The "Relational Duet" Hypothesis
So, I got a random revelation this week. I’ve been musing on interpersonal interactions between different types of people and it has dawned upon me that every single relationship, regardless of the type, requires that two key ingredients to be present, in sufficient quantities, in order to thrive. I call the interplay of these two ingredients "The Relational Duet". I am hereby going to present to you my Relational Duet Hypothesis, which is as follows:
All Relationships need two key ingredients to enable them to not only survive, but also thrive. They are:
Let me explain.
When I speak of value, the value concept is two-pronged.
PRONG 1: Self value
The first prong is self value. By this I mean that an individual needs to be convinced that he or she is valuable within themselves. This value finds its foundation in the intrinsic value of being human and made in God’s image, but then extends beyond it. It speaks about a comfort within oneself that “I have something to offer to the world, and I am offering in the best way that I can”. We all grow and develop over the course of our lives, but it is important that at whatever stage of development we find ourselves, we MAX IT OUT. I am speaking to myself here, because I am sometimes plagued by a feeling that I can do more, and be more, right where I am. This inner yearning must be satisfied. The quality of the contribution of the person to the world is a key consideration because if a person perceives themselves to be under-performing as measured against their perceived potential, they would most probably end up feeling a sense of self- disappointment. They would feel like they are not being true to who/what they were called to be.
A person does not simply stumble into this type of self value. It involves both the subconscious and also strategic development of personal character traits like virtue, wisdom, productivity, discernment, etc. A person who fails to convince themselves of their own value will most likely end up plagued with a myriad of insecurities (whether overt or masked). Insecurity is a double edged sword, because invariably, it projects both inward and outward; shaping how we interact with ourselves and also attracting its equivalent into our lives on the outside. Cultivating all rounded self worth is therefore a step that cannot be skipped in life, if we wish to give and to have the very best, because we attract who and what we are to ourselves; so the quality of the relationships we attract into our world will not escape the tenor of our personal ethos of self-development.
Prong 2: "Other" Value
The ability to see the worth of others helps us to determine who we want to be close to, and who can join us on our journey to the fulfillment of destiny. How we assess the worth that we perceive in others is always directly proportional to how we value ourselves at the point in time. You simply cannot cultivate relationships beyond your "level" at the time. What I mean by this is, if you find that the people around you are incompatible with who, what or where you want to be in life, I believe that some introspection is needed. Sometimes, we assess our own worth wrongly, apprehending our potentials rather than our reality and then we wonder why the people that we are in relationship with seem sub-par. Perhaps, the solution to improving ones connections is improving oneself.
In addition to this first point, insecurities often make us react negatively to the worth in people for several reasons. On one hand, we may repel valuable people because we cannot bear the exposure of our own deficiencies in the light of their radiant positivity and promise. On the other hand, we may not be able to appreciate the worth present in them because we have not developed to a place where we can apprehend the character traits that make people truly valuable in the first place.
However you spin it, the value factor of the Relational Duet needs to be addressed in its entirety, and in a specific order, to get the best results. Of course, God in His mercy allows us to attract valuable people even when our own self value may be various states of disrepair, to the end that He may elevate us into further wholeness. I have to put this in for balance.
When I think of pursuit, I think of going after the people we want to have relationship with in manner that reflects intentionality, interest, and appreciation. After all, we only chase the things we see value in. Pursuit can manifest itself in a myriad of ways, but it always involves an exertion of effort on our part to communicate our intent to maintain closeness with the other person. Pursuit can show up as a mother helping a child with homework, or a man buying flowers for his lady, or a woman listening intently to her man's hopes and dreams. Pursuit is the sum of all of the little actions that say "You mean something to me and I will do what it takes to keep you in my life".
Pursuit is important because value always has a cost. There is the cost of acquisition and the cost of maintenance. In addition, value increases as it cultivated, and as it has been said " A thing is either growing, or it is dying". Therefore, to maintain healthy relationships, cultivating and nurturing value within the relationship through pursuit is paramount. Everyday, we must help the other person understand "Your value is apparent to me".
Interestingly enough, pursuit must follow value in order to prevent selfishness and self-centeredness. You see, in order to become a person of value, your focus must change from being consumeristic to being philanthropic. Value is indelibly linked to what you can GIVE through who you are and what you contribute. The process of becoming valuable therefore decreases your selfishness through displacement. Without value, pursuit would become nothing more than the incessant sucking of a relational vacuum, looking hungrily for whatever can be drained out of the other (oftentimes to fill voids within itself). Within a relationship sustained by two valuable people, the beauty of mutual pursuit can develop and burgeon into a synergistic masterpiece. The two individuals will constantly bring more to the table, and also constantly communicate gratefulness for the value being offered by the other through pursuing the other in kindness. This becomes a self-sustaining machine, as value begets further value, and kindness begets further kindness.
You know, the more that I write on this, the more I can write because it is such a critical thing for me to ponder in my personal life right now. Therefore, I will stop for the moment.
Here concludes the presentation of my "Relational Duet Hypothesis". The testing of it, my friend, I leave to you.