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The Dance Between Relationships

The Dance Between Relationships
26 Jul 2017

Relationships are powerful; there is no doubt about that. Humans are wired to need emotional connection. The quality of your life is determined to a large extent by the type of relationships you keep and the people with whom you have ongoing connections with. Relationships get toxic when they strip you of your freedom and begin to reduce the quality of your life. You need to be able to identify toxic relationships and know how to deal with them decisively.

For starters, I do not think it is wise to ever try to manage a toxic relationship. Once you identify one, it is time to get out of it. You know why? In many cases people never really change; waiting around for someone to appreciate you or to be better friends is not the best sometimes. There are over seven billion people on earth; you do not need to stay stuck to any relationship, especially if it is eating away at the core of who you are as a person.

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding toxic relationships:

1. Keep working at it

Rome was not built in a day. Similarly, relationships and friendships are not built in a day. If you want to get the best out of your relationships and stop them from growing toxic, take the time to cultivate them deliberately. If you truly value the relationship, it must cost you time, money, sacrifice and every other resource at your disposal. Great relationships don’t just happen, people make them.

2. Avoid the one person show

One of the first signs of a toxic relationship is that one person runs it. One person pays the bills; one person does the talking, one person decides where to meet, when to talk and what to do. As long as there is no collaboration at every point, one party is just a sitting duck, and that is toxicity in the making.

3. Forgive one another

The truth is that you will hurt each other at one point or another; be on the lookout for traces of bitterness and unforgiveness before the person turns it on you or before you turn it on the other person. If you or your friend or any other person you have a relationship with has a problem with forgiving people, you will be caught up in the storm that comes from lack of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness turns up a toxic whirlwind of anger, hatred and bitterness. It’s a trap that many of us fall into.

4. Never expect too much from people

It is good to believe that your friends and loved ones will do the best for you all the time but the reality is that some of our biggest let downs come from the people closest to us, so it may be wise to trust people but controlled expectations. You never know what the other person is going through at any point in time and sometimes the person you think can take a bullet for you may be the one on the other side of the trigger.  The best way to save yourself from huge disappointments is to learn to have your own back. The less you expect from people, the less your chances of disappointment and if people do turn up and cover your back, it will be a fantastic bonus.

5. Aggression and relationships

This is very important; it is painful to stay in a relationship where someone is always yelling at you because he or she is angry or because you made a mistake or you just did something they didn’t like. Aggression is one of the key drivers of toxicity in relationship. Aggression breeds violence and violent conduct is one of the biggest sources of breakdowns in relationships. On the other hand, passive aggressive behavior also leads to difficulties in interactions between people and estrangement in relationships comes as a result. Aggression comes as a result of a flawed understanding of communication. It may be wise to stay away from relationships where aggression of one form or the other is continuously manifesting itself.

6. Strange relationship ideals

I have met a few of individuals who hold on to certain relationship myths and strange philosophies. These may include things like ‘women are less than men in a relationship,’ you must do my bidding if you want to be my friend,’ and ‘you must call me every day’. If you do not share those belief systems, you may need to take a walk. Every healthy relationship has the ingredient of freedom of ideas and thoughts; if you meet people whose view you do not share, it is your choice and even your responsibility to make a wise decision. Diversity and differences should be the fuel that makes relationships dynamic instead of becoming a source of strife.

7. Avoid pay back

Relationships are full of slingshots and arrows that often come in a person’s direction, harming and hurting them and in the process, may spark the desire to pay-back. In some cases it comes veiled after someone helps you with something and they believe that you owe them for helping you out at a particular time. What your friends do for you should never turn into a tool with which they begin to manipulate you and get you to do things for them when it is not convenient for you. Avoid people who remind you of their good deeds to you so you can do their bidding.

Conclusion: Every Relationship is a dance.

There is a natural ebb and flow in relationships, a movement between intimacy and distance. In the beginning, it can be easy to move to the music with your partner, friends or colleagues. But over time, things change. Maybe it’s a simple misunderstanding, and one of you feels hurt. You step on each other’s toes. Wherever it comes from, something happens, and the music changes.

Hal and Sidra Stone in their research titled The dance of the selves in a relationship highlight that it takes two people(two selves) to dance and that only through the efforts of all the parties involved can a relationship avoid developing toxicity. A relationship in itself is a teacher, you learn a lot about other people and you learn a lot about yourself through interactions with other people. Relationships challenge us to grow. Each relationship carries within it the guidance for our further development and growth as well as the seeds of its own destruction. And the destruction will only come about as a direct result of toxicity gone unchecked.

If you like this article, please feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your network. The more we discuss these leadership issues, the better our chance of making a difference. You can see more of my work here, but if it works better for you, drop me a message in my inbox, I’d love to have a conversation with you.

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