The analogy of the car has always been the most versatile and relatable of all when used to describe the complexities of our existence. Recently I’ve found myself preoccupied by its relevance in how we relate our bodies to our souls. But the analogy extends almost seamlessly to reflect how we interpret or experience relationships as well. It’s fascinating but also dulling, because something as complex as life can be explained by something as simple as a commodity used for daily commutes, but dulling because it enforces the realisation of the ephemeral nature of life, and everything we associate with it.
Like with any car, the more you abuse it, the less likely it is to give you a pleasant drive and a long service. The same applies to relationships that are imbalanced. When one partner is constantly demanding more and giving less in return, it wears down that vehicle of marriage. The longer that continues, the more likely it is that the vehicle will eventually stall, or fall into total disrepair, often beyond a state of economic repair. But we miss this obvious truth. So the reality often plays out where the offending party continues in their erroneous ways for an extended period of time, and eventually when they realise the abuse that they’ve been subjecting their partner to, they resolve to be better and in the process expect everything to suddenly continue as it was intended in the first place. Regardless of their good intentions, the reality of the damage caused up to that point cannot be dismissed.
That would be like driving the absolute hell out of a car from the day you bought it, and then realising that it’s starting to show signs of malfunction and possibly breakdown, at which point you decide to drive it nicely. No matter how smoothly you handle it after that, the damage done will still require a massive effort, and often expense, before the car will be in a good condition. However, the creaks and rattles will never be entirely gone, so those reminders of its original abuse will always remain. The same applies to an imbalanced relationship. Regardless of how many good reasons may exist for the disruptive partner to have behaved in a disruptive way, they need to accept that they lose the right to be treated without prejudice or bias when they eventually realise the error of their ways. At that point, their sincerity of resolve will be tested in a way that will reduce them to a humbled subject that must begin by earning the respect and commitment from the one whose trust and kindness they may have abused up to that point.
This is an unnecessarily complicated post to explain a really simple truth. If you’re not willing to reap what you sow, don’t be upset when your crop fails. Don’t blame the earth, or the rains, nor the labourers, or the tools. And if you’re not willing to accept your accountability in the process, then expect to spend what will feel like an eternity before you let go of the ego that drove you to believe that the problem was with everyone else, rather than with you.
This world lacks accountability and community. In the absence of these it is not surprising that we are prone to take more than we give. We feel entitled to claim more than we feel responsible to contribute. But worse than all this, our small efforts are almost always dispensed with an expectation of reciprocation. We present our contribution as selfless but quickly grow vindictive when it goes unappreciated. The world is in an imbalanced state, and everyone thinks that problem will be solved by farting less.