Search This Blog

Showing posts with label helpful. Show all posts
Showing posts with label helpful. Show all posts

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How inconsiderate!: 2D vs. 3D relationships revisited.

I've had a person at some point in my life that has the capacity to be considerate--no it's not my wife or someone close like that--but anyway the person gets stuck.  He's the type that would be helpful, but on his terms.   He's the type that would seem to be thoughtful or considering you, but then he'd do something which would remind you that you ultimately he is considering himself first.  

If you had a friend like that and he was throwing you a birthday party, he'd run it in a way that he thought was cool.  That is, it would be more important that he do something he'd like and tell himself that he'd know you like it, than to actually find out what is truly important to you.  He'd be the type that would contribute to a cause you had, but only if it was in a way that he found appropriate rather than the most helpful way.   He'd be the type that would watch you dog, walk him, medicate him and feed him, but only in the manner (or timing) that he thought was appropriate or comfortable with him, not in the manner closer to which the dog is most comfortable with.  He'd pat himself on the back for 'taking good care of Rover', when his 'help' confused Rover and threw Rover off his schedule.   Sometimes you are just so grateful for the help that you overlook the self-centered  nature of other's 'consideration'.  However, in a romantic relationship (or other close relationship) that can be a problem.   Considering others on your terms is NOT a building block of a healthy relationship.  You might pick out a gift which you think is really neat and your spouse will thank you but not use--a sign of not knowing him or her (or not being willing to consider clues they've given).   When that disconnect seems to be the rule rather then the exception, it leads to what I call a 2D relationship.  That is your significant other knows things about you, but don't really know you (or accept you for who you are).  I contrast that with what I call a 3D relationship, where they know things about you, but they ultimately know what really makes you tick or what is important to you AND accept you for it.

When asked what are the building blocks of a good relationship, people.   According to Psychology Today by Abigail Brenner M.D. (April 26, 2017), the following are the building blocks of a good relationship:

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Intimacy
  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Equity
We can all come up with our own lists which might look a bit different, but at the end of the day, what do the elements of all our lists have in common?  They all reflect or are underpinned by the thoughtfulness of  consideration.   I'm not talking about just sort of thinking about the other person, but what I call True Consideration.  That is, consideration of others on their terms and because it is the right thing to do.  I will differ it from what I call Narcissist's Consideration.  That is, so-called consideration you would give for selfish motives and on your terms..  Let's take a look at how you can reflect each and how True consideration underpins the building blocks of a good relationship.   Above I discussed how consideration would look when it is offered (or not) by another.  Below I decided to switch the perspective to YOU being the one who offers (or doesn't offer) consideration.   

TYPES OF CONSIDERATION

    TRUE CONSIDERATION
  • You work to know the other person and what is important to them.  
    • You ask questions, observe and listen to them, not just hear them.
  • You focus on what they indicate is important to them. 
    • You don't just listen for a few keywords, but you listen to their thoughts, especially in context..
  • Your helpful or thoughtful actions are done optimally because you really want to and with a cheerful demeanor.
    • In other words, showing consideration/being helpful for others brings you a level of satisfaction.
  • Even when you really don't feel like being particularly thoughtful or helpful, you do it anyway.
    • The person is important to you and you know it is just the right thing to do.
  • You don't make or base your decisions  to 'show consideration' based on what you figure you'll get out of the equation.
    • You don't look for praise by your significant other or outside praise.  In other words, you are looking to show everyone or make a case what a considerate person you are.
    • You don't look for "advantage" to be gained by 'showing consideration''.   In other words, you don't cynically look at consideration as to what can I get out of this later.
  • You may even 'hide' consideration.  
    • You just do considerate things without being asked or saying anything.  In other words, it just seems like a nice thing to do and your heart just wants to do nice things.
    •  If help or consideration is 'discovered', you may minimize or dismiss it. 
      • It could be out of being shy or embarrassment of positive attention that way.  Some people just don't like to be the center of attention.
      • If could be because your faith or code encourages you not to brag on yourself.  As I understand my faith (Christianity), I shouldn't seek out praise of others.   

    NARCISSIST CONSIDERATION
  • Your focus is often more on what YOU think is appropriate for other person, rather that what is important to them.
    • This shows it is all about what YOU and your hubris as it relates to others.
  • When 'showing consideration', you only show consideration in a way that is comfortable to you.
    • That shows it is more about what is easiest or best for you, rather than what is the most helpful for others. 
    • That shows that you are trying to 'control the terms' of helpfulness or consideration.
  • When 'showing consideration', you calculate what will get the most positive feedback and positive attention. 
    • You are trying to impress everyone and put on a 'good presentation' for everyone.
    • Really this is trying to control what others think about you.
  • When 'showing consideration', your motive is doing so to gain advantage or even control.  
    • 'Consideration' may be withheld when you determine there is little advantage or more disadvantage than advantage.  In other words, what's in it for me.
    • Conversely, consideration may be shown when there is enough advantage for you.
      • Help or 'thoughtfulness' is contingent on returning favors or you gaining a tactical advantage.  Help or consideration is only offered if you get something out of it.


