Learning to be in Relationship without Pictures

The mental pictures that we hold onto, if they are not expressed openly, clearly and respectfully, seem to be one of the causes of conflict in the world.

Recently I went on a trip with my son. The picture I carried was we would enjoy common time together, while the picture that he carried was he would enjoy his time and do whatever he felt like doing. He is twelve and at the age that he feels compelled to make his own choices.

The two pictures do not need to be conflicting in truth, but when we carry only our own picture and do not provide space for understanding another’s picture, conflict arises.

So every morning I would follow my usual routine of waking up early and going for a walk, while my son would follow his usual routine of waking up late and skipping breakfast. Because of this we never had the chance to go to breakfast together, and my picture of having common time together during breakfast was smashed. If my son wanted to sleep more, but was then asked if he wanted to go to breakfast, his picture of doing what he wanted to do and making his own choices would be smashed and both of us would feel tension within us.

One morning we went to town together. We made plans the day before and my son agreed, possibly because he felt that was what I would have liked. Even though he agreed, he did not really want to do it, and did not sleep earlier the night before, so he woke up tired. When we were in town he was moody and wanted to go home. I asked if he was tired and he said yes, so we went directly back to the hotel.

I did not find the experience of going out with him fun either, because he was not really there with me. All he wanted to do was to go back to the hotel and find ways which he felt would not further exhaust him, and that I can understand.

With the understanding that this was not a pattern built solely from one day, and therefore, neither can it be undone in just one day, I was able to hold more understanding for why he was making the choices he was. Even though we are mother and son and we do live in the same house, we have very different lifestyles and we are both stubborn in our choices.

It was then I realised that it was not reasonable for me to suddenly expect my son’s built up pattern of sleeping late to be easily changed just because we were on a trip together, simply because of my expectation that it would be awesome to do some activities together. If we had not built up this foundation together in Hong Kong, how would this be possible all of a sudden just because we were in a different time zone, especially if my son wanted to exercise his ability to choose for himself?

And so with that I simply went about my activities and I began meeting old and new friends, who were delighted to do things together with me. We met and chatted and I even got invited to a wedding ad hoc! Meanwhile my son enjoyed his time alone, doing what he wanted. Every evening I would invite my son to join me, or sometimes some of my friends, for dinner. Most of the times he would willingly say yes.

The Ancient Wisdom Teachings presented by Serge Benhayon teach that no matter what our roles are in life, if we try to fulfill these roles with pre-conceived pictures, then we are limited by how we should be, rather than feeling how to be in the unlimitedness of the moment.  

I had to let go of the picture of how being a mother should be on a trip, which was to arrange activities for the both of us to enjoy. Sometimes this was at the expense of both of us, because in truth, neither of us really wanted to do them, but I was carrying the picture that it would look ‘good’ and we would have ticked the box of doing something together on a trip. I also had to let go of the picture that, because we were on vacation, our rhythms would suddenly unite.

None of these expectations are true. And if they were enforced and accepted by us, then the relationship between my son and I would be reinforced by a picture that may have been ‘good’, but not true, because hanging onto any picture does not bring us to full truth.

I made the point that, henceforth, we will both express what we feel, as that is our only responsibility and, with expressing, we get to choose what we feel is true for us, as long as it does not compromise the other person’s choices. And with that, there need be no expectations either.

So we enjoyed the rest of our trip and continued to enjoy a deeper relationship with each other, even though our daily choices are completely opposite in life.

What I have observed is also a very precious opportunity, and no doubt an ongoing one, for me to let go of the pictures of what being a mother is and to start rediscovering what being a woman with parenting duties means. I am deeply enjoying the deepening of relationship with myself as it is impacting on all the other relationships I have in my life, such as how I am now able to hold my son in much more understanding of the choices he makes.

Published with the permission of my son.

By Adele Leung, a woman, image consultant, writer, photographer, model and then some, Hong Kong

Further Reading:
How We Start Relationships
To Be Truly Heard and To Be Truly Met For Who We Are

796 thoughts on “Learning to be in Relationship without Pictures

  1. The double loaded hold back in creating pictures is the investment we have in each one of these. How others should be and our input is what often distorts the ability for any relationship to get real and allow for growth and change. This blog is a simple and common example of the various ways we play this game throughout our day with the people we see regularly, when making new friends and those we pass each day in our daily commutes. The pictures are no doubt a way of keeping us separate when we are all craving connection from within.

