I was reading in a book recently about a peasant mercilessly beating his donkey that was laden with wood. The animal was tired and slowed, so the peasant whipped it. Eventually up a hill the animal gave up and just laid down. The peasant began to past whipping and just beat the poor animal. He was treating it as though it was a machine, not a donkey.
In the context of the story, he talked about how whenever we are dealing with a thing such as an animal or an idea, that we must know what we are dealing with. We need to know its limits, how it communicates, what it is supposed to do. We need to know what it can do, and what it can’t.
I immediately thought of relationships. I realized that recently in one of my friendships, that I wasn’t treating my friend as my friend. I shall call him Sue. I was treating Sue like Sandy, not like Sue. I was treating Sue how I wanted him to be able to behave, not how he was.
Of course, I expect those around me to want to grow and improve, especially if I am going to be close to them. But if I begin to treat say, a house bunny the same as a speedy wild jack rabbit, then I am going to cause nothing but problems.
In short I need to treat people as they are, as an individual who is unique with family background, genetics, a certain body, differing capabilities. To do that, I need to listen very carefully. With my ears, and my eyes. I am committing, and want to, be able to let myself go so I can really step into others. I will talk about listening in my next post.
If I want to be an effective lover, I need to know if I am loving a cat person, or a dog person, or a rabbit, or whale, or duck, or hippo or platypus. I especially need to know about the platypus because they have poisonous claws that can kill you.