The twelfth window of experience is connectedness or reciprocity. All experience is reciprocal and involves connection to some other. Much of psychotherapy is the task of helping a person understand that they always participate in what happens in their relational experiences. This does not mean that they are at fault. It simply means that they participate, they are indeed connected and they have to acknowledge the ongoing reciprocity in the experience. They can persist in trying to change the other person to make the relationship better, but doing so is a losing endeavor. We can only change ourselves. As Thomas a Kempis said in The Imitation of Christ, "Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you with to be."
That fact is true of all relationships, even in psychotherapy. A therapist cannot change another person. Growth is always emergent, and ways of growing--or not growing--are learned early in life. If a child has a playmate whom she has continued to pay with over a period of time, and she comes complaining to her father about how badly that other child has treated her, and if he deals with his child by suggesting that there are some people who are so messed up that you simply cannot get along with them, then he is being irresponsible. He is undermining in the child an important awareness--that regardless of the other child's problems, his own child has something to do with what has happened in that relationship. She is the creator of her ordinary living, not just the created. The father forgets the truth of which John Ruskin spoke in Time and Tide: "To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education." There is no honesty in living in a nonreciprocal world.
Even in our solitary experiences, our dreams, our meditative reflections, our planning, our worrying, or our fantasies, we are dealing with reciprocities--reciprocities with memories, expectations, and lingering consciousness. We must always remember that we are participating in the unending reciprocity of life. Otherwise, we are seduced by the notion that others are doing it to us; we are seduced into becoming less that whole.
Taken from The Windows of Experience by Malone and Malone
Jake Thiessen, PhD
I've been working with couples for a very long time. And, I love it! This blog is my attempt to communicate some of the things I've learned over the past 40 years.