Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Our Relationships Are Failing: #Brexit and Beyond

Why are so many of our important #relationships faltering?  We keep hearing about spouses and partners in "committed" relationships who become disenchanted with each other and pull up stakes. We see other troubling parallels. Our elected officials generally ignore the views of the other party. They stubbornly advocate their party line doctrines no matter what the costs and no matter what the "other side" wants.  Elected officials can't split up the way couples do, so they just go on fighting and ignoring one another.  Good working relationships across the aisle are in steep decline,

The news cycle gives us 24 hour reminders that important political relationships are in turmoil, here and around the world. Witness #Brexit, Great Britain's decision to sever ties with the European Union. Will others follow suit?  Is the European Union about to unravel?  The Middle East is coming apart at the seams.  And what about the troubles brewing right here in this election cycle?  Everyone casting aspersions.  Donald Trump threatening to sever his relationship with the Republican party if he doesn't get his way.  Relations within and between political parties have reached an all time, unsavory low.  We say we want unity, but we pounce upon whatever gets in our way. We are becoming more divisive and divided.

Chief among the reasons why our relationships are falling apart is our increasing reluctance to listen to or care about concerns beyond our own.  We find it easy to see what is really important to us, but difficult to see things the way others do.  Too often, our point of view trumps theirs.  We dismiss what they are saying because it does not fit our agenda, with what we want.

We are slow to see that their viewpoints are as important to them as ours are to us.  Undervaluing the concerns of others drives others away and dooms our relationships with them.  Axiomatic, inflexible thinking about complex geopolitical issues, immigration, abortion, gun control, and so much more creates conflict and impasse.  This is the thinking that fractures relationships and coalitions that make balanced and viable solutions possible.

When we dismiss others, they dismiss us.  Instead of furthering the common good through collaboration, we stimulate contempt and alienation from others by shrugging off their interests. Effective partnerships between and among people and nations are essential and  must be grounded in mutual respect. There is always more than one viewpoint on what is right or important besides our own.

Our job is to understand "the other side" and search for common ground.  Denouncing the perspectives of others and walking away from our agreements with them, while doubling down on the legitimacy of our own views, spawns the dissolution of relationships near and far.  Increasing globalization and the pressing need to build greater stability in our world demand that we all improve our skills at #listening to and caring about what each other has to say. 

Experience gained from my 30+ years practice in cognitive-behavioral psychology shows that, when given the right tools, people readily learn to elevate and maintain emotional health and happiness.  At the Think Right Feel Right Blogoscope you will find the behavioral tools and techniques that help to ward off #anxiety, depression and addiction.  You will learn about ways to defeat troubling emotions such as anger, worry and sadness.  You will also find practical #self-help strategies for increasing self-esteem, positivity and for being a happier you. 

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