Wouldn't it be great if human beings came to this world with well functioning, inbuilt relationship software? Indeed, we do come with an inbuilt capability to form deep, lasting, successful relationships. How then does it happen that so many relationships run into problems?
Reports about divorce rates, domestic violence, and increase of crime paint a grim picture of the state of relationships amongst people. Not only are people’s private spheres affected by difficulties with relationships, but also their professional relationships suffer greatly. Frictions, stress, disruptions, and conflicts in the workplace attest to how difficult it is to manage team relationships.
So what is it that gets in the way of people having successful relationships? That again has nothing to do with finding the right partner or colleague, but everything with psychology and how our brain functions. Everyone transfer feelings (positive or negative) they have about significant people in their childhood onto people in the present that have traits that remind them in some ways of the person from the past.
Another psychological dynamic is projection whereby people project onto others the aspects of themselves they don’t like or are in denial of. People also have a distorted perception of others through trauma, neglect, or other bad experiences in the past that have generalised in their mind. In fact, our perceptions of others is so much influenced about our past experiences, that we rarely perceive them for who they really are.
Of course, there is a remedy that helps people dealing with the psychological impact of trauma, transference and projection. It can be summarised as ‘emotional intelligence’. Emotional intelligence covers self-awareness, self-management, understanding others, and managing relationships. Emotional intelligence can be achieved through a process of self-reflection, soul searching, and honest, objective self-observation.
How to gain emotional intelligence will be discussed in the next article.