July 20, 2011

A Message from Dr. Bean - Reciprocity


Reciprocity

Sometimes in my practice clients come to me with complaints and concerns about what others are not and will not do for them. And although many of these concerns are valid; I often have to follow up with the question; “are you willing to do what you are asking others to do for you?” Many are probably slightly perturbed by this question as their immediate tendency is to want to focus on what others are doing to make them feel the way they do. Not the other way around. However, I have found that one will never be satisfied or reach their true potential for happiness if they are in a constant state of asking others for something that they cannot or are not willing provide themselves.

For instance, I have met many individuals who are annoyed – even offended but people who convey distrust of them (particularly in relationships) and yet, they are unable or unwilling to provide trust to the same persons. I am aware of individuals who want financial security from their partner and yet are unable to provide the same for them (i.e. poor money management, damaged credit, outstanding debt). I am aware of people who want commitment and yet are unable to commit. Rather it is physically or emotionally. I have met individuals who feel entitled to everyone else’s time and yet never seem to make time for others. All of this is reflective of a lack of reciprocity. Reflective of an inability or unwillingness to give back something that was given to us. And sometimes; this is what leads to our unhappiness and frustrations with others. Not what they are doing; but what we are unable to do.

Ultimately, this leads to two problems: 1) an inability to emotionally invest and support others who are emotionally invested in you and 2) an inability to create and nurture the meaningful relationships that you are seeking from others. A lack of reciprocity will eventually become emotionally exhausting for those around you. As loving as one may be, their emotional bank account will eventually deplete if they continue to make deposits in someone who is unable to offers a return.

So next time you make a request of someone related to time, money, energy, things, emotional support, trust, generosity, honesty, cooperation, love and affection (just to name a few); be sure to first ask yourself “am I willing and able to reciprocate this gesture”, “Am I willing to do for them what they are doing for me?”. If the answer is yes, then you are off to a good start to a healthy and balanced relationship rather it is with friends, family or romantic partners. If the answer is no, then use that as a learning moment within that relationship and remember that reciprocity is an essential component of any healthy relationship!

Dr. Keisha L. Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Nashville, Tn and is a monthly contributor on the blog! Be sure to check out her websitehere & blog and connect with her on Linked in! Be sure to catch up on other post by Dr. Bean by selecting one of the labels below!!

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