TRUE CONSIDERATION AND
  • Trust - Our actions and words are undertaken with consideration as to what would help to build trust in a relationship, where applicable.
  • Commitment -  This takes a lifetime of true consideration towards your other.  You are considerate toward the other and the relationship in general.
  • Intimacy - Consideration in intimacy is the willingness to bare your soul or allow your other to be their soul, even if it is not always comfortable.  In other words, when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are considering the other person as we are giving them the chance to know us and permission for them to do the same.  We are appreciating their needs that way. 
  • Respect - True consideration in a relationship implies respect for our other.  We are regarding their other person to be an equal partner to us.  We would hold deep regard for them and what is important for them.   Obviously, a relationship works best if they hold the same.
  • Communication  - This can be challenging.  Being considerate with communication means you are willing to let the other express what is important to them w/o cutting them off and truly listening to them, not just hearing them.  It also can mean considerate enough to show restraint in expressing yourself where it could be harmful or showing a willingness to have express yourself to, especially where it could be helpful.
  • Empathy - If you are stepping in your other's shoes to try to empathize with them, you are clearly considering them.
  • Equity - To be fair and just with your other, you have to take into account what is important to them.  That is, what what they might see as fairness. You cannot just decide what is equitable in the relationship and then impose it on the relationship. 

I believe consideration underlies all the building blocks of our relationships.  It is important that we are truly considerate with others and vs. more or less fake it.  This is especially true with our significant other.  Like much in life we have to check our motives, to know if we are being truly considerate.  Are our motives for being 'considerate' more based on ourselves or based on others?  Intuitively, if we are honest, we know why we are being helpful or 'considerate'.   If we are honest, we know whether it is authentic and in a way that others find helpful.  Alternatively, we would know if it is for show or advantage.  Also, we would know if consideration is just given in a way we think it should be given or that only in the way we think it should be given.

If we truly want healthy relationships, we simply just have to know how to properly consider others.  This is especially true with our significate others.  For some couples, they pick this up early.  For other couples it takes time and maturity.  And still yet for others, they may never really learn how to be truly considerate of each other (and probably end up getting divorced).  Ultimately, the most important ingredient here is a willingness to learn how to do so.  If you are open to learning how to be truly considerate, the sky can be the limit for your relationship.  If not, well, your relationship might just be another statistic.

In closing, I'd like you to CONSIDER all I've said and see if it could help you. 

-- Rich


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If I am only nice enough/helpful enough...

When people think addiction, they think addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating, sex or something similar.  These are all legitimate answers on what are some types of addictions.  One type that I think is missed is codependence.  I have come to realize that codependence is a form of addiction.  It is an addiction to the approval of others.

In listening to codependent personalities, including myself at times I get the sense of if I am only helpful, understanding, kind, generous, loving, caring enough, then I will be loved.   From what I see, often times that produces an exact opposite type response.

* Those on the other side of the equation will take your good nature for granted and will take advantage of you.  In short, they will not respect you and will have a hard time 'loving' you.

* Those on the other side of the equation will see that the codependent has no respect for themselves, but instead is trying to get respect for themselves through approval of another.  This can put off another person.

In a large sense, a more honest assessment of the situation is that a codependent "giver", often gives to get something in return: approval.  They may believe that they are giving because they are good people and to some degree they may be good natured givers.  However, if they really examined their motives, they will find that they much of their impulse to 'give' to those they hope to get approval from.  Now, we are social creatures and it is normal to hope to be approved, but it shouldn't be our primary motivator.  From what I see, if tailor our behavior toward doing the right thing, because it is the right thing--often seen as the golden rule--then I believe we will be approved and appreciated by those who are most important to us.  Ultimately, that is the reflection of  a spiritual self-approval.  

The way I've come to understand it is this.  When I strip away everything and everyone else, what I have left is God and myself.  While I know I'm not perfect, I know He doesn't expect me to be perfect.  What I have to seek out what is in His eyes, the right choices.  If my Higher Power approves of my life choices and my heart, then I have a solid foundation.  Anyone and anything else who 'approves' of me is secondary.  I expect everyone's understand of where their core approval is based is not quite the same, but I believe the point is clear. Base your need for approval in yourself (and your faith) first, and you will be less reliant on codependently seeking the approval of others.

I think one verse in the Bible puts it properly on I believe where to behave your approval:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)