Personal improvements, transformations due to polyamory
Since I discovered the term “polyamory”, my life began to change dramatically.
Just the very knowledge of that one word started me on a journey of self-discovery and realization that I can barely comprehend. It was like going down the rabbit hole.
What happened? How can one word change my life so dramatically?
The first thing to realize that it was not the power of the word alone, but also the context. Now is the Information Age and the power of google cannot be underestimated here. Nevertheless, google does not provide any information. It only makes it that much easier to find it. So there is a slew of true forerunners that I must thank for opening up – not only in the sense of their relationships but also in the aspect of publicising, publishing and otherwise spreading the word.
Initially through the most popular (at the time) resources The Ethical Slut and Polyamory Weekly as well as Opening Up, I learned that I was not a complete unique freak. There are maybe 350 to 700 million others out there who feel similarly to me… and that’s self-reported in a societal context of oppression, demonization accused immorality and of course simple ignorance. I supect that the true number is much higher.
These initial resources were incredibly helpful in holding my hand through my initial forays in to ethical non-monogamy. I realized that I made mistakes in the ethical part and many more in the communication part. It takes a much broader view and understanding of how other people feel – empathy – that really makes it possible to act ethically. Without understanding, I thought that I was acting fairly and morally, but with the blinkers off, I realized that I was not as open as I thought I was. I started practicing techniques such as non-violent communication and reducing my reticence to openly discussing my negative emotions. Through exposure to more subcultures, sexual and gender identities, I became more understanding of them and the distinct challenges they face in default society as well as the challenges that are common to all.
Thanks to all of that my horizons have not only broadened, but I have also been more politically and socially active in fighting injustices that I wasn’t really aware of before as well as supporting policies that I would also have never before considered. This increased interest in politics and sociology has additionally led me to better understand the legal and constitutional frameworks of various nations as well as how cultural influences change interpretations and vice-versa.
Understanding systems and their influence on culture, socitey and individuals has led me to far better appreciate the subtle but huge power of systems such as democracy, legislation, taxation, economy and equally as powerful, but smaller-scale workplace policies and processes. It has helped me to understand also that whether we want to or not, we are part of such systems – not seperate from them. I came to realize that we therefore have a direct influence on these systems, whether we consciously try or not. Even as far as the subculture common trope of, “I’m not responsible for educating others.” Well, actually, every interaction with others does educate them – even if the lesson is that are arrogant and standoffish.
Finally, coming back in a big circle and capturing the lessons learned from all of the above, I rediscovered the importance of releasing attachments and showing compassion to all. The philosophical and practical aspects of Buddhism that I had always admired. If that’s not a fine example of the cycles of life, then I don’t know what is…
For this whole journey, I must thank all who were part of it. For all who influenced me – in “good” and “bad” ways – in the end, I think I am a better person for it all. No matter the interaction, the lessons learned have helped me to improve and better myself, so I thank you for it. Everyone. From the bottom of my heart.