I-it relating – when we treat someone as a means to an end, valuable to us only for what they do that addresses our interests.
I-you relating – when the person is an end in themselves.
Who gets to be an ‘it’ for you, and who an ‘I’?
The person who serves your coffee?
The person sweeping the street?
The person you spoke to in the call centre?
The last one is important. Often, until we look closely, we don’t even know what kind of life we’re living.
Possibilities open up when we discover we’ve been in an I-It relationship with ourselves (and hence with all others and all of life) and make moves to address it.
Becoming an ‘I’ again requires giving up all the ways we ascribe worth to ourselves only because of what we produce, what we own, how clever we can be, how others approve of us, or the status we’ve been granted. It takes discovering the basic goodness that’s at the heart of everyone, and building a life around that. It takes courage, steadfastness, and great kindness.
“But I could never do that.”
What will be the outcome, over time, if you don’t?