Even the best-intended, caring of your friends and family members have their world views limited by social conditioning, cultural bias, personal level of development and relationship history. Any advice they sincerely give you may be informed by their own limitations, and not helpful to you.
Here are four common pieces of advice that you’ll hear often, and are better off ignoring:
1 – ‘Relationships are about compromise’
Your core values are what makes you the unique human being that you are. Compromising your very identity to preserve a relationship is cruel, self-destructive, and a shortcut for suffering. Instead, replace ‘compromise’ with ‘prioritize’: with every decision you make that affects both you as an individual, and your relationship, ask yourself ‘What is important?’, while maintaining integrity in your human identity.
2 – ‘Opposites attract’
You live for world peace, while your partner’s life mission is to fight his tribal enemies. You cherish silent, solitary holidays, while your partner loves big, crowded parties. Friends tell you that your differences are good for you, and generate desire.
There is a common fallacy to confuse sexual polarity of feminine Yin and masculine Yang which are the ‘opposites ‘ that attract with differences in world views, values and personality types. For couple relationships to work, views and values must be shared, while personality types must be compatible.
3 – ‘People Change’
Sometimes people change, and sometimes they don’t. Some traits change, and some traits don’t. Personality traits that you are born with remain with you all your life. What does change with personal growth are values and world views; however, nobody knows what causes an individual to grow and what pace he or she will develop, and no human being can cause another human to grow. Staying in a relationship with a person who is less mature than you psychologically while hoping that they will change is like a shot in the dark, and likely to keep you unfulfilled.
4 – ‘Forgive!’
Forgiving is heralded as the first and most important step in healing and well-being. If your partner has done injustice to you, hurt you or did anything seriously harmful, and your more traditional family members and friends tell you to forgive him or her, make sure first that forgiveness is indeed the healthy step to take.
Forgiveness is possible only when the wrong doer has: 1) apologized; 2) ceased their harmful behaviour and 3) has made amends.
Relationship advice from people who care about you is important, and can shed light on your ‘blind spots’. Listen, consider and discern!