Be more conscious in a relationship: Analyse the "WE" - identity

Before we get it started: How often do you use the word "I" and how often the "WE"? In what context do you use the "We"?


We are all the part of different communities, connect with friends, family, colleagues. When you are dedicated to our job, instead of referring to the company as "they" , you rather choose the word: "WE". When you are emotionally involved in your family, when you feel that your friends circle is very relevant in your life: that is "We".

When we are in a relationship next to our own identity (see later as "I") and those "We"-s that we already have - ideally- we develop a new identity, that involves us and our partner.  As "I"  involves our own attributions and values, our own history, goals and challenges, this "WE" also has its own qualities and stories. 

The "WE" identity is not something that develops after day 1 in a relationship: usually it takes time for the partners to think in plural, build up their mutual history as well as their future plans as a couple.

The partners' "WE" identity is also not a constant identity: the amount of time that you spend in the "I" and in the "WE" is changing during the relationship (not to mention the other "We"-s that we live in at work, or friends...etc.) The partners can switch between these identities approximately the same time, so they experience a lot of mutual "We" moment. There are also situations when they think in "We" and "I" not synchronously: that can lead some frustrations or tension in the relationship.

This doesn't mean that in a balanced relationship the partners have to experience "We" moments with each other all the time. It is very important to be in the "I" for both of the partners in order to relive and shape their own identities. Furthermore it is also very important to have other "We"-s in both partner's life: otherwise you can experience a mutual dependency, that you wouldn't dare to end because of the fear of being alone.

However those couples that experience frequent "We" moments simultaneously have a stronger connection and more promising future than those that struggle with finding this synchronicity.


Imagine a couple with a long distance relationship, they barely meet, and once they actually talk with each other, they both share what happened with them individually in the "I". They talk about their own challenges, work, life events.
Then imagine a couple that also have a long distance relationship, but once they talk, they are talking about the good times, when they were spending time together, or they make new plans about how they gonna see each other again: they are consciously, mutually in the "WE".
I think all of us would bet that the second couple will stay longer together than the first one.


Just as we often need to analyze the "I" in order to solve challenges, it is very beneficial to take a look at our "We" identity with our partner, even if we are satisfied with our relationship. These exercises or questions that I am offering are helping you to build a conscious "WE" in a relationship, that will contribute in a stronger connection. I recommend to do these exercises with your partner.

 

1, What is our "WE" identity?

The first and very important question is: how do you both see your relationship? What is "We" like? Are you an emotionally stable or a passionate, always fighting couple? Are you social together, or you barely meet anyone else except each other? Are you a couple that gives each other a lot of space, or you barely have a single moment alone? How other people may perceive your relationship?

We have plenty of personality typologies in psychology, you can choose almost any of them, and place on the scales "We" instead of "I".
Here I share the Big5 personality traits, as an example. If you find it hard to place your relationship on the factors, you can see some sample items on this Wikipedia here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits#Sample_items

You can be creative and use the Big5 just as an inspiration: collect personality traits that matter you the most and measure your relationship from 1-5.


Extraversion  - How energetic you are?

                         reserved  1   2   3   4   5   outgoing/energetic

(How often do you go out to party, social events? Do you like it when you as a couple are in the center of focus?)


Conscientiousness - How organized or planned are you as a couple?


           disorganized/careless  1   2   3   4   5   organized/planned

(How detailed are you when you plan a trip together? Do you have a schedule for your programs together? How organized is the place you live together?)


Agreeableness - How kind-hearted are you as a couple towards others?


             suspicious/antagonistic   1  2  3  4  5   compassionate

(How many times you help others together? How much empathy do you feel mutually towards others?)


Openness to experience -How adventurous are you two in the "WE"?


             consistent/cautious   1   2   3   4   5  inventive/curious

(How often do you learn or experience something new together? How often do you create new things, or brainstorm together?)


Neuroticism- How stable you are emotionally as a couple?

           sensitive/nervous 1  2  3  4  5  secure/confident

(How much stress do you experience together? How often do you fight or feel unsure about your relationship?


It can lead to a lot of discussion, and awareness about your relationship if you go through these questions together with your partner. You might experience the "WE" differently! It is good to find out why do you have different image about the "WE".
You can add to this exercise that each of you place the "I" on the scale as well: that is a big eye-opener about how do you effect each other's original character: what are the traits that you are on common, and what are those values that you adapt, when you step in to the "WE".

