Fine Tuning Your Relationships


By Jayaram V

You in the minds of others are not the real you but a perception. The difference between the reality and perception can be vastly different. It depends upon what you project and what they interpret. It also depends upon their beliefs, preferences, mental filters, desires and expectations.

In other words, you do not have to be excessively concerned about what others may think about you or conclude. However, in real life it is not what happens. People are so conditioned to seek others' approval that they depend upon the judgment of others rather than their own, which leads to very unhappy consequences.

Some people are chronically depressed because they believe that they are disliked by others or judged negatively. In evaluating ourselves we are not taught to depend upon our own judgment and analysis but follow the standards approved and upheld by society.

There are mainly four aspects of your self-image. What you know, what you do not know, what others may know and what others do not. They can overlap. Thus, you have aspects that you may know and others may know, aspects that you only know but others do not know, aspects that others know but you do not know and finally aspects that neither you nor others know.

Your relationships and the happiness you derive from them largely depend upon how far others know about you and how much you know about them. If a relationship is based on false perceptions and faulty notions, most likely it leads to conflicts and breakdown of the relationship. If both sides indulge in hiding and deception, the relationship will collapse even faster.

From the above, following conclusions arise.

1. In judging yourself you should rely more upon your own judgment rather than others.

2. If you want to know how others are perceiving you, look for the common feature in all relationships. For example if you have a positive relationship with most people you know, and you see that they are happy or comfortable in your presence, you may conclude that you are perceived by them as a likable and trustworthy person.

3. In relationships it is always good to keep space. From experience you have to learn the distance and the extent of your involvement with the person or the relationship.

4. Do not look for ideal relationships. They do not exist.

5. Expect people to be imperfect, inconsistent, somewhat less transparent, and unpredictable, and cultivate the patience and maturity to bear with them. Tolerate people but protect yourself from their imperfections.

6. Avoid hurting others and indulge in blame game. If a relationship is not working, minimize the interaction, increase the distance, avoid being close, and downgrade it to a casual and perfunctory relationship.

7. Avoid people who are habitually negative, opinionated, critical, or dishonest.

Hope this information will help you to review the status of your current relationships and use the knowledge to identify areas of improvement, build quality relationships and discard the dysfunctional ones.

Jayaram V is the Founder President of and author of 12 books, including Think Success: Essays on Self-help.