Humans are social beings. Which means we live together in communities. No man is an island is a cliche that is often overlooked. Many won’t even think twice about it but fail miserably at its application. There is no real choice but to deal with other people through out your life so it is better you learn how to do it well. In this article we’ll explore the social component of personal development.
Role playing instead human relations
We interact with each other in different forms and this can have so much influence on how the interaction goes down. In today’s world, we mostly take to role playing in dealing with other humans. At the bank for example, the tellers see other humans as clients and in turn they are also seen as tellers probably marked with numbers.
When such interactions occur the human touch is often lost. Clients play the role of clients and tellers assume their role. It is much more like a movie, where one pretends to be a character to portray the story or play. We do this all the time. Even at home, parents play the role of parents and children as children, we fail to deal with each other as complete individuals. A gate man will treat you like trash when he has not seen you before. Probably you are the boss of his landlord but for now you are just a stranger at his gate.
If you want to engage in rich human interactions you have to learn to see beyond the roles we play. Treat people as people. This might sound simple but it is harder than it sounds. It is much easier dealing with people in their roles instead of as individuals. The attention you might pay to your best friend who walks through your work place might not be same as someone you see as just another client. That is why many people assume role playing in their everyday life. But to develop as a conscious being you need to treat people as unique individuals. This is not a customer relations lecture. In fact, there is even much more role playing in customer relations than you think.
Relationships are a tremendous source of learning and personal growth. Our greatest rewards in life originate there, as do our most challenging problems. We have all kind of relations with people, family, co-workers, class mates etc. Relationships can be complicated and we see the trouble that comes from a mishandled relationship almost everyday. This exposes the importance of considering relationships in your personal development plan.
The golden rule of all relationship is that no relationship is permanent. Every relationship has an end no matter what we chose to think of it. Some relationships may end when a partner or friend moves to another school or moves to another city for work or in death. Whatever might have caused the separation is not very important here. What is important is the fact that it ends. This means that you have to cherish every relationship as it lasts.
Another important fact is that you can’t be in relationship with everyone. This means that you need to be very choosy about who you allow into your life. And when a relationship does not serve you anymore you have to find a way to end it. This might sound cold but ending a relationship is much better than staying in a non-functional one. If you respect your partner enough you can reach a mutual conclusion with them so you can all move on.
Staying in a dead relationship will only lead to build up of resentment. If you know the relationship can be rescued by any means then do what you have to and if it is not working end it and move on.
Remember that you are the average of the top 5 people you spend your time most with. You might not be conscious of the influence of your associates but it is real. As you become intentional about your personal development, naturally you will fall out with some friends. When this happens, know that you are growing and it is perfectly OK. You need to seek out people higher than you in what you want to achieve and associate with them. If you want to be an entrepreneur find successful entrepreneurs and build a relationship with them. If you love to be rich find rich dudes and connect and if you want to be preacher do same. It is as simple as that. You can’t hope to be a pastor and spend all your time with friends at the brothel. It just doesn’t work that way.
Some people are polygamous while some chose to live the rest of their lives with a single partner. Some are also serially monogamous and they can be with as many people as possible but not two people at the same time. Today, there are many complicated forms of romantic associations in other parts of the world but at least most of such forms remain illegal around here so we wont talk about them.
Whatever style you chose, you need to know the associated consequences and make peace with it. The problems come when you follow other people in choosing without assessing how it is compatible with your personality. The whole idea of personal development is so you can be as true to yourself as possible. It is to be conscious of all your decisions. This means you need to know more about yourself, and exactly what you are compatible with. Do not delegate power to others to make your choices for you. Always remember, you will live with the consequences not them. Whatever relationship you choose, make peace with the fact that no relationship is permanent and treat this relationship with honesty and respect as it last.
You also need to know and respect the fact that a relationship involves two consenting parties. This means that your partner is not your property. S/he is a whole human with an identity which has to be respected. Many people go into relationships with the mindset of losing themselves. When you enter a relationship you need to be clear about what your interests are and let your partner understand they dont own you. The cement of every relationship is communication with truth love and power. This means you need to be true with your feelings and communicate it with your partner. Most relationships fall apart because of lack of honest communication.
