Is it possible that there is one solution that will address all your relationship issues? We believe there is. It is a simple idea that was created by the father of existential psychotherapy, Rollo May. With just two sentences he addressed the complex challenges that have to do with relating to other people—including our partners, parents, children and friends.
Rollo May’s solution
Does not the uncertainty of our time teach us the most important lesson of all—that the ultimate criteria are the honesty, integrity, courage and love of a given moment of relatedness? If we do not have that, we are not building for the future anyway; if we do have it, we can trust the future to itself.
This is a powerful suggestion. It is born out of a deep understanding of people and human nature. If you aren’t familiar with existential psychology, you can learn more here. The key thing to understand is that existential psychology invites us to work on the deepest issues that are inherent in being human and living a life comprised of uncertainty, isolation, mortality, and personal responsibility.
When most people hear those words—uncertainty, isolation, mortality, and personal responsibility—they tend to pull back in hopes of avoiding these topics. But existential psychology encourages us to step forward, to engage in the exploration of these topics. When we do so, and we find answers to these deep questions, we calm ourselves at a very deep level. We experience presence. And presence is required if we want to relate to other people with honesty, integrity, courage and love.
So many of our troubling behaviors—impatience, dependency, addiction, aggression—are the surface manifestations of our underlying anxiety—a lack of presence. It’s not enough to use “I” statements, set personal boundaries, or use quick fix techniques to alleviate our anxiety. Too often we focus on these techniques and we avoid the deeper challenges of what it means to be alive, to live with uncertainty, to feel alone, to love and to lose.
But when we journey deeply into the human experience—in a hopeful and optimistic way—we can find answers that allow us to live as Rollo May suggested, so that we relate to people with honesty, integrity, courage and love. When we do that, we will have solved our relationship issues.
Imagine what your life would be like if you did this. Imagine how you would feel about yourself.
If you find this subject interesting, we invite you to join our free webinar to be held on Saturday, May 21st at 10am (MDT). To sign up, click this link, scroll to the bottom of the article, and enter your name and email. We’ll share practical ways to put the Rollo May solution into effect in your life.