Saturday, February 24, 2007

Supportive Relationships verses Competitive Relationships.

Supportive Relationships verses Competitive Relationships.

Is your relationship competitive or supportive? Do you have tension between the two of you that expresses itself as a constant battle, or are you both working in harmony to become the very best individuals and couple you can be? If you are competitive, you will tend to become fatigued and worn out by the constant fighting. If you are supportive, you will not grow as much from the tension, but you probably will be more content with each other.

Competitive relationships fight and struggle constantly with the goal of striving to better your partner, or win in some concocted competitive battle. The battle can be over anything. The real issues are not the issues you fight about, the issues are who wins and who loses. Then the game moves to assigning blame. Most competitive relationships do not even understand how they have developed these disruptive patterns. Often oldest children, who are programmed to be in control of their siblings, will get together and struggle for power among themselves just as they did in childhood. This can be a nasty arrangement.

A supportive relationship on the other hand is a relationship where both individuals want their partner to win at the game of life. They do not think in terms of competition with each other. They see themselves cooperating and helping whenever needed, rather than struggling to win and better their companion. The goal is to be as supportive as possible, so your partner can achieve everything they wish for themselves in this life.

Rumi the great Persian poet of the thirteenth century said, “When I love you, I love myself. When I love myself, I love you.” Very simple, yet so profound. If two people can do that in love, or a family could do it, and then a village, eventually the entire world could live that way and we would all be at peace. Cooperation in relationships is much healthier than competition.

Capitalism as an economic model thrives on competition. Capitalism is the equivalent of the animal kingdom, “eat or be eaten”. It strives for the few to get to the top and dominate the many who live under the kingmakers. Competition brings out the best in people economically; however, capitalism is a very poor model for human relationships.

What works well to produce wealth (capitalism) is often destructive in intimate relationships. Competitive principles work well in sports and business, but will create a lonely intimate relationship. Support and cooperation will produce feelings of harmony and tranquility.

The way out of a competitive relationship is to see the competitive game you play with your partner and learn new patterns of behavior that will shift the dynamic so that love can flourish and cooperation can shine. This requires couple examine the ways their relationship interacts. This becomes impossible if competition between the two of you is your primary objective, because to find these patterns demands a level of cooperation that will set the stage for growth and change.

Eventually competitive relationships wear themselves out. The fighting, the winning and losing, become very exhausting. Often, the relationship becomes so exhausting that the couple will seek help in finding ways to change the dynamic of their relationship. A good marriage counselor can help if you are willing to look at the nature of the relationship. In truth if the problem has existed for many years, you will probably find it impossible to break these bad habits without some outside intervention. Seeking intervention requires that both of you come to see the competition as destructive, and you find someone strong enough to engage your style, and suggest changes.

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