  2. Recently I’ve been feeling a level of grief for my life not looking as I had promised myself way back when I was little. It’s been awesome to feel how I’ve held onto them for so long; I’ve carried the hopes and dreams attached to them, as well as the hurts they were conceived to avoid. So choosing to be open to what is on offer has allowed me to let go of them. They were fashioned from watching 1980s North American children/teenage TV and surfing videos! Like how limiting is that?!

  3. When I stop, pause and consider all those mental pictures I create around life; all those expectations and burdens I have carried it’s a wonder that I can see anything clearly that is right in front of my nose. Our mental constructs stop us from reading life, as it is, right in front of us.

  4. Every day, I am made to be aware of a picture I hold, an expectation, a desire that I want to be filled, and it’s such a liberating moment when I recognise them so that I am ready to let them go – no matter how ‘good’ and ‘right’ they may appear to be.

  5. Letting go of the pictures we hold is sometimes super hard. They are ingrained in us so much that at times we don’t actually want to let them go. What you have nominated here though is so beautiful, and without perfection. It was just in being aware of what you were holding, both of you about what your holiday could be or should be, it is in these expectations that we loose it and allow reactions to present, instead of allowing, understanding and love to be the foundation.

    1. I know that one all too well, not wanting to let go of a picture. But what the Esoteric Healing modalities have supported me in is to feel the tension and ill that is caused by holding on. It’s like I get reminded of how tight my fist is and reminded that I can move differently. It’s like we get stuck in a rigid set of patterns, as Adele shared trying to arrange time with her son. That when we move differently it breaks up this hold.

  6. The pictures are oh so insidious too, things you think aren’t even pictures, are, however we have just gotten used to them because we have held them for so long and we are shown by society that that is the “way forward”.

  7. Sometimes the pictures are so strong and words are also tangled up in them that the only way forward is show it in how I am living and my own commitment to change.

  8. We are plagued by so many pictures in our lives and at times we may not even be fully aware we even have images for certain situations or relationships. I have found letting go of these pictures to be a constant process and one that not only leaves greater opportunities to deepen our relationship with self, but also allow us to observe life and all of our relationships equally so.

  9. What would living without these pictures be like? I feel like I would be present in the day, without preconception of what would happen next. It seems like I would naturally be a lot less in my mind, less calculating and considered and concerned with being ‘right’. I sense that there would be a beautiful innocence, a curiosity in me, wondering what life will offer up now. It feels like in this state of wonder, it would be so much easier to be prejudice and judgement free – to be the real me. But most of all it feels like I would have no ‘control’. And reading your words today Adele I realise just how lost these pictures make us – because we think we are safe and sound but actually we are steered around and around in the same old circles. This is not a pretty picture at all!

  10. We can have such high expectations of ourselves too, because of these pictures and then when our pictures are not fulfilled we feel we have let ourselves down in some way. I can see how learning to see through these pictures is so important so we can let go of the expectations we hold of others, but also ourselves.

  11. This article and working with The Ageless Wisdom Teachings continues to inspire me to explore honestly what lies in my relationships with others (the pictures, expectations, conditions…), and the more aware I am prepared to be, the less governed and controlled I am by them. I reckon this is an always unfolding and the richness that I sense is possible in all our relationships is amazing.

  12. It is a beautiful thing to allow another to just be who they truly are without us imposing on them something that we want them to be.

  13. Yes having pictures we hold in relationships, no matter who that relationship is with, can be a recipe for disaster. We create expectations that we then measure people against, we don’t hold them in love and therefore there is always a lack of understanding and appreciation that creeps in. Learning to let go of pictures is an ongoing process for us all.

  14. Pictures … expectations… ideals… beliefs… so many things just waiting to, if we allow them, to run our lives. Letting go of these pictures we can start to live from the impulse of the moment, where true living ‘lives’.

  15. The teachings of Serge Benhayon on ideals and beliefs has truly been a life changing experience for me The quality and depth of understanding in relationships far exceeds where I thought I would be many years ago. To understand how these can harm and hurt ourselves and others is truly criminal and goes against what we innately know is our ability to live and work in harmony with one another.

  16. Pictures can ruin anything… it is the perfect way to set ourselves up to be disappointed, saddened, hurt, angry, frustrated or just plain discontent. Accepting life and people for who and what they are, letting them in, and seeing life as it presents as an opportunity to grow, develop, express and learn is key.

