First Things First

We want everyone to feel special. After all, we are living in an age when every kid on the team gets a trophy. But this kind of generalized equality is damaging our relationships, and leaves us feeling overwhelmed. Why? Because we’ve forgotten the power of Primary Relationships.

In fact, we’ve been noticing some cracks around the edges of our relationships lately; especially the ones we hold most dear. And yet, we don’t know quite how to make things right. What we feel is that things are out of balance (because they are).

What can we do?

Make the hard choice.

William Styron’s novel, Sophie’s Choice (which later became a famous movie you may have seen, starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol), is the story of a woman who must make a hard choice. An impossible choice, really. The climax of both the book and the movie comes in the scene when Sophie must choose which of her two children will go to the gas chamber in a Nazi concentration camp. One of them must go; and Sophie must choose which one, or both of the children will be lost.

We have difficult choices to make every day. Most of them are not as difficult as Sophie’s choice. And yet, it is essential to the well-being of everyone around us that we do make tough choices, and make them wisely. What we choose has more power than we sometimes realize. And when we fail to make the difficult choice, there is the uncomfortable feeling for everyone that chaos is snarling just outside the door. (You may think this is an exaggeration, but I assure you, it is not).

The hard choice is this:

Who, in this situation, is Primary?

Because there is one relationship in every situation — whether it’s when we’re in a meeting at work, or within the dynamics of our family, or within our intimate partnerings — where one of the relationships is numero uno. Everyone else comes next, after the relationship which is Primary.

Easy choices, hard life.

We often talk about this maxim:

“Hard choices, Easy life.” 

Meaning, if we buckle down and make the hard decisions, our life will become much simpler. 

But the opposite is also true; and probably more accurately describes our decision-making at the moment: 

“Easy choices, Hard life.”

Meaning simply that when we put off making the hard choices such as which of the relationships in the room is Primary, we end up doing a lot of shuffling and back-peddling to make things work out — and no-one is satisfied with the outcome.

You may object. 

You might say, “This is so old fashioned. It’s this kind of reasoning which divides people; it leads to racism and sexism and a thousand other isms.” And of course, at a very basic level, you’re right. 

But think about it. If we were to actually think about the situations that get us into the most trouble, we would soon realize that the reason we get our tail in a crack most often has to do with trying to please too many people. And in the end, we end up pleasing no-one; not even ourselves.

Good fences make good neighbors.

You know that one of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. In one of his poems, Mending Wall, he says:

‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

What he means by this is basically what we refer to these days as “boundaries.” 

Primary relationships are one kind of boundary. When we lean into the power of Primary, we recognize that in any situation, there is one person who is most important to us, whether personally or strategically. 

Begin with yourself.

Of all the people in the room at any given time, when it comes to Primary Relationships, the person who is Primary is always you. And again, you may object. You may say, “But you must be a narcissist,” or “Don’t be so selfish.” And yet, again, if you stop and think about it, the problems you most often face in your day-to-day struggles stem from the fact that you too often don’t consider yourself Primary. 

When you begin with yourself, you’re off to a good start. We talked about this last time. Listen to yourself; figure out your own heart language; and be consistent with yourself. When you begin with yourself, you become more centered and more generous, and can then look to see who else, beside you and yourself, is Primary. And when you do that, most everything else will begin to fall into its proper place.

The takeaway:

In every situation, use the power of Primary to sort out your relationships. You’ll be less overwhelmed, and more focused.

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More like this?

I can help you start with yourself, and then move out from there into your other Primary Relationships. 

And you have a couple of options for your next step. You could contact me and describe what you’re going through. And I’ll be in touch with suggestions. Or you can book a free session to make a time to get together and talk it over in person. Either way, I’m here to help you focusovercome resistance, and get moving again.

Get focused and Get moving.