First, it is important to address what the word relationship means. A quick Google shows that a relationship is a connection or correlation between things or people. As humans, we need connection to thrive in this world. I see so many remarks on social media that men and women prefer to be alone because ‘there’s less drama’. Perhaps you need to find the right group of people? Good relationships are important to maintain health and wellbeing.
So, besides wellbeing, why do we need relationships?
The answer is quite simple. Every person on this planet, has a set of innate needs that drives their actions. Abraham Maslow (psychologist) formulated a hierarchy of needs that drives actions. One of them is the need to belong and be loved. Although some people prefer to be alone, the vast majority have a need to connect with others.
What hinders a relationship?
Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if one or both people’s needs are ignored, therein lies the problem. Note that needs can be broken down into many sub-categories and change throughout one’s lifetime. Other factors that affect one’s needs are personality traits, cultural influence and financial state.
Something that shocked me to my core was when Larry Rosen said, “Hurting people is not a need. Hurting is used to fulfil an UNDERLYING need.”
I will use a personal example to demonstrate underlying needs. Early in my relationship, I found it very difficult to open up to my partner about how I felt – especially in heated situations. I adopted a habit of bottling up my emotions. I was hurting him, when my need wasn’t to hurt, it was to feel safe and accepted. When I finally worked through my issues, I could share my feelings openly. I was no longer scared. This lead to deeper understanding and meaningful conversations.
It is important to note that communication plays a big role in keeping relationships alive. Confrontation can be resolved if you know how to listen well, as well as how to communicate effectively.
Understand that human motivation is based on fulfilling needs. Everyone’s needs differ. Ask curious questions. Make a conscious effort to get to know the people around you. We are social creatures for a reason!
What are your needs? What are the needs of those you love? If you can find time to understand people from a kind and curious perspective, I can tell you that your relationships may improve and even thrive!
Watch a video on human motivation/needs here.
Image by Evan.
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