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Do you always have to be right in your relationship?


You know how they say you can be right or you can be happy in reference to relationships? That is a huge dose of truth therapy right there! Why is it so much easier said than done for many people?

Well to start we all have this thing called an ego. Someone's ego is their sense of their own worth. If someone has a large ego, they think they are very important and valuable. What if they don't think their partner is as important and valuable? That means their partner has lower worth then? Listen, I am a therapist, I am ALL for having self-worth. But let's be like Goldilocks (From the three bears fairy tale) and go for a balanced ego.

The late Carl Jung (a psychotherapist) said "the first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it". I take this to mean in the context of relationship, it's important to have developed a healthy sense of self-worth (not having that causes it's own issues in relationship) but that one ultimately needs to realize they are no more or less important than anyone else. The realization of that breeds a spiritual awakening that brings unity, collaboration, intimacy and safety to partnerships. Some of us will naturally do this earlier in life, some may never get to this developmental milestone. If you want a happy relationship, this is a must.

Next time you find yourself in an argument with your significant other, try to notice if you are coming from a place of ego (eg. my point of view is more correct than his, she's wrong and I'm right and this is why...., and so forth) and take a step into vulnerable territory. What does that mean? Lay down the ego. It just wanted to protect you--but we don't get anywhere in our relationships by having big walls up. It means taking a deep breath (taking a 10-20 min walk/break by yourself if you're really agitated/angry), and saying something intimate. Here's an example : "Hey, I hear you, you sound really upset about x, y and z. I think I feel really defensive because I'm afraid I'm not good enough. I don't necessarily agree with your point of view but I can understand why you feel that way given your point of view. Can we try to come up with a solution together that works well enough for both of us?" You can shape this model to fit your situation.

This dialogue shifts from angry, defensive, egotistical to that of trust, collaboration and intimacy. Happy relationships aren't about never fighting, they are about fighting right. (Now that I AM right about! haha!)