that every relationship counts and is as important as any other.

    1. Ye, we measure and calculate; we look what is to our advantage and generally make sure that our security is paramount.

  17. I wondered what happened from 1944 onwards that began to confine the word ‘relationship’ to someone that is our partner or someone we are in sexual relationship with. Was it to do with WWII and how much this had affected people who no longer knew if friends and family would return or live through the war? I know when I was growing up in the 60’s or 70’s it was a word I rarely heard, so like many words it’s true meaning was diminished to make way for either a lesser or bastardised version. Thank you Gabriel for reminding us of its true meaning and the expansion this offers to us all.

  18. We seem to associate the word relationship with being in a couple’s relationship but the truth is we are in fact in relationship with everyone, even the people we may not meet in this life time.

    1. We keep it tight and narrow so everything and everyone fits our preconceived ideas and we can continue living in the relative comfort of our own making.

  19. We get asked “are you in a relationship?’ or ‘Have you got a relationship?’ as though we were dependent on that one person for our emotional security. And perhaps that’s the ;point…we look out to find emotional security in the world rather than letting ourselves feel our own love and build that first so that we can come together with another already secure in the love that we know.

    1. Great insight – it serves us not to look on the outer for the ‘one and only’ when the love we are longing and looking for is first and foremost within, before it can be shared with others and, in an intimate relationship, with one other.

  20. Yes, we are in relationship with everything, we have a connection within every moment of the day, so it really does pay to question the relationships we have and how supportive they truly are when we take the relationship to self into consideration.

  21. Commitment and consistency are keywords in relationships – and this is what grows the trust and allows a platform for us to move on from, that then expands intimacy and deepening of the relationship. Hence the evolution and growth that is offered to all.

  22. Relationships do abound around us, and the quality that we offer to one is the quality that we offer to all – you cannot be selective about the quality that you offer for if you are superficial in one this will come into the other relationships and likewise if you go deep in one then this will also come through in the other relationships. Of course this does not mean that you will be physically intimate in bed with everyone, but what it does mean is that the quality of interaction, the honesty and integrity is all the same and is applied accross the board.

    1. We need a new definition of intimacy, one that goes far beyond the usual ‘intimate = physically intimate relationship’; if not it leaves us so very short of the depth of meeting one another that is possible in every single encounter every day.

  23. “And on a final note – as to our relationships with people, what do we feel when hearing that the root meaning of the word ‘relationship’ is ‘to bring back’? Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?” This is such a wonderful thing to ponder on and if we really let ourselves go there it would change all our relationships for good.

  24. Perhaps we have changed the original meaning of the word only because we don’t want that vibration in our lives, it is much easier for it to “just be semantics” rather than consider the truth of what the word relationship can bring to our lives.

    1. It suits us to make smaller that which is otherwise abundantly and vastly available, in every moment of our life and especially every time we have an opportunity to truly meet one another.

      1. That can be difficult for people, we are very used to walking around with layers and barriers between ourselves and people. For many this is a safety blanket because they (we) have been hurt in the past. And although we all crave to be met and share love with one another, not many of us dare stick their head out because past experience shows that it is not safe.

    2. Great point Viktoria, this may be the reason why we tend to struggle in relationships because we are avoiding the true vibration of the word relationship and hence reduce its vibration to make things complicated, hard and a struggle.

      1. True, also, if we all have different meanings to one word how on earth are we ever going to come to a consensus on what our relationship is?

  25. “Is it a fact that we are in relationship with many, many people and many things – not only every day, but every minute of the day?” I would say yes it is. So it is quite odd to consider that we tend to only associate the word ‘relationship’ with the people who we are closest too, as in truth we have a relationship with everyone that we come into contact with.

  26. We are constantly in relationship with ourselves, with God, with others and with life in all it’s aspects and what it truly empowering to reflect on is the quality of relationship we hold with ourselves and our divinity as this is what governs the quality of relationship we live and share thereafter.

  27. The fact that we are all connected means that we therefore have a responsibility to bring all of who we are to one another.

  28. There is a deep beauty and joy to treat every encounter we have during the day with the same attentiveness love and care.

    1. Presence in all that we do and with everyone we come into contact with is deeply enriching and makes life very joyous and wholesome.

  29. The problem is not just how limiting is today´s meaning of the word relationship, but also that due to that we miss altogether the importance of being in relationship with many other things of the same importance at least.

    1. It suits us to live in a disjointed and jumbled version of life which functions as tight little boxes, each with their own label, arena and must do’s.

  30. And maybe because we have made relationship an exclusive thing we do not understand it’s true meaning anymore lest live its truth.

  31. The opportunity to learn something about ourselves would be something we embraced if we were not so used to being critical of ourselves, and therefore afraid to consider we might have something to learn.

    1. We regard our lack of perfection as failure and ignore that perfection in physicality is unattainable and that there is indeed, always more to learn.

  32. If we’re committed to being honest and transparent in our relationships, then they have the potential to restore us and others to who we truly are: they offer us the knowing that we already ARE everything we need to be, and a pathway back to that. With the reflections that relationships offer us, everything that isn’t truly part of us is highlighted and can be discarded, and everything that is, can be appreciated, cherished and celebrated.

  33. Whether we like it or not we are constantly in a relationship with a large number of people. It is up to us to determine what we want the quality of those relationships to be.

  34. By being our loving selves with all whom we come in contact with and with all that we do ensures that all our relationships have a foundation of truth, and if we happen to stray from this then we have a strong foundation to support us to bring back harmony into our living way.

  35. It is interesting the tendency with which we have to reduce the meanings of words to correlate with humanities declining quality of living. It would seem that this hides the extent to which the quality of our living and state of our health has actually fallen.

    1. Changing, watering down and falsifying the meaning of words is corruption at its most basic and persuasive and where it gets us all, right from childhood through all education channels and right to the end.

  36. It’s really worth appreciating the quality of all our interactions, as in the quality that we bring to them, not seeing any as more or less important but of equal value.

  37. Years ago I observed how funny it was that there were relationships that were labelled close, not by the actual quality of connection, but by virtue of the relationship defining an assumed closeness – for example a husband and wife, a mother and a daughter, a father and son etc. It’s the openness to connection that makes a relationship and not necessarily the longevity or the definition of what kind of relationship it is.

  38. Once we start to deeply connect with ourselves, and still that radiating presence of that inner connection, it becomes very clear that we are in relationship with everybody and that they are in relationship with us.

  39. Awesome Gabrielle – reading the true meaning of “the root meaning of the word ‘relationship’ is ‘to bring back” brings an openness and warmth to my chest – a beautiful reminder that, as you say, in essence, we are all one.
    “Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?”

  40. There can be a wide range of relationships in our lives, from our kids, colleagues, neighbours etc. The only constant can be us. Even though the amount of time and things we do with these relationships varies we can bring the same quality to each. We are trained from young not to do this and give preferential care to our closest relationships. Yet knowing our true nature where we are all one, this selectiveness cannot be natural or bring harmony, as evidenced by all the harm that occurs in families.

    1. Harm not only in our families but in the wider world, man against man, woman against woman and bullying from an early age. This model is not working and if we were a company, humanity would have long ago gone bankrupt.

    2. We are trained to do that in our families, in our communities and in our countries – always look after your own first. It separates so badly and is the reason we can even contemplate war.

  41. We literally can never be truly alone because we are always in relationship with someone, even if it is with the person we say hello to as we walk past.

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