All of the
attitudes, beliefs and skills discussed as aspects of "maturity" come together
in considering that each of us does not exist in a vacuum, but always
in relation. Thus, the goal in the "both/and" perspective is
to be both personally mature and also to have mature, healthy, satisfying
relationships. For example, the ability to distinguish, the awareness
and ability to make healthy, self-empowering choices, the trust in my knowings,
the faith in the processes that are not yet known — all these are present
in the "dialogic," in the
relational aspect of the human experience.
In this process of becoming "independent of the environment" and also "being
in healthy interactions with it," I set up a "between" that may be of many
differing qualities depending upon the kind of contact: "I-It" contacts;
"I-You" contacts; as well as "I-Thou" contacts (Buber).
Persons need contacts of all kinds. The "I-It" relationships keep
the business of the world going, myriad kinds of arrangements and interactions
in which I am not very much personally engaged. "I-You" contacts
involve me more personally, more emotionally; I am more engaged because
in most cases I will have some personal involvement with the "other" in
the encounter. "I-Thou" experiences are those in which I am totally
engaged as a person, peak experiences to use Maslow's term.
In "I-You" interrelationships, the persons involved are able, based upon
their experience of themselves and each other, to make a choice to co-create
a shared space, with shared responsibilities and commitments. This
personal involvement is a matter of personal choice, which involves an
element of risk and a lot of conscious compromise. There are an "I"
and an "Other" with personal needs and investments that must be negotiated.
And there is also an "Ours" (both/and) in which both persons share
and to which each chooses to sacrifice some more personal agenda, some
measure of perceived independence, for a gestalt that is greater than that
of each individual alone or both together.
The "I-Thou" is a special "meeting" as Buber has said. It is not
consciously created, and has an additional element of the "numinous" (Korb,
Rich Hycner (1995) says,
The "dialogic" announces
a model of a mature relationship where giving and receiving — as well as
reciprocity — are, or may be possible.
human heart yearns for contact . . . Dialogue is at the heart of the human
. . . the being of each of us needs to be revered — by ourselves, but also