  17. I was talking with a friend yesterday about pictures and how they incarcerate us and harm our relationships with others – it was really amazing to share this insight (a knowing we all have) so openly.

  18. The title to this blog itself shows how we are governed by an endless line up of pictures to suit our every move and how this impacts the quality that we live in. Thanks to the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine we are offered the tools to bring light to what is being feed “just pictures’ and not the true YOU!

  19. We have the idea that if a picture is fulfilled, we will be fulfilled in some way; and yet, pictures are always a lesser version of what is actually possible and will never leave us feeling deeply content – even if they do play out the way we wish or hope.

  20. Pictures can never be the real deal for they are flat and without life and the livingness has long past or yet to arrive at that juncture if at all. We are setting ourselves up for smashed hopes and dreams when we invest in pictures rather than allowing life to unfold and responding whole-heartedly to what is before us.

  21. I have had pictures on how things should look in every area of life and everything I have done is based around those. Especially in relationships. What something should look like becomes more important that the relationship itself and being as one in relationship. Its super important to really see the effect that living from these pictures has.

    1. It is so true Jennifer. In letting go of pictures I have discovered how freeing it feels to actually live in connection to a realness that comes from just being ourselves, and the joy of evolution that is experienced.

  22. Carrying pictures of what will look good is an age old trap, I recognised it with myself many years ago especially on Christmas day. There would be the build up of getting everything ready and it would look a certain way, but when the day came I was too exhausted to enjoy it, and it never went the way I had imagined. but then the next one would role around and I would do the same thing.
    When we really look at our lives and see the extent of these pictures we build up and then find they do not play out like we want them to, and then go into reaction, and act like we are hard done by, it highlights how vital clear communication is within relationships.

  23. How important it is to live with a fresh canvas, without imposition of prior experiences, projected occurrences or interpretations and how immeasurably important it is to approach life with understanding, to observe and to allow each of us to be where we are in any given moment.

  24. It is interesting to observe that the pictures we hold are generally all about serving self-gratification, what will make us feel good, and delivering a sense of satisfaction. As such we are so focused on attempting to making our lives fit into the pictures, we forgo seeing what is really at play in our lives, and how we can bring and respond with all that we already are within to the moment at hand. I agree Adele that ‘that no matter what our roles are in life, if we try to fulfill these roles with pre-conceived pictures, then we are limited by how we should be, rather than feeling how to be in the unlimitedness of the moment.’- beautifully said. This highlights how surrendering to being in a loving relationship with our selves first we are able to meet another in love, and without expectations of another delivering fulfillment that are driven by pictures.

  25. Yes living without pictures is an ongoing process. We are just bombarded with pictures all the time, also that are embedded in us from a very early age. Something I continue to look at is to see if the ideals and beliefs that usually surround the pictures we hold, are full or love, understanding and appreciation. If they are not, or have any ounce of reaction involved, it usually will mean there is picture we are holding.

  26. I am finding that one of the big keys to having loving relationships is to bring understanding. When we bring understanding we are choosing to see the other persons’ essence rather than their behaviour and this stops us from reacting to another. Reacting to another takes a lot of energy and is detrimental to our health.

  27. Pictures and ideals create a false filter through which we see life and promote attachment, control and outcome- driven living.

    1. So true Deborah, the force behind living in constant drive makes it seem impossible to stop. Bringing awareness to the fact that this false way of living is not true or supportive is a great start in breaking away this harmful momentum to allow space for more loving choices.

  28. Pictures are a false alternative to the living truth we will otherwise know when we are connected to Love and in the flow of life as it unfolds.

    1. I have enjoyed reading what you are shared here Deborah how pictures are false hopes and what is bombarded on social media and in every moment of our day. So, if the pictures are false where are we searching for the truth? I found the truth in the words of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. No pictures or ideals just a real man walking the truth in every moment.

  29. I realise after reading your blog again how often I allow images and expectations rule my relationships. I have been aware of some obvious ones but the subtle ones are equally damaging. When I stop to examine the details there are a lot of images I allow to get in the way of developing loving relationships on a day to day basis. Great to pay more attention to this and work on letting go of images and expectations that blocks a deeper connection with myself and others.

  30. Having expectations is like carrying bricks on one’s shoulders, it’s debilitating and in the long run can have a severe effect on the human body, it also compromises our nature as we buy into how we need to be in this world in order to fit pin instead of claiming our full expression and deliver it to the all.

