Have you ever asked yourself how well you know your partner? What are their beliefs
and what do you know about their family of origin and their values? We are all moulded
differently and our psychological needs are not the same either. Apart from that, we
draw from every value system which we form part of throughout our life experiences
and the people we meet.
Balancing ME vs We
Paying attention to one’s psychological needs is very important. However, in a
relationship, one needs to identify what is important to their partner as well as what their
needs are. A few social scientists believe that today, people have moved from having a
quest to grow personally too far to becoming much like narcissists. Therefore, balancing
the personal and the couple’s mindset plays an essential role in a couple’s relationship.
Finding the balance helps couples to become more emotionally tied to one another and
caring each other’s issues whilst thriving to build a stronger relationship. One that when
rainy days follow, they will come out together even stronger. Having a growth mindset is
also important in a relationship. When a person adopts a growth mindset, they allow
themselves to grow through challenges and view feedback as an opportunity to grow
rather than as criticism.
First and foremost, we need to understand where we come from to know where we are
going. It works the same in a relationship. First, allow time to get to know yourself well.
The following questions might help: – What are your values and beliefs? Where did you
get these from? What do you know about your family of origin?
Therapists usually use a tool known as a Genogram to help their clients visualise their family of origin (family tree) and ask questions about family members to assist their clients in understanding
where did they get that belief/behaviour from. Once you answer certain questions and
you understand yourself better, then allow your partner to get to know you deeply by sharing this knowledge so that your partner can also understand from where you are drawn. Also, be curious to ask your partner about their family of origin and one’s past relationships. All the people we have met and
we meet formulate part of our story and leave imprints that mould us through the
experiences that we live.
‘We’ as a Team
Once you understand yourself, then it is a balance between the ‘me’ vs ‘we’. In a
relationship, ideally one moves from the ‘me’ to adopt an ‘us’ approach to formulate the
idea of a ‘team’ with one’s partner therefore, not one against the other but one team
with each partner accepting the one’s flaws and accepting the different perspectives
which each one holds. A couple adopts an ‘us’ approach when you respect one another
even when you disagree, when you apologise if you argue, when you seek togetherness
and when one seeks their partner’s happiness.
No relationship is perfect but adopting an unselfish approach and making your partner a priority whilst still taking care of one’s needs is a good start to moving from a ‘me’ approach to a ‘WE’, to becoming a TEAM.
If you’d like to explore the ‘Me vs We’ in your relationship, we recommend you sign up for the Building Anti-Fragile Relationships sessions being delivered by Rachel Osmond and Matthew Bartolo.
Rachel Osmond is a Family Therapist with Willingness who works with individuals,
couples and families. She also has experience with children and adolescents.
If you’d like to explore your relationship further, you can also book an appointment with a professional here.