Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Subjectivity of Relationships

There is this great insight about human relationships that I keep coming back to. The whole concept of it makes my mind spin because it is so meta and fresh. I first read the piece more than half a year ago, but I keep coming back to it. In fact, it's the most important blog post I ever read! Even if it would turn out that this theory has got it all wrong, the concept is still stupendous and enriches the understanding of social behavior.

I am referring to Steve Pavlina's article from early this year, titled "Understanding Human Relationships". In it, Pavlina puts forward an idea where all relationships are purely perceptions. He says that the relationship exists entirely inside you and by making a change in yourself you will change your perception of the other party. This works in parallel in two different ways.

Firstly, by changing yourself you can see the other person from a slightly different perspective. Pavlina argues that the errors we see in others are typically a reflection of our own shortcomings.

Secondly, your partner will be mirroring your behavior and see you as a model for herself. There is always an opportunity that you can change their behavior by being a better role model.

Realizing that inter-personal problems often can be solved by changing your own behavior is a great mind-opener. In situation where you previously felt option-less, you are now empowered to being able to improve the situation.

If you have the slightest interest in working on, or understanding relationships I urge you to read the full article online. If you find it as fascinating as I do, you can go on to read a long discussion about the blog post on Pavlina's message boards.

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