This is a new series that many of you have requested. I’ll be writing an intro for this series, but let’s kick it off with part 1 of How to Lose A Guy (or anyone else for that matter): Don’t Evaluate.
One of the trickiest things to evaluate is a relationship. But we have to. Anything we take seriously, we need to cultivate towards betterment. Want a sure-fire way to lose? Don’t evaluate. Don’t look for how to move forward or improve.
But if you actually want to work on it, there has to be some form of way to tell that it’s growing. How do I measure if this relationship is a good relationship? How do I know if this person is good for me? How do I know I’m good for this person? How do I know if this is right?
Most of the time, we don’t like to evaluate our relationships and ourselves because we’re afraid of what we’ll find. This is the “I didn’t prepare for the exam syndrome”. Just like people who don’t study and review, we’re afraid to take the test, even a self-test, because we already know we’re going to fail. But evaluation is a very very important part of growth. Evaluation is the process of asking and answering two of my favorite questions:
What’s this worth? What value does this bring? Or for our personal reflection, what am I worth? What value do I bring?
For relationships, I like what Matthew Kelly
suggests, “Is this person helping me become the best version of myself?” “Am I helping this person become the best version of himself?”
When we ask ourselves these questions, we are faced with a range of responses:
1. Denial –Many people choose to deny the necessity of evaluating themselves and their relationships. They simply convince themselves, there’s nothing to improve. There’s nothing to grow. There’s nothing to stop. There’s nothing to start. There’s nothing to do. I don’t care about me bringing value.
2. Using Easy-Metrics – We like to evaluate our relationships and ourselves using cutesy tests such as compatibility tests, horoscopes, personality tests or other simple metrics. To say that our relationship is good because our signs match, or our colors are complementary, or because our personalities fit isn’t enough. The problem with this is, when we pass the easy tests, we won’t be ready for the real tests of life, and when these come, we will have our expectations shattered. For example, just because a kid can add 1+1 or multiply 33×74, doesn’t mean he’s fit for integral calculus. I’m sure these tests are fun and do help a bit. But just like a cherry on sundae, it’s cute, but it’s not the dessert.
3. Using Selfish-Metrics – We like to evaluate our relationships based on me, myself, and I. How does this affect me? What am I receiving? How do I feel? What have I given up? What is taken from me? Selfish-metrics are using our own needs and desires as the standard for whether there’s value in a relationship. This is a very dangerous product of our consumer society. We treat relationships as a means to fill us. Even our kindness sometimes is means to prove our importance to others. We need to watch out for this.
4. Hopelessness – Usually, when we deny the need for evaluation and growth, when we use easy-metrics, and when we’re selfish with our relationships, our relationships will fail – and when that happens, many times we end up with feelings of despair and hopelessness. We are are condemned that “we’re bad people” or “bad friends” or making excuses. Instead, just go do better next time! It’s that simple.
This is one of the most counter-productive attitudes to take for three reasons:
A) It’s not a spirit of humility that condemns us but pride that can’t accept we simply failed and have to grow. Pride says, “I failed. I’m no good. Because I didn’t earn your love, I don’t want it.” Humility on the other hand says, “I failed. I’m no good. But because I need your love, help me grow to become who you want me to be.” I’m sure some of you don’t like that already. We all hate the idea of changing for someone. We’ll talk about humility later.
B) This does not lead to proactive change.When something is not going or feeling right, we have to correct it through the right actions. Confessing your rottenness doesn’t fix the issue. Admitting it is a start, but swimming in it doesn’t do anyone good.
C) It is irritating and discouraging.Sometimes, when I listen to the things people grumble and whine about, I catch myself having to repent from impatience and irritation, but many times, after hearing grumbling and complaining over and over and over again, the effect is discouragement. When people choose to highlight their lack, their bad feelings, their selfish introspection, their problems, and their challenges in a way that is without hope or faith, at best it will irritate and at worst it will drain the faith and energy of those around you.
Sometimes I wonder what our employees, drivers, maids, and friends think when they hear us complaining and whining. The truth is, if you’re reading this, most people would trade their life for yours. The fact that you’re in a place with internet is not a common thing. The fact that you have access to information is not common. The fact that you’re alive is a miracle.
I know some people think grumbling and whining is fashionable but I’m telling you now it’s not. It’s selfish. It’s ungrateful. There is nothing admirable by announcing to people how hard life is. It doesn’t involve faith. A selfish, ungrateful, hopeless person makes for a very unattractive relationship.
I must admit, that description describes me at times. How do we address this in ourselves? Well, it starts by actually diagnosing where we are and what should be done. That’s my next post.