 


2, When are you in the "WE"?

It is also interesting to examine when are you actually in the "WE" and how often do you experience that. Are you two in the "We" when you spend quality time together, or having physical interaction? Are you in the "We" when your partner is not present?

When you talk with each other, how often do you talk about the "I" - your individual life, problems, and how often do you talk about the "WE"-  the mutual interests,plans together for the future. What are the other "We"-s in both of your lives and how when do you step into those ones?

Couples that have very little amount of "WE" moments are very fragile: the partners can easily turn to two singles again. Thus if "I" started to dominate both of your lives and you are barely in the mutual "WE", you might heading to the end of the relationship.
However being too dependent on each other and being constantly in the "WE" instead of solving our individual problems can also lead to broken hearts: once (one of) the partners are seeking for self-development they might conclude that the development wouldn't be possible within the relationship.


If you feel that your sharing too less time in the "WE" with your partner, and you are willing to work on your relationship: collect those  activities or situations that drive you both to a "We" moment, and do them more frequently.

If you feel that the connection between you two is strong enough, but you barely spend time with yourself: try to increase the amount of "I" moments: it can make magic with your relationship. Same goes for the situation when you both are lack of other "We"-s in your life. In this case you might stay together only because you both depend on each other. Opening up for other communities and friendships can help your relationship to find the freedom factor again.

 

3, What is the ideal "WE"?

A good relationship can provide a lot of "WE" moments for both of the partners as well as space for the "I"s. In this way the partners are able to develop, change when they need to and that forms the relationship as well. 
The freedom of the partners offers the opportunity to change the characteristics of the relationship according to the partners' current needs. When one of you or both of you go through a transit period (couples usually do it in the same time) it is good to be aware, how will the result effect your relationship.

If you both work on your personal development, you might realize that there are some qualities of your relationship, that doesn't match with the "new you". For instance when you need to be more social, but the relationship that you have together is more reserved, it can lead to some frustration: you can only improve that skill in the "I" or in other "We"-s. The more you work on that issue the less time you will spend in the mutual "WE". Sharing your new needs with your partner can help this process: she/he might want to develop this skill with you together. This journey will form both of your identities as well as the relationship.


So when we think about the "Ideal me", we should be able to share this image with our partner. However this sharing takes a lot of  courage: it can lead to a golden age of our relationship as well as the end of it.
In strong relationships the "ideal WE" is very similar for both of the partners: they face with similar life challenges, they want to develop similar skills, thus they can successfully implement changes that helps them through in their relationship as well. In this case sharing the "ideal we" just help the partners to reach their personal and mutual challenges. In fact it helps them more than if they worked on it separately. (This is what we say 1 plus 1 is more than 2.)


However being open about the "ideal We" can also catalyze a break up. This is the case when the "ideal we" is clearly different, and the partners are willing to change in not just different, but conflicting fields of life (one wants to have a more exciting, adventurous life, and the other wants to calm down and start the "family project").  I still believe that being open about the "ideal WE" is very beneficial: if the direction is the same, we can utilize our power together more efficiently. If the direction is different, we can save each other a lot of time, energy (and pain) and let each other go in time.

4 limiting beliefs that won’t let you find your ideal partner

1, "Mutual love doesn’t exist"

After getting a heartbreak this is a common belief that can develop in us in order to protect ourselves. The rule is: not to love deeply anyone, so we don’t get hurt in the upcoming relationship(s).

However what we are really truly looking for is mutuality.

Thus building a new relationship without deeply loving feelings won’t satisfy us (neither our partner) on a long term, just causes more pain on both sides.

This belief has many different varieties, but one thing is the same: the believer can imagine only two possible roles in relationships: they believe every couple is formed by a  “head in pink clouds”-one and a “not really in love” one. Indeed, those relationships exist. However, these

unbalanced relations are just a slice of the pie of “relationships”.

Getting out of this mindset can be difficult. When you live in unbalanced (dependent-independent) relations one after the other you don't allow yourself to have a personal experience of a mutual relationship and you project your own experience on all the other relationships that you see around you.

Mutually loving relationships exist, but when one's hypothesis is that they don't, that doesn't recognize them

- screens them out from their consciousness - because of the contradiction.

