On Relations and Relating

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My boyfriend is such a smart man. In one of our conversations, he made me realize that when it comes to relationships, there is a continuum of people; at the two poles of which are: (1) people who are too selfish and (2) people who are too selfless.

Overly selfish people tend to think too highly of themselves. They would think that they’re too smart, too beautiful, too (insert any positive adjective here) to need anyone.  The only opinion that matters to them is their opinion, no one else’s.  Perhaps they’d been brought up to think that they are the best people in the world and that there can be no room for improvement because they’re already the best.  This notorious blend of perfectionism and narcissism intentionally drives away others… because ‘they’ are just ‘others.’  Simply put, the overly selfish are just so full of themselves that there’s no room for anyone else.

Overly selfless people, on the other hand, tend to think that they do not and will never amount to anything.  They think that they can never contribute anything to anyone, so they just keep to themselves.  They have poor self-esteem and a very negative self-image.  They think that they are the worst human beings to have ever walked this earth.  And some even go as far as believe that they do not deserve to live. All this negativity and lack of vigor for life unintentionally turn off people. It is just too taxing and too much of a downer to be around people who are always.. uhm.. down.

It would’ve been simple if we could throw people into the selfish pile or the selfless pile.  But then again, humans are more complicated than that.  That is why I mentioned that there is a continuum of people with varying degrees of selfishness and selflessness.  And more often than not, these personalities are very much affected by their contexts.  A guy who seems narcissistic may in reality just be protecting himself from negative comments he’d heard in the past; that’s why he listens to just himself now.  A girl who seems very negative about her self-image might just be echoing all the negative feedback she’d heard about her, and she, herself, doesn’t realize her own beautiful qualities. All these things affect the way we relate or hesitate to relate to people. There is no clear-cut formula for building friendships or any kind of relationships because we all have our own very complex backgrounds and perceptions to deal with.  If we find our own contexts to be too complicated, how much more effort will it take when we try to understand the context of another?

That is why I think it is ALWAYS a miracle if you find someone who just fits in with you as perfectly as when you clasp your right hand and left hand together.  And that is also why I’m so glad to have found a man who makes me realize these things.

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