I’ve mentioned B’s comment once before about how someone should ask themselves what they have to bring to a relationship. I think he was correct. People often focus on what they will get from a relationship and a lot of times they are desires and expectations that no one can live up to. Of course, we all expect a certain amount from people. As for myself, I expect someone to be honest, compassionate, forgiving, reliable. Perhaps it’s a question of describing your desires in terms of verbs rather than nouns, of being general instead of specific. The other thing people often do is focus on what a person does not have rather than what they do.
JJ never seemed willing to examine his wants, as many people aren’t. It’s hard to do, because we all have needs. What I have come to think is that we expect our partner to provide for needs that might be better filled by someone else. That someone else might just be ourselves. He has a tendency to walk away from relationships (friendships included) when they no longer serve his “needs”. I know he is the kind of person who will never renew them. Why? Because he, like many others, are so wrapped up in what they think they want, they don’t see what they are missing. I think there is an adage that says it well, “missing the forest for all the trees.” He may disagree with me and believe he does a lot of self examination. It’s likely he does. The art of it is examining yourself by looking at how your needs should be filled. By examining if your needs are valid, honest, or can be filled by someone else without loosing your bond or commitment to another person.
One way I think this can be helped is by simply changing your focus. When we focus on what we can give someone, we often discover that the things we thought we needed change and the needs that we do have get filled. When we focus on what we have rather than what we want, relationships seem to magically become much more fulfilling. It’s not that those wants and needs will disappear, it is only that they will become secondary to what we all ready have that brings us happiness. It’s hard because we are convinced that only our wants and needs will bring us happiness and that they should be primary. What we feel we are missing brings us sadness and we believe that what we have in this moment cannot compare.
There is one very easy place to start practicing giving in a relationship, with one of the things we all have – our own history. It can include so many things like stories, art, traditions and food. Things that can nourish your relationship and grow a bond between two people. It helps you understand someone else. It can help you grow. It like an adult version of show and tell. The hard choice you have to make is to allow someone to share themselves with you, to participate, to accept, to be open and even to seek out those hidden gems. This JJ cannot seem do.
I have this Polish great-aunt who has dedicated her entire basement to cooking. There is always a wonderful smell wafting up from downstairs and your nose tells you is delicious before your taste buds get a chance to weigh in. There is always plenty to share. You feel snuggled in and warm down in her kitchen from the heat that radiates from her old stove where there is always a pot of something boiling. Polish people seem to like to boil things. Cabbage, beets, sausages and, my personal favorite, Pierogi’s. You can serve them boiled or you can fry them up after so they have a deliciously crispy, flaky outside and soft rich inside. There is a place in Seattle called Pierogi Pierogi and their Perogi’s are delicious, but they are very different than the ones of my childhood memory. Here is a basic recipe for the one’s that my great-aunt shared with me.
This is typically a Polish dish but you often find Pierogi in Russia and throughout Eastern European cooking. You can create these with whatever filling you choose. Try cooked ground beef or pork, cheese and potatoes, cabbage or fruit fillings. They are similar to a stuffed dumpling.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a mixer add flour, eggs, sour cream and salt together. Mix together to form a ball of dough. Take out of mixing bowl and knead on a floured surface 5-10 minutes. Let rest for 30 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap. Roll dough out and cut circles out of the dough by using the bottom of a glass or biscuit cutter.
Filling for Potato Cheese pierogi.
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup cottage cheese
1 onion, minced
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Saute onion in butter. Mix mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, sauteed onion, egg yolk, sugar and season with salt and pepper. To assemble pierogi place a spoonful of filling on each circle dough and moisten ends with water. Seal together by pressing with your finger or using the back of a fork. To cook, Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt to water. Add pierogis and cook about 5 minutes. (they will float to the top of the pot). You can fry these with chopped ham and butter. Or serve with sour cream or drizzle with melted butter.