Updated: Jun 7
Relationships. We all have them.
Family, friends, intimate, business, these are examples of the different, yet similar relationships that we encounter in our lives.
Relationships can be among the best and the worst things to happen to you.
It could be argued that everything we do is a relationship of sorts. There is an old saying: “no man is an island”, which means that there is nothing that we really and truly do by ourselves without any intervention from anyone else.
We are who we are, in part, because of the people and situations that we have known and experienced. We are a collection of the multitude of the parts and pieces of all of our relationships that have come before.
Therefore, it would behoove us – really benefit us – to take a look at some of those prior relationships that have shaped, molded, and colored us … made us who we are today.
Our relationships are like puzzles. Many pieces fit together to form a mosaic. Looking only at a single piece won’t do us much good at all. We may not need all of the pieces of the puzzle; however, we will need many, and some will be more important, more significant than others.
Depending on how you put the pieces together determines the picture that you will see. Different people and different situations yield different pictures, different relationships.
Relationships are the product. They are made. Of, from, and by people. You cannot have an interpersonal relationship without people. They are the key ingredient in the mix. And although there can be people without interpersonal relationships, studies have shown that excessive isolation can cause serious physical and mental health issues.
Too often, people view relationships as a lone and separate entity, void of the people and everything that those people represent. This is how people mistakenly think about relationships: as a competition. They think of it as a competition between them and their relationships and between the parties to their relationships. As in: I have to, or I need to do this for the relationship. You either place the relationship above yourself, or you place yourself above the relationship.
This is flawed thinking because your relationships are a part of you. Your relationships don’t exist without you.
Therefore, when you think in terms of the relationship first, when you’re doing things for the relationship, when you are driving, or leading, you are “putting the cart before the horse”, so to speak.
And when we place the relationship before ourselves, we risk changing, or betraying who we really are for the sake of the relationship, or for the other person. If this is the case, it isn’t your relationship, it is someone else’s. Someone who simply looks like us.
Relationships are the result of the expectations and acceptances of both parties combined together. Each person’s expectations and acceptances are governed by their own particular past, their path. This is what brands, or forms, their perspective.
When people’s expectations, acceptances, and perspectives are either aligned or supportive, we have an additive situation: a collaboration, a moving closer, or a moving together.
Alternately, when people’s expectations, acceptances, and perspectives are either misaligned or opposing, we have a subtractive situation: a competition, a moving apart, a moving separately – as in: “we’ve grown apart”.
Relationships are not about being identical. That is, we don’t have to need or want the same things at the same times.
Relationships are not opposites. Opposites do not attract. This is a misuse and misunderstanding of the word opposite. Studies prove this, but do we really need a study to tell us that “birds of a feather flock together”, or that “you need to have things in common”?
Relationships are complementary. In other words, different is not opposite. As long as you want to give what the other person needs and they want to give you what you need, regardless of what you or they want for yourselves, that is complementary.
This is where the so called “golden rule” fails. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is just incorrect. In that world, there would only be one type of person, as we would all need, want, give, and get the same exact things. You can research this, and you will find that it is actually a misquote of the original statement. All these years you’ve been saying, thinking, and believing the wrong thing.
Instead, we must want to give the other party what they need and want, and in turn we must want to get what they want to give us in return, while at the same time, they must want to give us what we need and want while wanting to receive what we want to give.
Your Relationship Result challenge
This week’s challenge is for you to find the ways in which you have separated yourself from your relationships, as if they were separate and apart from you. Ponder these questions:
How do you affect those relationships?
How do you affect the people you are in those relationships with?
How do your relationships affect you?
How do the people that you are in relationships with affect you?
Let me know the answers to all of these questions.
Good Together: your guide to healthy, happy relationships
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