  31. The many pictures we carry are a way of keeping us separate when we are all craving connection from within.

  32. ‘I had to let go of the picture of how being a mother should be’ This has been a huge learning for me… and still is – but so gorgeous to untangle myself from the ideals and images of mothering and family that are so imprisoning.

  33. When we hold pictures we are blinded by them, unable to see with unbiased eyes what is before us and prevented from being truly open to receive and respond as needed.

  34. It’s the inner and outer tension felt from these pictures we hold onto that hinder our connection with the natural flow of movements that we can enjoy if we so choose. When we live from our connection to self, it then allows space to observe and we see the world with an open heart, this is where the true relationship with all starts.

  35. This really is a big picture… we hold pictures of so many aspects of our life, and consequently we are continually being disappointed. Imagine if we live in a way that enables us to be in the livingness of what is actually going on, with no pictures distorting our view.

  36. In my experience too being locked into a picture of how we want things to be or think they should be hinders us from truly understanding where others are coming from and feeling what is needed to bring harmony in any moment.

  37. I get a very strong inspiration to allow and not impose on others how I think things should be, particularly with our children, yes there are responsibilities to fulfil within family units that live and work together, but there is freedom required for others to make choices, this is how we learn.

  38. Any picture prevents us from truly and absolutely be in unity with the heart and the soul, we are still sold short. When we take the step to surrender to no more pictures, there is a freedom that no picture can even describe.

  39. This blog shares the experience of the writer with her son but how often does this relate to not only our family but the people we see regularly in the shops we buy our groceries from or where we fuel up our cars each week. There are so many pictures that judge rather than give us the opportunity to stop and just allow whatever is needed at that moment to present itself. In our fast paced world ,we can so easily get caught up in wanting to fix or solve yet the learning is far greater when we allow things to be shared and just be.

  40. The pictures we live with are unfathomable in their volume and frequency. It is well worth considering what pictures we hold and lovingly letting them go, for they hold us prisoner to a false and at odds with the truth we will otherwise know and live.

  41. Pictures really can be the realtime prisons we can enclose ourselves in, some that we don’t even know we are doing. The subtle expectations we put out onto others, the wanting them to be something that they simply just are not. These can be very damaging and destructive.

  42. The heading for this blog says it all; a simple yet powerful message for us all to not have pictures, ideals or beliefs in our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with others.

  43. The pictures about family and notion of spending time together is an insidious lie that we’ve subscribed to. Nominating the pictures (of course when we become aware of them) would be super healing! Reading this blog highlighted the pictures in relationship and family. Thank you for sharing!

  44. Letting go of pictures, creates space for true connection with others free of filters, prejudice and preconceptions and without expectation of a desired outcome or behaviour. This is freeing for ourselves and all others.

  45. I have found it fascinating quite how many pictures I have created around relationships and how I want them to be rather than allowing them to unfold and simply be. The problem is for me the pictures have destroyed the magic that is there and usually ends with me getting frustrated that they do not look like how I want them to be even though they may be perfect as they are.

  46. This is such a big area that bombards our every waking move. So often I will feel as though I have clarity on a situation and then the pictures come through faster than before. Thank you for sharing that imposition and judging that comes with creating and living with a barrage of pictures that in the long run harm us all if we are not willing to bring more clarity and truth to our day.

  47. I am in the most incredible relationship without pictures – we got to know each other really really well before we met each other – so ‘pictures’ couldn’t have a hold over us when we met. It was and is amazing.

  48. If we stopped making life about ourselves we wouldn’t have pictures – because we’d be too busy deeply caring about people and doing what needs to be done.

  49. If I have friends over for dinner and I make it about getting together to connect rather than having a picture of what it should look like the evening usually flows. When I try to force things to make the evening a certain way it usually is not a harmonious event.

  50. Pictures trip us up all the time, and not only on trips! If you think about it, most of our lives are constructed around our pictures and expectations of how we think things ‘should be’, not to mention the ideals and beliefs that underpin these. No wonder we think people and life let us down.

  51. The pictures we hold take away the joy of living in the moment and get in the way of us experiencing true relationship with another.

  52. Pictures, images, preconceived ideas of how something or someone should be or behave – they don’t work and invariably lead to resentment on one side and disappointment on the other. It is very liberating when we free ourselves from these limitations and enjoy each other for who we are, in openness and with love and understanding.

  53. The willingness to express from our bodies and not our heads allows us to dispel that which is not of truth for it is only when we hold onto those pictures of how life needs to be that we halt our evolution and divert away from the true love and understanding we could otherwise be for all.

