Is it easier to hurt happy people in relationships?
The short answer is “They can be.” If you want to know what happy people can do to avoid getting hurt in relationships, read on!
Your mind is made up of two parts; the creative part and the logical part. We will call the first part System 1 and the second part System 2.
Here are more detailed descriptions of each system:
System 1: good humor, strong intuition, increased creativity and innovation, credulity, prone to logical errors
System 2: vigilance, analytical, increased mental effort, sadness, suspicion and always on guard
Is this a “one or the other” situation? Can you have the best of both worlds? Yes, this is how the human mind is made, to switch between moments of threat, concentration and focus to moments of openness, relaxation and creativity. The problem arises when a person chooses to stay in one system or another.
For example, if you have been hurt in a relationship, whether current or past, you may hold on to feelings and thoughts associated with the pain you felt. Increasingly, his System 2 is compromised and he becomes ever alert to seek additional ways to be hurt, the ease with which he used to interact changes to require more mental and emotional effort, the feeling of sadness for what he has lost in the La Relationship develops (resentment), and your guard is always on guard to avoid further harm. This is detrimental to the relationship because it can create a downward spiral of interaction and cause the other person to activate their System 2 as well. An illustration I use for this is the person you are watching from a distance in a restaurant. They complain to the hostess / host and are short on the waiter / waitress. If they came with someone else, even that person is treated abruptly and cruelly. Why do they behave like this? Very simply, they have been hurt and they behave this way to keep everyone away so they don’t get hurt again.
The reverse can also be true. If you’ve been hurt in a relationship and you’re still operating on your System 1, they can easily take advantage of you. The other person keeps doing and saying things that hurt, but your System 1 does not think logically, it is gullible and makes you be creative and in a good mood, believing that you will find a way to improve the relationship. Many times this is not the case. And you hurt yourself more easily and more often.
True happiness is only found when the proper balance is struck between System 1 and System 2. Suppose you can go back to the magical moment when you first entered the relationship. Somewhere between there and where you are now is the point of balance. In the first weeks or months of the relationship, your System 1 was in charge. He immediately got in a good mood whenever he saw the person or even heard their name. They were both creative in their relationship, regularly surprising each other with gifts, phone calls, text messages, cards, and the like. You used your “instinct” (intuition) most of the time and the things that you would not normally do or would have done did not matter, if the other person liked you. Consider where you are now in that relationship, perhaps months or years later. Many people find that it takes more work and energy (System 2) than they are willing to spend to find the same level of excitement and enjoyment, or even close to it.
So how do you find that balance between System 1 and System 2? Here are 3 steps that I have found very successful in working with my clients:
1. Know your values
These values are what make you who you are. When you know what you value and respect the most, you won’t allow conflict to exist for long. Let the person you are in a relationship with know what your values are and, unless you decide to change them, never allow someone to disrespect you by causing a conflict. This allows you to stay in System 1, where you are happy, creative, intuitive, but you are no longer gullible because you know your values. Your time in System 2 will be kept to a minimum.
2. Know what your mission in life is
Once you know your values, you will begin to understand your purpose in life. Here are some areas to consider: How do you want to be helpful to those around you? What contributions would you like to make to your family, community, city, state, nation, globally?
3. Based on the first two exercises, how do you see your future in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and more? Now you can create a solid vision of what your life will be like.
When you have the stability of these three components under you, you can safely know when to increase your mental effort and enter System 2 to be critical, logical, focused, vigilant, and even suspicious and avoid the wounds that would otherwise come. The rest of the time you can fully enjoy life in System 1; be in a good mood, let creativity and innovation flourish, and let your intuition guide you. Is it time to find that balance?