When we believe that the needs of others are equal to our needs, we create a foundation for mutual respect. We enter into mature relationships. It’s easier to make compromises and negotiate agreements.
It doesn’t mean that we won’t experience a sense of loss in negotiating agreements – a loss of options and opportunities. It might feel difficult. Who likes experiencing loss?
It doesn’t mean that we won’t also experience confusion. Do we always know what we need in relationships with others?
But we will avoid the trap of ignoring our needs or self-sacrificing them in our yearning for connection. We will avoid the temptation to disregard other’s needs in our impulse toward selfishness.
Being in mature relationships isn’t about unconditional -or selfless– love. It’s about transactional love, a give-and-take relationship based on reciprocity where your needs matter as much as mine.
In our romantic relationships and even professional ones, we tend to mix up the two kinds of love. I certainly caught myself many times in my early career expecting my team mates to love me unconditionally, no matter what I was doing… I was mixed up and a pain in the neck!
Or perhaps was I unconsciously avoiding the confronting but necessary work to make compromises and negotiate agreements? Ultimately to build healthy relationships, there’s no other way around it.
Reflections: How do you relate to your needs? To other’s needs? How do you relate to making compromises and negotiating agreements in your relationships?