Deuling desires

by Rod Smith

Desires for Autonomy and Intimacy live within the deepest recess of self, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide, connect, and have their enduring party

Desires for Autonomy and Intimacy live within the deepest recess of self, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide, connect, and have their enduring party

The Healthy Person continually allows himself / herself to honor and respect the deepest inclinations of self while accommodating (and celebrating and making “space”) also for the deepest desires to be honored and respected within others.

Room to be free....

Room to be free....

AUTONOMY: This is a powerful instinctual longing within you. It is the desire to be self-directed and separate from others. It is the “you” who wants to be free of all ties, all responsibilities. It is the “you” that fears absorption by others; the “you” who wants to let your hair blow in the wind, feel the sun on your back and live a carefree life without things that tie you down. This is the spirit of the Wild West in you, the lone-ranger, and pioneer “get-me-out-of here” spirit within you. This desire, I believe, is God-breathed, God-inspired, and a necessary part of your survival and growth.

Connected to others....

Connected to others....

INTIMACY: This is a powerful instinctual longing within you. It is the desire to be close and connected with others. It is the “you” that wants to belong, be known and be part of a family, a team. It is the “you” that fears abandonment and desertion; the you who longs for a unified journey with others, the you that wakes up at night and wonders with horror, what it would be like to be totally alone. This is the nest-making part of you, the part who longs for the sounds, symbols and reality of a shared life. This desire, I believe, is God-breathed, God-inspired and a necessary part of your survival and growth.

It is important to understand and acknowledge that BOTH these dueling desires are alive and well within you AND they are alive and well within everyone you know. Think, rather than the urges being fixed, demanding and insatiable, of these core desires as being fluid states, urges that flow at differing strengths and intensities within each of us. “A” is larger than “I” in some people, in some cultures, in some churches and, of course, the opposite is also true. “I” is markedly stronger than “A” in some cultures and subcultures.

One aspect of maturity is an understanding and an acceptance that the desires described live within each of us. Also, maturity is living with the knowledge that these very strong desires do not have to always be filled. They can be “overridden.” They can be overridden in the desire to demonstrate love, to be kind or show patience. Always subjecting these desires to “override,” never acknowledging them, is likely to create emotional havoc within individuals and communities. Always submitting to them, as if they are uncontrollable forces, will sow seeds of similar havoc.

One Comment to “Deuling desires”

  1. profound and pithy

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