@ChangeChallenge, @CommonSense

Ingrown relationship urge

After the umpteenth film and book, after so many years of looking around, I notice that people are mainly concerned with relationships.

Of course people also think in other terms: money, power, prestige, success, love and much more. But in the end all of those things have something to do with relationships. The fact that there are so many artistic expressions surrounding this theme also indicates that on the one hand we do not get enough of it, and on the other hand that good long-term relationships are not interesting. Boring, just to say it. Admittedly, there are expressions about the richness of a good relationship, but you will not eat much bread out of it, so to speak. It becomes interesting only when we put on such a good relationship extra thickly, preferably in contrast to the difficult circumstances in which it thrives. It remains to a large extent the drama that appeals to us. Loosened feelings that can lead to different situations: from entertaining to (unfortunately) very sad events.

From the outside we always see exactly where things go wrong, but for ourselves we usually do not have that clearly on the retina. Oh, we sense quite well that something doesn’t go smoothly, but then also to put the finger on the sore spot, look in the mirror and draw the right conclusions from it rarely happens. Like already described in my ebook “Reality, it’s (just) a thought!”, we need relationships to realize that we have an identity. We seek recognition and confirmation, and something like biological reproduction is the ultimate proof of that. Even though rational reasons sometimes play a role, such as socio-economic certainty, or strengthening the bond between two families, ultimately heart and feelings predominate. Without a rational counterweight, this often leads to problems in or with your environment. Even between partners, doubts can arise if everything goes well for a long time without disagreement. The feelings that belongs to a lively relationship simply must be expressed (both positive and negative).

It is also interesting to see that people sometimes strive for a relationship quality where that isn’t possible. Unrequited loves are an example of this, but also stalk behavior and Internet stinking (love and hatred are two expressions of the same principle), just like family feuds that never solve anything.
Embedded in organizations we try to hide these things behind the denominator “professional behavior”, but here too I often see the subcutaneous dynamic seeping through. People often already know at the first contact whether there’s mutual sympathy. You hardly need to invest energy in such a partnership. If cooperation is more difficult, then there are rules, behavior norms and often also coaches or confidants. In the longer or shorter term, two people who are forced to work together in such a constellation will eventually split up. Very often after that you see an improvement in efficiency and effectiveness in their working environment. Strangely enough, we often force ourselves to continue in such situations. ‘Giving up is not an option’, ‘you have to keep trying and learn from your mistakes’, ‘you have to question your own behavior and motives’ and other similar moral claims from the environment prevent rapid adjustments. I call that “mosquito-love”: despite all the signs that you are not welcome, keep persevering and seek rapprochement until you get crushed. People are often damaged in such circumstances.

There is no solution to this dilemma.
It is, as it were, in our genes. That’s partly due to the biological selection process which ensures that we select an environment offering the best chance of survival. Or an environment that gives me the most appreciation as an individual. As long as on average the interactions are satisfactory, you take that bad apple up for sale. Even if you say that someone having a relationship problem should “stay with themselves” (the most common advice), chances are that their brain simply confirms that what he/she does is best for him/her. In such a case it can help to reason from the others perspective. In the end it’s kind of a negotiation that hopefully leads to a win-win situation. And if the other person can’t or won’t, then there are still so many others in this world. You always have a choice with whom you deal with, even within a group. If, however, the signals and the beacons clearly indicate that a shared future is not desirable, then why continue? Why put energy in convincing the other if you can also use it to find simpler alternatives?

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