The Truth about Relationships
Letters to my unborn child.
We live our lives. We meet people. We create relationships. Some of them are healthy and some of them are not.
It took me years to understand human relationships the way I do now. I want to share with you my insights, that can resonate with some people, catalyze the development of personal mindset in others, and become a standpoint of argument with someone else.
As a prerequisite to the insight, it is important to understand how we perceive ourselves. For example, I have an Image of Self — a certain way of how I see myself in my own eyes, it is also the way I think other people see me.
The Second Image is the one that is created in the mind of the person with whom I interact based on his experience with me, and our shared history. Those two images are different.
Now, I have to understand that another person has the same Image of Self, and there is a corresponding Image in my head comprised of the opinions and experiences that I had with that person.
At the same time, the relationship also includes the things that we think other people think about us.
Well, for me, personally, that is too much thinking.
As you can see things get tangled, as there are too many parties involved. The relationship itself is not a simple and direct interaction between two people, it is the interaction between the images of selves and the images of others in our heads. All of these images are thought constructions, thoughts essentially, which brings me to the key insight:
All relationships are in your head.
For some of us it’s not news, but for many people, this insight can become liberating.
The realization of this helps to reframe many social situations to your benefit and adjust your behavior in ways it never worked for you but it could.
Let me give you some examples.
I had a friend. Well, I thought that I had a friend. We were roommates in the student dormitory for a long time and shared many trips and friendship moments.
Some tension always builds up when two people live together for a long time, and I have to say, honestly, sue to my principles I might be a very hard person to live with. Eventually, I guess, a lot of misunderstanding accumulated, and my friend started to distance himself from me. Our hang outs, talks and interaction in general became rare and colder. I felt that he was avoiding me.
My life position is established already. Whenever there is a tension between me and my friends, they know, I will tell them: “We are men. If you have a problem with me — spit it out. If I find it reasonable, I am ready to cooperate with you in order to find a solution. Otherwise, I wish you the best, and this is the moment where we go separate ways.” It is the way I roll. It is the way, I think, that men should be straight with each other and everyone else. This is a significant part of what I call Integrity.
One day, I finally had a conversation with my friend and he said one thing:
“What if I never thought of you as my friend? What if I don’t think of you as a friend right now? Am I still your friend?”
And that puzzled me for a moment. But a second later, I replied:
“No doubt. You are my friend regardless of what you think”.
At that very moment I formulated the principle that was waiting for its moment to be crystallized:
All relationships are in my head.
This mindset brought me to other realizations:
If you are not at peace with someone in your surroundings, you are not at peace with yourself.
If you had a fight with your girlfriend, you just placed a fight inside yourself. You are not at peace.
If you had an argument with your parents or senior, you just placed an argument inside yourself. You are not at peace.
If you said that your friend is an asshole, you just invited an asshole to live inside you. You are not at peace.
The realization of such simple thing as the nature of relationships gives you tremendous power.
You start to care about your relationships like you care about yourself. You start to care about people. Truly. You start to understand that even a person that you met just for 5 minutes, is already a part of you. He lives inside you and may affect your inner harmony. And this brings me to the concept of Karma.
Karma means Actions.
Every single action you do shift you slightly to a greater good or a bigger evil. In most of the cases, the changes are unnoticeable, but you can be sure they count. If you do wrong to someone, you do it to yourself, as the wrong starts to live inside you. And when you realize this, you know:
Kindness is a sign of Deep Intelligence.
Seriously, in my humble opinion, it takes some intelligence to draw a connection between being kind to others and inner peace. It’s sad to see many smart guys failing to see this connection, and as a result whenever struggling in their relationships and they don’t understand why they are so disbalanced inside.
There are other benefits too.
Your Practical Intelligence grows.
Practical Intelligence is a skill of making other people do what you want. Whereas making people want to do things you want them to do is a whole another level of mastery, yet it is achievable. When you understand how the relationships work, it becomes fairly easy to do so. In fact, most of us already know what we want to do. The secret to People’s Mastery is just to be someone who helps them to do those things, sees the power within them, and helps them to surface it.
Remember, all relationships are in your head.
People will treat you badly. Treat them well still.
People will say that you are wrong and you are an asshole. Say ‘thank you’.
People will stab you in the back. Forgive them and move on.
Let the karma fuck them up. I am joking. (Not joking).
Just take care of your inner peace.
We can’t make a world a peaceful place if we there is no peace inside ourselves. Seriously. Life is hard by itself, there is really no need to overcomplicate it. Let’s be nice. Let’s just help each other to get through it, would we?
❓ Do you have a question? Ask me! I answer daily on Quora.