An advanced- bit more friendly- version of this belief is that mutuality is exist in a way that the roles (“pink clouds” or “sober”) are switching between the partners. These relationships
also exist, however they usually turn to a never ending break up- make up story. This on-off patterns come from the fact that the partners have to switch roles and that is always easier by taking distance with a break up.

It is important to acknowledge that mutuality exists in romantic relationships just as like it exists in friendships. When two men meet and they find a lot of common values and interests, they probably want to see each other again. If they meet several times and they enjoy the time together they become friends. When they don’t see each other for a while and they don’t miss each other anymore, their connection fades away. 
This is the same with relationships:

Mutuality creates the connection.

If there is mutual interest, there is connection, if there isn't, the connection is not there anymore.

 

2, "I am only attracted to men/women that I shouldn’t."


It's might be you, who is dating for long time and still hasn't found the right one? I used to go like this: “I am always attracted to guys who don’t really care about me, but the ones that are caring and loving, I am not interested in.”

My own experience was that this is never really about the other person but about ourselves:

If we don’t appreciate ourselves enough, we can’t accept that someone else does.

On the other hand if we have low self confidence (or we think we don't deserve love) a cold person that acts uninterested would fit in this self-image completely. This usually turns into an ego-game: if we manage to raise the interest of this person, that means we are "good" enough, but then our self confidence will depend on the other's actions instead of our own self.

Thus, remember to love yourself first.

If you do, you won’t like people who don’t care about you, and you can appreciate if someone does.

The other version of this belief is: “I am attracted to men/women who are not really my match. I always choose wrong.”  It takes a good amount of consciousness to realize this pattern. We often sabotage ourselves in finding a long-term relationship, and we choose partners that don’t fit our personality or values.

It is important to acknowledge this pattern but not enough: we should start to make steps to be more conscious when it comes to dating. We should keep it in mind what kind of personality traits, common values or interests we are looking for in a new partner. We have to

discover those unconscious strategies that guided you to wrong partners in the past, and create better ones.

For such a case I would use these affirmations on a daily basis:
“I am only attracted to men/women with who I can build a mutually loving relationship on a long term” 
“I can easily see who could be a right partner for me.”
“I am only attracted to people who are also attracted to me.”
“I am attracted to men/women who are physically, mentally, emotionally matching with me.”

 

3, "I am sure there is someone for me but it is hard to find him/her."

This is a typical sentence of a person, who wants a good relationship but still not ready for it. That’s why it is easy to blame the circumstances instead of thinking about why is it so difficult to be open for a new relationship. 
It takes effort to find a partner with who we can support each other on a long term. We
need to be open for it, look for it, think about it.

If we are busy with an other segment of our lives, that is fine. Admit it, and give yourself some time.

Remember: to find someone takes two things: love ourselves and energy to look for the right partner. If these two steps you take, the right person will come to you.

 

4, "It is not possible to have a successful career and be in a good relationship on the same time."

I remember when we played cards with my grandfather and whenever I lost he said: “One has no luck in cards, is lucky in love”. I interpreted this phrase like: one who is successful in career, cannot be happy in a relationship as well.
This belief is grounded deeply in our culture, and connected to the belief that poor people don't have money but at least they have something else: love. This is just a justification that we use in order to "give" something to poor people, and "get" something from the successful ones.

And just as other beliefs,

if this is our hypothesis we only recognize those successful people around us or in the media who are lonely.

There are phenomenons that support this belief very easily. For instance when one of the partners have long lasting hardships in career, it is easy to project the problems on the relationship. It takes a lot of consciousness not to make the mistake and blame our partner for our own misfortune or struggle at work.

A successful career (on both sides) and being able to deal with challenges by each other’s support can be the base of a harmonic relationship.

Just as mutual and non-mutual relationships: there are lot of examples for people with success and love on the same time . It is important to acknowledge that we deserve success and long lasting relationships on the same time, the two things don’t exclude each other, but walk hand in hand.

 

Emotional Detox — 3 Powerful Exercises to Develop Self-Love

Emotional Detox — 3 Powerful Exercises to Develop Self-Love

They say: before we find love in a relationship we need to discover it within ourselves. However once you don’t appreciate yourself enough it is very hard to get the positive feelings flowing within you.
Here are 3 practical exercises you should do when you want to increase self-love. If you want to make an “emotional detox” after an emotionally painful experience, heartbreak, do these exercises every day for 1–2 weeks. They will reset your emotional balance again.