Neediness in a relationship
There is an idea that you need your partner in a relationship to make you complete. That is an absurd way to think about relationships. We enter into a relationship on mutual grounds for synergy. We empower each other for life through continuous support and caring. But we are complete humans on our own. You should be able to live on your own before your enter a romantic relationship. The neediness is what makes many relationships so possessive and abusive. One partner feels they own the other and so they must live life to their terms. This is the reason relationships hardly survive these days.
Neediness is a toxin to any form of relationship. If you go into relationship with the mindset of being only half a human and that you need the other party to make you complete it will be difficult to find fulfilment in such a relationship. “I can’t live without you”, that is bull shit. Don’t let that crap affect your decency. Your partner will sense your neediness and abuse you. Sometimes people feel so trapped inside their own homes. They know the relationship is toxic but there feel powerless to act.
To succumb to a relationship that weaken you or make you feel trapped is to give away your authority as a human. It’s your responsibility to remedy such situations, regardless of the circumstances. Realize that you can choose to leave at any time. There may be negative consequences to doing so, such as loss of income if you leave an abusive
partner, but such problems are temporary.
Around here, it is usually men who feel like they own the woman hence they woman must live according to their terms. So we often hear folklores such as “marriage is patience, you have to take all the pain”, “Love is painful”, “see your husband as your father” and so on. Most of these are complete description of non-functional relationships. In such a relationship there high chances of dishonesty, fear, bad blood and perpetual suffering. If you don’t think a relationship can be mutually beneficial why do you enter one?
I know there might be some sacrifices you have to make to build a relationship but the end goal should be a mutually beneficial outcome. The woman is a free woman so is the man. They should be able to connect and build relationship with whoever they chose. If you can’t trust your partner then there is no need getting together in the first place.
Societal pressure and relationships
This is a peculiar problem around here. We have made up some incorrect assumptions that puts so much pressure on a young man or woman to hurry into relationship and marriage. This make people feel so helpless and go ahead to marry into a relationship they know is dysfunctional just for the sake of marriage. You need to know that marriage in not compulsory and you have a total authority over who and when you chose to marry if you marry at all. Do not be coerced by any form of limiting believe systems.
Most people do this thinking it is a requirement of their religion. I’m yet to see any religion which makes it compulsory for their followers to marry let alone marry early. You marry when you are ready or if you want to. The same people that will talk you into unprepared relationships are the same who will talk when it breaks down or leaves you in bitterness.
Take your time to develop your relationship goals. Know exactly who you want to be with and when you find someone communicate clearly your values and your expectation of the relationship. There should not be any form of concealing of inner motions. These little things are the ones that will grow to poison the relationship.
I personally have a written set of requirements I desire in a partner. I’m not under pressure to enter any relationship so I won’t settle. It does not mean once I find someone that fits my requirements I will never have relationship problems but definitely such a relationship cannot be toxic. There is a clear understanding and it is more likely to be a healthy one. However, if it proves otherwise, you can always leave. There is no hard written rules to this. Don’t enter a relationship out of pity or anything other than a clear conviction that it is going to empower you and foster your personal growth.
Why should you avoid a dysfunctional relationship?
A relationship should be empowering and supportive. When you return home from work your hope is to find peace and calmness to rest for the next day. Unfortunately a toxic relationship cant achieve that, in fact, your work place will become your heaven. You do everything to stay away and if children come along, this bitterness will infect them and affect their own development.
Your negativity from this relationship will spill to affect all your other relationships even at work. You may yell at your subordinates unnecessarily in reaction to something that happened at home.
Under this condition you are in perpetual stress which will prone you the cardiovascular diseases like obesity, heart issues, stroke etc. This form of living has sent many to early graves unfortunately. Take all the time you want to find a compatible partner and if you make a mistake don’t be afraid to correct it even if it means breaking the relationship. There is no honor is misguided loyalty if it only brings you down.
This is one of the most important areas of personal development and should be approached with utmost attention and care. You can’t live well with others until you learn to live well with yourself. Your feelings about yourself is usually what you export to your external relationships. You need to build a healthy relationship with yourself and it will spill out to affect everyone that get close to you.