The fairy tale, the dream of finding someone with whom we can spend the rest of our lives has been programmed into our subconscious from as early as you can remember.
The stories, Hollywood, Bollywood…Once upon a time the prince found his princess and they lived happily ever after.
Then the high’s and lows of searching for him or her.
When you meet him or her you will just know, there will be a spark, the birds flying tweeting and then the wedding bells.
The truth is we are attracted to people for many different reasons.
Maybe is physical attraction, the way they make us laugh, their honesty, maybe even because we feel they won't push our buttons or they won't trigger our insecurities.
We may feel comfort, affection, protection, etc, but the larger role of romantic relationships is to help us to grow into the best version of ourselves that we can become.
The only way you will find consistent satisfaction and fulfilment in romantic relationships is if you are dedicated not only to loving your partner and to being authentic but if you are also dedicated to using that space to heal and grow.
Here is an interesting theory by Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take”
It’s also great if you want to excel in your professional life.
The theory offers a fantastic insight into romantic relationships, One that I wanted to share with you to help you whilst your out there on your search for the "One".
Grant says that people fall into one of three categories:
Whatever category you belong to can determine how happy you are in relationships as well as your attractiveness to others.
Have you ever felt, for example, that you were not good enough in a relationship? Has a significant other ever taken advantage of you?
Did you ever feel you were giving your all to someone and ended up completely worn out?
Then you may be what Grant calls a "giver."
The giver style has its downsides, givers are also considered most attractive—and the most likely to have long-term love.
The trait people most highly value in potential romantic partners (both men and women) is kindness. Givers also tend to be affectionate, a trait that strongly affects the endurance of a relationship.
To understand what your style is and how to make the best of it, here is a brief description:
Givers' strongest motivation is to take care of others and to contribute to their lives in positive ways. As a giver, you may often think about gifts for your partner or about things you can do for them. You always take your partner's perspective into consideration and may even ask what you can do for them. Clearly, givers are awesome partners. Who wouldn't want a partner like that?
Everyone likes a giver. However, in the wrong relationship, givers can think there is something wrong with them because they tend to take the blame. They may even mistakenly think they are unlovable or just not good enough because a giver tends to take responsibility for the health of a relationship rather than blaming their partner or external factors.
With a partner who does not reciprocate this kindness and tendency to take responsibility for their own actions, givers can end up burned out, exhausted, dejected and sad.
Matchers keep tabs in a relationship. When they give, they do so with an expectation of getting something back.
When they receive, they feel like they have to give something back. Matchers view relationships as transactional.
And they are the ones most likely to say things like, "I did this for you, but you didn’t do that for me," or "You paid for this, so I’ll pay for that."
Takers are just what you think they are. They usually treat people well if those people can help them reach their goals. They often appear charming and charismatic.
They know how to work the crowd and seduce, but their primary motivation is self-interest. You can recognise a taker by how poorly they treat people they believe are of no use to them.
You know you’re in a relationship with a taker when you feel like they’re sucking you dry financially, emotionally, and otherwise. Once the taker has everything they want, they may demote you to the "insignificant" area of their life.
Before you read ahead, have a think. Who do you think amongst the three styles are the happiest and most successful?
Grant say’s It’s the givers who are the happiest and successful.
And who is the least successful?
Givers who learn to successfully navigate the world with matchers and takers fare very well.
Everyone loves them, trusts them, and supports them when they are in need. So why are givers also the least successful?
Because some of them don’t figure out how to navigate that world, and others end up taking advantage of them. If you’re a giver, you’ve probably been there at least once, professionally or personally.
Imagine a relationship between a giver and a taker. It may end with the giver completely worn out, having perhaps spent their savings, time, and energy on someone who keeps demanding more. The taker also hardly ever provides for a partner's needs, unless they do so temporarily because it suits them at that moment.
There is a list of great ideas presented by Grant in his book but the one that stands out the most is becoming a "mindful giver."
Mindful of what? I hear you ask...
Basically, that the world has givers, matchers, and takers, and that if you watch people’s words and actions, you will know who's who.
When you navigate romantic relationships, friendships, or business partnerships, investigate which category your potential partner belongs to and don’t get blown away by first impressions. (Remeber, takers are masters of first-impression, they have I all charm and charisma.)
Let’s take a moment to explore non-romantic relationships we are all good at that right?
Here is how you can deal with matchers and takers, try to adopt a matcher-like attitude. Start speaking in terms like, "OK, so we agree: You will do this, and in exchange, I will do this."
What about in romantic relationships?
"In the most successful relationships, both partners are Givers… In other words, when a romantic relationship works, even Matchers and Takers are focused on giving. Both partners might give in different ways, but they should be willing to support each other without expecting something in return. That said, when things get too far out of balance, I think we all become Matchers." ~Adam Grant
Picture a couple in which both partners always care for each other’s needs. When there is a fight, both are quick to offer apologies. Both live their lives with their partner’s best interests in mind.
If you can recognise yourself as a matcher or taker, congratulations on being so honest with yourself.
Of course, because of givers’ affectionate, service-oriented qualities, it's probably in your best interest to find a partner who is a giver.
However, I’d like you to consider two things: Givers won't be fulfilled unless you support them as they support you. They will eventually feel worn out and perhaps even leave.
In a recent study by Amie Gordon at the University of California, Berkeley, those who experienced more gratitude in their relationship also felt closer to their partner and more satisfied with the relationship.
They also tended to engage in more constructive and positive behaviours within the relationship. Ultimately, for a good relationship that benefits you, you will want your partner to be happy and will want to support them in return.
As Grant outlines, givers are the ones who end up being most successful and happy as long as they don't let others take advantage or step all over them. Data shows that a lifestyle characterised by kindness and compassion leads to greater personal fulfilment, as well as health and happiness.
If you want to be happy and successful, start flexing those giving muscles.
Here is a little helping hand:
Seek help often!
If you want other people to be givers, the sure fire way is to ask.
When you aks for help your not imposing a burden. Some people are givers and by asking for help you are giving them the opportunity to express their values and feel valued.
And here is the thing if you as a matcher well you can count on having an opportunity to reciprocate.
So if your looking for a spark when you meet him or her.
Start the spark of reciprocity by making requests as well as helping others.
Help generously and without thought of return; but don’t forget to ask for what you need as well.
It’s over to you.
Let me know how you are getting on.
I would love to hear from you.
Until next time
“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” ― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland
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