Consider life being a ginormous play. Basically, you’re an actor. The world is your stage. As your understanding of life deepens, you start to hear subtle tones. After a while, you recognize patterns and thus melodies. The theater turns into a musical. You transform into a dancer.
Relationships are dances.
You practice them frequently – in most cases subconsciously. What does this mean? Well, it translates into the role you’re playing and the image you’ve about yourself and others. Vice versa, others too have an image of you and themselves. Surprisingly or not, the images don’t differ a lot. The outside perspective is actually a function of your self-image. The way you see yourself impact the way others see you. If you think you’re insignificant, others will treat you that way because your lack of confidence shines through. If you think you’re as important as anyone else, others will treat you equally.
What’s more? Similar to images, human relationships are based on the concept of consistency as well. This means that interactions between two people are dependent on the perceptions the actors have about themselves and the other party. This perception gets usually confirmed and thus reinforced over time. I used to have the nice-guy-stamp on my forehead in my family. So whenever I went to gatherings, such as birthdays, others expected me to be “nice”. In order to meet their expectations, I would avoid conflicts and told people what they wanted to hear.
How do you break the beat?
You learn and grow as life progresses. This is the reason why we founded ExperienceZone as a platform for controlled personal transformations. Anyway, deadlocked dances can prevent growth and need to be changed. This is how you do it:
- Make up your mind. What’s your role within your family? Are you the nice guy, black sheep or clown? Identity internal and external biases. This starts with introspection via a personality analysis and ends with a family constellation and evaluation of roles and relationships within. Once you know which roles you’re playing, you gain clarity about the related dances.
- Have meta-conversations. The longer you engage in a habit, the harder it is to change it. Same applies to dances. Awareness is the first step. However, you’re smoking crack if you think you can change those instantly. Reason being, there’s a partner on the other side, who’s used to that dance and would like to continue it for the sake of consistency. Since it’s impossible to change others, you want to talk with her about how you perceived your relationship, why it is dysfunctional and how you plan to transform it to get buy-in.
- Make decisions. If the other person isn’t willing or capable of changing your dance, “changing” falls off the serenity prayer option list. Hence, “loving” or “leaving it” is left. I don’t recommend former, since although re-framing might increase your well-being, you’re still stuck. Consequently, the only meaningful option left is “leaving it”. Tell the other person that you need at least a break for the sake of your self-development. It might sound hard yet will give the other one space and time to reflect upon her behavior.