This piece is part of our Manifesto about 7 areas of our personal life: (1) Education (2) Physical Health, (3) Mental Health & Mindset, (4) Relations, (5) Work & Career, (6) Personal Finance, and (7) Personal Development (coming up). In the midst of this COVID-19 global pandemic, where our society and our lives have come to a halt, we were inspired to write this Manifesto. For every area of our personal lives, we will challenge the way we viewed it “back then” and articulate a vision on “how we should go about it in the future”. Our Manifesto is meant to open up discussions. We don’t intend to stereotype anyone or anything, but just want to give a generic perception of our lives and society as a whole and the systems behind it.
We flowed through life with several kinds of friend groups - friends from school, from our sports club, from uni, from work. Having loads of friends was a measure of (social) success.
However, we didn’t really choose our friends. We were part of a friend group because of an event in the past. Over time, we changed, but we didn’t really question why we would still engage with some who didn’t. And because we were part of a group, we had social obligations towards it.
Some of your friends or family were primarily there for you in good times and found it hard to step forward when it became hard. Especially when you had something intangible – emotionally or mentally – going on.
Unfortunately especially family often held you back when you acted differently when you were trying to change. Because they kept seeing you as you were growing up and found it difficult to deal with seeing you changing. Even if for you changing meant being yourself more - truer to yourself. You almost had to prove that this new way of doing and being made you happier. For many, family was too attached to the old you and had certain expectations of that old you. They were still holding on to childhood patterns of you and siblings. But the bottom line is, your family wants you to be safe, happy, and healthy.
Growing up, nobody taught us about healthy intimate relationships. We just copied or at least mirrored parts of our parents’ relationship(s). Most of us never set relationship goals: what type of person suits you, what you need in a relationship, what your ultimate relationship is like, what your personal boundaries are – let alone how you want to grow together. And because we didn’t, we ended up breaking off relationships because we had outgrown our partner or because it turned out the person wasn’t right for us. So many breakups were ugly and ended in vain. Why was it so hard to uncouple harmoniously and to be grateful for the time we had?
Relationship with ourselves
Sometimes, due to the unpleasant endings and leaving each other miserable, we were no longer able to wholeheartedly bind to someone else. Mentally, we were not ready to fail or be failed again. Forced to start loving ourselves first. For many singles this was reality already - we didn’t love and know ourselves and values, making finding a match hard. How is it possible that we didn’t learn to love ourselves in the first place? Being the only person we are with all the time.
Life events and communication
Neither did we usually have an open and upfront conversation about future life events like kids and marriage, until we reached the age where it was ‘about time’ (for women) to start planning for it. Only then finding out how different our views and preferences were. Then we compromised, mostly meaning (for heterosexual couples) that men said “it was too early for me, but she wanted it so badly”. Why did we not align in our most important relationship?
What if all your friends lift you up, keep you accountable, and inspire you to become more than you already are? They know you inside and out – your dreams, hopes, deepest fears, and vision for your future – and encourage you to reach your potential. And they also add adventure and fun to your life. These like-minded friends are carefully selected. They share the same values and have overlapping views on life. To speed up each other’s growth, one that is ahead of the other in a certain aspect of life can share experiences.
A lot of our learning and transformation comes from unconsciously modeling others that surround us. We all know the statement that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Awesome friends can help you meet so many human needs, such as connection, variety, personal growth, and contribution. And vice versa of course.
Your (extended) family shares a special bond and is your lifelong “tribe”. You cannot choose them, but you can choose to share your values and goals with them and ask them to support you in your pursuit of growth, happiness, and fulfillment. And this invites them to do the same. In this way, the relationship with your family can become not only warm and familiar but also immensely supportive and inspirational because you know each other’s past and future. Your family, as a tribe where everybody lifts each other ups, shares lessons across generations, and works together on personal and professional projects.
Your partner is the person you will spend more time with than anybody else. “Choose wisely” is almost an understatement since both of you will influence each other immensely. What if your intimate relationship is built on mutual trust, a shared life vision, and full awareness of each other’s dreams, fears, and strengths? What would so much consciousness and clarity do to the communication and supportiveness? What if you would regard each other as fully equal and worthy to become all you can be? Both of you wouldn’t only be each other’s last line of defense, but also each other’s biggest cheerleader. The relationship would radiate love, fun, and joy, and would serve as an example to others and kids growing up around you. In this way, your partnership would be a source of passion, inspiration, camaraderie, stability, and adventure.
What if we all had mentors? Whereas friends and family know you very well personally, mentors can be of professional help as they are years further down the road in a field you want to grow in. What if we all had a mentor we could not only look up to but also help to accelerate our growth and prevent us from making missteps. They could also share best practices and their network, enabling us to accelerate in our desired direction and take us places.
With the right relationships with our lover, our friends, our family, and our mentor(s), we would have an amazingly powerful and strong team around us, lifting us up.
Check out our whole overview page on Relationships, including (video) podcast here.
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Do you know or are you a Relationships expert? We’d love to talk to you about the above and your vision. Click here to talk with us.
Growtribute is an international community and platform for personal growth and professional contribution. Behind it are Lennart van der Ziel and Rachelle Leerling. They are entrepreneurs, speakers, and coaches.