There are many factors that contribute to building relationships that are healthy, life-giving, vibrant, intimate, and enjoyable:
While all the things mentioned above significantly contribute to having dynamic, meaningful, and loving relationships -- at the core -- the best relationships can only be developed if I know myself: I mean REALLY know who I am, what my purpose is, and what I want.
When we truly know who we are and what we want out of life, we can begin to build relationships with self and others that are truly powerful and fulfilling!
I was doing marriage coaching with a couple, and I began to notice a recurring theme that caused a tremendous amount of friction and frustration in their relationship.
The husband liked to drive fast, do rolling stops, crank the music… he loved STIMULUS!
The wife continued to -- as he would call it -- nag him: "Slow down! Why do you have to drive crazy all the time?"
He would often respond, "Why do you always have to nag me. Don't be a backseat driver!"
Until we began to unpack this, neither ever considered that the other's actions weren't personal. We discovered that God wired the husband to be able to handle a ton of stimulus (in technical terms his brain's Autonomic Nervous System | afferent / efferent nerves | sympathetic / parasympathetic systems). In fact, not only were the pathways that were carved in his brain able to handle a ton of stimulus (taste, touch, feel, see, smell) before shutting down, but he actually NEEDED STIMULUS in order to get warmed up.
As the coaching continued, he began to realize that he always needed significant stimulus before an important meeting or event. Until now, he never realized this. In fact, he didn't know why he did this. You see, his brain needed to get warmed up. Without the stimulating warm up, his brain didn't fire and he had lots of mental cobwebs and a greatly decreased cognitive functioning.
We began to discover, on the other hand, that the wife was wired the exact opposite. She got overwhelmed very quickly when there was too much stimulus. She didn't want to drive fast, crank loud music, talk on the phone, and roll down all the windows all the time -- especially not at 8am in the morning. With even moderate stimulus her brain would begin to shut down -- releasing uncomfortable chemicals in her brain.
During these "stimulating" encounters -- on the surface -- the couple just got angry with each other; but as we unpacked this cyclical situation they each made some significant discoveries. Deep underneath, in their subconscious, both were experiencing deep root feelings (anger and frustration are secondary emotions, not root or primary emotions). Feelings of being unappreciated and even rejected by the other. In other words, these recurring "fear dances" (to quote Dr. Gary Smalley) were slowly and significantly chiseling away; not only at their relationship with each other, but their own esteem and emotional well being as well (relationship with self).
Once the husband discovered that God created his wife with a lower threshold for stimulus, he realized his wife wasn’t trying to nag him; she was genuinely scared. Her begging him to slow down wasn’t personal.
Once the wife realized that God wired her husband’s brain with a need to be stimulated, she realized his driving wasn’t personal. He did care about her. But unbeknownst to him, he actually needed the stimulus.
Now he drives slower.
Now she is more patient when he gets a little case of the “lead foot”.
Since ancient Greece, great teachers of wisdom have been urging people: “Know Thyself!” In order to build good relationships with others, we must also have a good relationship with self. At YOU. Only Better.™ we call this identity intelligence.™ To learn more about identity intelligence.™ and our identity intelligence.™ inventory, I invite you to click our “Identity” tab at www.YOU-Only-Better.org
Our coaching can empower you to have great relationships! Let us know if we can help you.
Author: Scott Stockton
President, YOU. Only Better.™