Let’s say you are in one of two relationships. You can say for yourself what kind these are: romantic, familial, or what have you. But let’s also assume that, for other reasons, you can’t easily disentangle the bonding, so that leaving it would have a steep personal cost to you. OK, here we go.
In the first relationship, something feel very strongly is that the other person is committed to you. They show you this in a hundred ways. They cheer you up when your down, they’ll do something that you both know needs doing….without prompting. They “get” you; they know when you need a kick in the butt or a pat on the back, even when you don’t! They see you at your worst and smile benignly. “I love you” need not be spoken; that’s in their glance or their hands. It’s not like they don’t have their own interests different from yours; they get energy from more than you. But their first and second impulses are to want to share what they love with you because they want you to love it like they do! And how happy they become because your happy! You sort of become 3 people; “you”,”them” and “you and them”, it’s own entity.
And how do you deal with each other when things get rough? ‘Shared sacrifice’ is just the start of it, right? You give up things, you work harder, you put yourself in hazardous positions (financially or emotionally, amongst others) because….it’s about that other person first, second, third. If it’s truly hazardous for them (an illness say) and there’s nothing you can do….you suffer far, far more than if it were just yourself. The important thing is that, come fair weather or foul….you will both prevail, and prevail together! Everything in life becomes better….because there is another person to share the joy of life with.
Now let’s move on to the second relationship. You’re constantly “negotiating” things, time, money, friends. That other person learns you like in the first relationship, but here they do what they need to get you to do what they want! A lie that gets them what they want is better than a truth that does not. Bullying, sweet talking, “rational argument” (where what they want is “rational” and what you want is….) all of this is the norm for their behavior. There’s a lot of ‘zero sum’ thinking in this couple, and even if they get along, they’re never really happy. And when things get tough here? The first, second and third things they are looking for are the exit signs. If you ever get your mind clear, how much are you going to commit to them? In bad cases, how many escape fantasies — and worse! — do you get in your head?
Extend this dichotomy out into other major relationships in your life. Your employer, your industry, your government…. Look how often people hate ‘work’, as if that were the natural state of it, and maybe it is! People hate showing up and then their bosses wonder why their productivity is down! And even dealing with this question is viewed negatively; it’s ‘touchy feely’ or ‘New Agey’ to actually respect what people do to make something succeed!
I wouldn’t mind letting my government borrow trillions more if I felt that they really will try to cut costs. But I feel that they want to spend now….and spend later! It’s no wonder they’ve lost the trust of a lot of people.