You are a strong and healthy buffalo standing in the middle of the savannah. The weather is at its hottest. Your body is burning, not only from the heat but from the empire of parasites that have made your body a buffet. You use your tail in the attempt of swatting these parasites and drive the ever-annoying flies away. You are not winning at this endeavor.
While you are standing there, you feel two talons landing on your back. It is those of an oxpecker. Oh, what a relief this bird brings! While it is catching its meal, it is also relieving you of your misery. With every insect that it eats, your body gets the deliverance that it needs.
Above is one of the examples of mutualism. Mutualism is described as a relationship type where both organisms or parties benefit from the relationship.
Our bonds with our loved ones should be the ones in which we find perfect examples of mutualism. In these relationships, we should find joy in giving as we are certain that the favour will be returned. In them, we should get as much as we give.
Just like with the buffalo, no matter how scorching the sun is and how many parasites we get to be victims of, at the landing of our loved ones, we should be able to receive the relief and liberation we need. Just like with the oxpecker, after a long and tiresome flying, our loved ones should be able to find rest in us. On our bodies, time, and energy, they should be fed. When they are hungry, in us they should be filled.
Please note that I have put more emphasis on giving than getting. This is on purpose. We live in a world of self-love, self-help, and selfies where “self” is in the center. By no means are these bad concepts as we cannot give others what we do not have. We cannot give love if we have never defined self-love and first learned to love ourselves, for example. However, we should not be so focused on ourselves that we forget the responsibility of being in healthy relationships entail. We cannot always expect to be given. We should cultivate mutualistic relationships, and mutualistic relationships begin with us. In our relationships, we and the people around us should benefit. We cannot expect from other people what we cannot give ourselves.
Relationships around us should be nothing but light and bliss. We should expect this as much as we are willing to play our part in honing and harnessing it.