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Understanding Your Symbolism

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

posted by Andrew

Things went a little less than perfect for my friend after returning home from dinner the other night. After what had been a nice night out with friends he returned home and had an argument over an impulse purchase of a treat for their cat.

At first glance it seemed like a really silly thing to be arguing over, but underlying this seemingly shallow argument was the symbolism of a much more important issue.

And it is the symbolism of our lives that often leads to passionate arguments and strong clashes in points-of-view. In the case of my friend, the symbolism of their argument was the possibility of raising children and what sort of parenting styles each parent would have. Having a pet is a seemingly innocent thing to do for many people, but for others it is a trial-run for parenthood, and an opportunity to foster and develop caretaking and nurturing skills and identify what sort of parenting style your partner has.

Wow! Who would have thought owning a cat or dog would have such deep implications! But when you think about it, there is symbolism in a lot of things we do, and it is in our symbolism that we attach meaning to the many things we do in our lives. Buying a rose is not simply an act of purchasing a flower. It symbolizes your love for your partner, or a moment in time that you were thinking of them with love.

So what does symolism teach us? It teaches us that some of the things we do in life have meaning. We do them for more than the simple reason of doing. It might add to your sense of purpose or achievement, or it might help you work towards your life plan. For one reason or another, it is important to you.

So the key to understanding those inane squabbles and arguments in your relationship is in understanding the symbolism or greater meaning that underlies your reason for fighting. It might be something that is aligned with your core values or beliefs you hold. It might be something about the person you aspire to be. Whatever it is, if you are able to understand the symbolism of your own life and communicate this to your partner, the act of identifying and sharing this symbolism will start a process in your relationship to deeper understanding.

And with this deeper understanding of your own and your partner’s symbolism comes deeper love. 

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