  54. What a true joy it would be to live life without pictures, ideals, beliefs and expectations. I loved the way you worked with your son to come to an understanding and a way of being with one another; in love and truth.

  55. Pictures are indeed so limiting of seeing what true love is. True love might be not doing the same things at times even though being together somewhere and that does not mean you are not deeply connected and caring of each other.

  56. Our children can feel the moment we want or desire something from them – our picture – and this can send them in the opposite direction of where they possibly may be heading anyway….

  57. Having pictures of how life ought to be is a great way to destroy what actually is. This is detrimental for all relationships.

  58. I’ve found that the more I sit and surrender to the pictures and ideals the flood into my brain I am able to then, learn what is true and not true and let the moment take its own natural course.

  59. There are so much pictures around being a mother and how to relate to a child. When we are becoming aware of them then we can let go of these pictures, ideals and beliefs that are underneath and the truth can be felt in our body so we can make other choices like ‘being a woman with parenting duties’.

  60. Living life allowing another (and ourselves) to be who they truly are is indeed a beautiful thing; that is living without imposing ideals, beliefs, expectations or pictures.

  61. Until Universal Medicine the concept of living by pictures was completely foreign to me and yet I have spent almost my whole life living by them. It’s when I have a mental picture of what should or will happen based on past experiences, and when life doesn’t go the way the picture says was so 100% sure that the picture is/was the truth we react. The detriment to our health and I reckon the cause of many conditions can be rooted in the pictures we hold. I know the health of my relationships is so vitally connected to being honest with the pictures I carry, otherwise it leads to assumptions and miscommunications.

  62. I am about to go on holiday with my family, husband and children, what is different about home and away, in truth nothing, but will I place pictures and ideas on what our relationships should be like when we are away….something to look out for and not go with preconceived notions of what makes a good trip together or a good relationship.

  63. Freeing ourselves of the pictures around relationships, means opening up our hearts to people and letting them in without conditions. No strings attached, no pictures to be locked in, just come as you are because who you are in your essence is adorable. And that becomes the baseline for the relationship – to deepen the connection with the essence, for the people in the relationship to evolve to who they truly are. That’s what’s on offer when we let go of the pictures.

  64. There is much to be said in observing and allowing others to come to their own understanding and changing patterns rather fitting our own pictures of how they should behave.

    1. I know I have to resist the temptation to provide solutions to people, even when they have asked for my advice. That again is based on how I think things should go, and not allowing them to come to a decision themselves.

  65. Such an obvious thing to say, but are we in relationship with what is actually going on in front of us, or do we think we are but actually trying to have a relationship with something completely different… built on the picture of what was going on (and not feeling the moment) or worse still how we would like it to be. Super important to keep being real.

  66. A year after this is written, it is beautiful to observe that both of our stubbornness have dissolved extensively, we still have our lifestyle choices but we are doing more things together not out of obligation but because we truly enjoy each other. This has not come from changing ourselves but from no longer needing the other to be a certain way, which is a deeper acceptance of ourselves first. I constantly feel the disharmony that could arise or do arise with people holding onto expectations of how life should be and hence how others should be, and so before a conflict actually happens I would commit to communicating clearly. I find that there is a lot of communication that needs to take place, to be brought out in the open, for stuff and emotions to not fester and rot hidden, so really communicating is super important.

  67. It can be scary and liberating when we stop our attempts to control and allow others the room and space to be responsible for their own choices.

  68. When we really start to analyse, our life/ minds have been flooded with pictures, and it is often we are carrying a picture about how we want something to be and this causes our dilemma when life doesn’t meet what the picture is. Without pictures there is simplicity and openness to have a relationship with what is happening and responding – rather than reacting when the pictures are shattered.

  69. ‘If we had not built up this foundation together in Hong Kong, how would this be possible all of a sudden just because we were in a different time zone’ Sometimes our pictures are merely wishful thinking and bear no resemblance to the truth at all. We can have a ‘relationship’ with someone and barely meet them, as in truly connect with them at all and far too often when we do start making deep connections we run for cover. Building relationships is a bit like building houses . A strong foundation is vital and due care and attention is needed step by step to make sure nothing is left unaddressed, as we progress in a steady manner we surprise ourselves at the depth and richness and the holding capacity and the fast growth of the site.

  70. I am uncovering how I have many pictures about how I should be, and how restricting this has been throughout my life. I’m giving myself permission to let them go.

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