Knowing Who You Are

Dear Maude,

I wrote about “knowing what your own goals are”, and you wrote “you need to have spent time learning about yourself”, so we’re both acknowledging the importance that knowing yourself has in a successful relationship.

The better you know yourself, the easier it is to pick a suitable partner. Of course, that advice isn’t much use if you’re already in a relationship; in that case, knowing yourself better will change your responses, and that in turn will change the relationship. For instance, if you’re criticised, you can

  1. realise it’s valid and try to change
  2. think it’s unfair, but try to change to avoid future attacks
  3. find it hypocritical and respond with your own criticisms
  4. know it’s unjustified, and ignore it

Changing your response will most likely change your partner, too; perhaps not the first time, or the second, but if you continue to choose 1 or 4, their actions will no longer produce the expected paybacks and the emotional game will eventually wither and die for lack of a partner.

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