Long-lasting relationships are the key to a better world.
Have you ever thought of what it would be like to be the only human on Earth? Does it scare you? I bet it does. Even introverts cherish human companionship sometimes. I know this because I am an introvert. Without human beings around to socialize with, there is a big possibility that my mind would one day spiral into delirium.
But growing up introverted, the prospect of mingling with people who don’t share my beliefs was challenging and laborious. I always fell out with my siblings and friends alike. However, despite my differences, I still longed for a long-lasting and healthy relationship with people because I am human.
One sunny afternoon, my father sat me down on a mat and taught me the three ingredients for ensuring a successful and long-lasting relationship. They are:
- Develop the ability to understand who people are
- Learn to accept people for who they are
- Cultivate the habit of adapting to accommodate the people in your life
1. Develop the ability to understand who people are
We all have unique behaviours different from our friends or even families. Do you know why? Because we come from diverse backgrounds. The background could be physical; the background could be mental.
Our physical environment shapes our physical background. Our physical background is usually influenced by the time we spend with our families growing up as a toddler or the time we spend in a particular environment growing up as a toddler.
A child’s brain is like a photocopier, so whatever they see with their eyes growing up helps shape them into who they might become.
Our mental environment shapes our cognitive background. It can be influenced by anything the child encounters. What shapes the mental background is not restricted to your family and friends. It is based on everything your mind can grasp from birth to date.
You can even say that the physical background shapes the mental background. In the end, the mental background defines who you are and shapes your standards into principles.
Sometimes, you will find that some people around you have strange and unconventional principles that are impossible to comprehend. It is normal. This is because you both don’t share the same mind. Don’t fret or complain incessantly in a bid to change them. You need to understand them.
Understanding their principles will help you not consider the people around you strange and inhumane creatures. Their lives mustn’t tally with yours. Their ideas mustn’t tally with yours.
Growing up, I learned that it is the different ingredient of a meal that makes it delicious. Just imagine if the only content of a stew was tomatoes. Would you enjoy it?
People are different, not because they are strange, but because they grew up in a different environment than yours and had a different mindset.
Therefore, the ability to understand people is the first step in embracing sublime happiness with them.
2. Learn to accept people for who they are
Developing the ability to understand who someone is, is the first step, but not the only step. The reason is that understanding is only a prerequisite needed in any relationship, but accepting who a person is is key to kick-starting any relationship.
I had this roommate who was full of life and free-spirited. I didn’t have problems with his life, but given that I was uptight and cautious about handling things, I struggled to accept him. I understood him, but I failed to embrace him on the inside.
Daily, I tried to implement different ways of changing him, but the more I failed in my mission, the more frustrated and angry I got with myself. One day, I stopped trying too hard and accepted him for who he was. It wasn’t as if he was a deadly assassin. He was a happy lad who cared less about life’s pressure than I did.
Once I made that decision, I was at peace with myself and the mental struggle I had ceased at once. To this day, we are best friends because I accept that people are different.
Everyone has their principles, and you have tried to understand why they think the way they do and act the way they do. But it is not enough!
If you cherish eternal bliss, you need to accept them for who they are. It would be best if you invited them in. That is the only way you can kick-start the journey of a thousand miles.
3. Cultivate the habit of adapting to accommodate the people in your life
“Choosing to accept people for who they are is good, but if you don’t adapt to accommodate them in your life, you will always complain about everything they do. You will always find fault at any step they take”, my father said.
Choosing not to adapt to accommodate the people in your life is a mistake most couples make.
Yes! You heard me. Couples.
You understand your spouse and have accepted their peculiar behaviour and thought process. However, you still complain about everything they do. You still wish they could change into that perfect spouse; you pray seven times daily that their life will fit yours. This is because you have not adapted to who they are.
Most relationship advisers or therapists will advise you always to communicate to ensure that your marriage or relationship lasts forever. However, you have employed the art of communication, yet you are still unhappy. This is because you have not adapted to who your partner or friend is. Stop complaining and adjust.
My father and mother have been successfully married for more than 30 years with no thought whatsoever of breaking the bonds of marriage. As a toddler, I always thought this pair was just a match made from heaven. The god Eros had done a fantastic job.
But as I advanced in age and reason, I realized they were so apart in logic, lifestyle, and everything. Yet, they have been happily married for what seems like forever in my eyes.
This is because they have adapted to who they are. They understand their imperfections. They have accepted their flaws but realize they had to adapt to ensure that such defects blind them.
This is because everyone has an imperfection, but to ensure a working relationship with such a person, you must blind yourself to such quirks.
Just imagine the sun is beaming, searing hot at 9 pm and from 6 am to 6 am the following day. Or stack darkness has covered the globe for a whole month. It would be a global catastrophe. We have day and night, winter and summer for a reason.
Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash
“Variety is the spice of life”
— William Cowper
Sometimes, these nuances of your friend or partner could be what would help you in various aspects of your life.
For instance, a jigsaw puzzle has knobs and holes. Some people call them tabs and blanks. To fit each puzzle together, you must match a knob to a given hole or a tab to a blank. A hole has to adapt in shape to accept the knob, while the knob has to change its form to fit into the hole. A knob doesn’t go with a knob, and a hole doesn’t go with a hole.
Who your friend is would help you shape your future. You’re not seeing it because you have refused to adapt.
Adapting to accommodate the people in your life is the key to a long-lasting and successful relationship with such people.
How can you adapt to accommodate the people in your life?
- Stop reading deep meaning into people’s actions: We often think too hard about a person’s past actions that we automatically consider that person unfit to be our friend. Stop it! The mind can play tricks on our subconscious. Don’t dwell on irrelevant things. They are irrelevant for a reason.
- Stop expecting too much from people: I expected too much from my roommate, which harmed our relationship within my subconscious. When I stopped expecting him to be as uptight and focused as myself, I adapted to who he was, and our relationship became healthy within my subconscious.
- Adjust your mindset: Your mind is the control centre of whatever you do. Knowing this will help you adjust your mindset to adapt quickly.
- Consider what it would be like to be someone else: You have heard the common phrase, “do unto others what you will want them to do unto you”. This statement was made so that we would be able to consider our actions before implementing them. If you want people to be able to adapt to your lifestyle, you should be ever ready to adapt to theirs.
- Learn to enjoy people’s company: The main reason I was able to accept and adapt to who my roommate was because I learned to enjoy his company. Be at peace with yourself, and enjoy every minute you spend with people. You would realize that the company of people is worth more than possessing gold.
Always know that relationships are like an embarked journey. If you want to keep going to your destination, you must be prepared. And the only way to prepare is to learn to understand people, accept people for who they are, and adapt to accommodate the people in your life.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
|White Fragility: Talking to White People About Racism||Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box||The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer||What We Talk About When We Talk About Men|
Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com
The post The Main Ingredients of a Long-Lasting Relationship appeared first on The Good Men Project.