I was recently talking to a friend about relationships.
Yeah, I know, I really need another topic. Basketball season starts in a month though, so either the posts will start to drop off a bit or they will start to have more references to the NBA. But I digress…
In any case, this friend made an interesting comment. She said that sometimes “we are in relationships to get the result we want, instead of just enjoying the person in the relationship.”
This really struck me.
Initially when I heard this I kind of went, yeah – so? I mean, you obviously need to be enjoying the person in the relationship or you wouldn’t be there. But at the same time, don’t you have to have a goal in mind? Don’t you need to see yourself as working towards the goal you want? And don’t you need to have a vision of what “success” looks like in order for you to know if you are there?
I’ve often heard that people who are successful (in various aspects of life) are ones who often have spent time imagining and visualizing situations. They *know* what they want, and can picture it in their heads. It’s clear to them, and because of this they are able to look at where they are at any point in time and make decisions based on whether or not they believe those decisions will get them closer to that goal.
This approach has always made sense to me.
I think a reasonably clear vision of what you are striving towards combined with a “belief” that you can achieve that vision is key to almost anything in life. I’ve writen about belief in the past, and just a few weeks ago wrote the following (for part of my site synopsis):
I believe in the power of positive thinking. I’m not suggesting anyone can just “wish” something to happen, because life doesn’t work that way. But positive thinking IS important, because you need to believe in something in order to put in effort. Believing in something may not mean you will succeed, but it will give you the best chance. A negative mindset makes you unable to facilitate positive change in your life, because when you don’t believe you can change, you have already failed.
Looking at those words, they still feel right to me. And I do think they fit, even in the case of relationships. However, maybe there is a degree of caution required here.
Let’s take this back to basketball for a moment (because really, EVERYTHING goes back to basketball).
I would love to play in the NBA.
Yeah, I suppose there may be a limited market for 6’2” inside players in their 40’s who have lost much of their athleticism. Still, it *could* happen. The upcoming mens league season could start, and it’s possible that I would see NBA scouts in the bleachers who are there to see me.
Fine. Crush my dreams then.
Success in basketball is relatively easy to measure. You have two opposing teams, and at the end of a game the team with the most points has won. Over the course of a season you have a win/loss record that shows how you have done during the year, and at the end of the season one team walks away with the title.
However that’s only one way to measure success.
There’s also another way to measure success, and it has nothing to do with the numbers, wins or losses.
How well do you play together? How well do the people on the team get along? How well do you handle losing together (because you aren’t going to win all the time)? Are these people you are happy hanging out with after the game?
That’s a very different measure of success, and I would argue it’s the more important one.
Obviously relationships are different from basketball. But if I go back to that opening line “we are in relationships to get the result we want, instead of just enjoying the person in the relationship” I think maybe a lot of the same concepts apply.
Yes, it’s still important to have goals. It’s still important to have a vision of what you ultimately want, and what success looks like to you. But ultimately the most important thing is probably how well do you get along? How much do you enjoy being around each other, spending time together and sharing experiences? Do you think about that other person, and look forward to seeing them?
The longer term vision is still important to understand, because you get into trouble if one person ultimately looking for marriage and the other person isn’t. However once that’s been discussed, maybe it’s best to leave that in the future and just try to enjoy the present. In fact, if you don’t it’s entirely possible that thinking too much about the future can damage the present.
Which would be a shame. Because although we all presumably want a future, the present is all we really have.