If we look for everything in one friendship or relationship are we creating our own stress and limiting our own evolvement and enjoyment in the process?
On a recent spring clean through my wardrobe of personal relationships (whilst mercury was retrograde always a good time for reflection). Leading me to ask the question can one friendship satisfy all of our needs according to how we feel on a particular day?
Whilst there are many scientific and neurobiological reasons that influence who we are attracted to such as gender, kin and social status all namely important for reproduction and survival. Do we understand how to evolve these relationships?
Our brains are wired to be social for example, the occipital cortex is responsible for how we observe others. An evolutionary ancient pathway connecting the superior colliculus controls basic visual information along with the amygdala which sits at the very heart of regulating strong human emotions.
I remember not too long ago that this topic of how to manage relationships was at the core of a coaching session. The client was always feeling overwhelmed and pressured to behave in a certain way or yes to everything she was invited to. Often fed up with wearing herself out and putting herself in a financial strife for fear of how her friends would respond. Namely how they might socially exclude her from the group. More importantly, this pressure had other implications for her business and relationship.
RELATIONSHIP SPRING CLEAN
One of the first things l asked her to do was Relationship Spring Clean. An exercise with a small set of questions, which involved her making a list of everyone that was still in her life and then separating them into the following columns; Acquaintances, School, University, Work, Family, Partner. How often she saw or spoke to them. Who she really enjoyed spending time with who lifted her who didn't and how many of these relationships were mutually beneficial? Our goal was to understand and determine just how many of these relationships she had outgrown either out of habit or obligation. More importantly, how many of the important relationships she was stifling by spending less time on them. Providing a pivotal turning point to understand each of her relationships and helped her cull what was no longer working for her.
Just like the old stories we often tell ourselves about why we can't do certain things. Sometimes, l think we are all guilty of dipping into the same unconscious pattern with our relationships. Often in denial about how we may have evolved but how our relationships haven't.
Therefore, can taking the time to review our relationships from time to time save us from resentment, disappointment and frustration? Can a regular Relationship Spring Clean save the relationships and friendships that matter to us the most from extinction? And regulate the areas of the brain that are used in social interaction?
Our ability to be able to see and hear each individual's personality as they really are might provide us with an understanding of; a) of why we're attracted to the person b) the place they will have in our life and c) what type of relationship we are going to have with them and finally d) if it's going to be mutually beneficial. Creating an environment for more honest, open communication, resonance and acceptance.