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A Good Relationship Is About Give and Take. Never Let It Be One-Sided

A Good Relationship Is About Give and Take. Never Let It Be One-Sided

We all know that relationships are about giving and making compromises, but even if we try to do our best, we end up being ignored, not feeling satisfied or appreciated, or not being able to keep the relationships strong.

What if I told you that the solution to understanding this and doing something about it lies in a psychological theory?

What is The Social Exchange Theory?

The Social Exchange Theory is an interesting term, used to describe the relationship between two people as an exchange process.

The give and take approach plays a big role, but so does our perception of how meaningful this is, what the deserve, and what we think we are investing in this.

According to experts [1], the theory

‘assumes that all human relationships are a matter of costs and rewards and people evaluate the worth of their relationship to make a rational decision of whether or not to progress.’

How Does The Theory Look Like in Real Life?

This doesn’t apply only to romantic relationships , though, but to every situation from life where 2 parties interact. And if you think about it, you’ve already seen this in action.

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If you don’t feel like your efforts at work are noticed, you might start thinking about making it clear that you can easily leave and find a new job.

Investing more time in choosing a present for a friend, be it with or without an occasion, will unconsciously make you expect him to react in a certain way. But when he or she just says ‘Thanks.’ and continues to do something else, you’ll end up disappointed. That’s when you might consider the fact that this friendship isn’t worth the investment of your time and energy, and you should see this person less often so that you don’t feel like that again.

These are just simple examples of how the social exchange theory works.

But you might be asking, why does this happen, and how exactly?

Well, here’s how the process looks like for us, regardless of who the other person is:

It begins with what we think we deserve.

If you’ve always had bad relationships, you won’t really expect to be treated with respect by new people either, so that will make you put up with those who don’t deserve your attention. But because you’ve seen plenty of this in the past and are okay with it now, you won’t notice it and will think this is the best you can get;

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Calculating the possible outcomes

Leaving your job with confidence would only be possible if you feel sure that you’ll find something else, and as good, soon. If not, if you’ll have a much lower salary at the new place, or if it’s far away from your home, you might decide to stay where you are now and accept that it’s the best you can get at this moment;

Your definition of fairness

In the end of the day, all that matters is what you think is fair. Depending on how we define this, we create a level of comparison in our heads and evaluate all our interactions with other people based on this. In some cases you’ll give more, in others you’ll expect to get more out of the relationship.

All these combined are how the social exchange theory works.

It’s all about finding the balance between what we give and what we receive. Unfortunately, the balance in all areas of life is usually the hardest thing to achieve. Especially when talking about social life, when other people are involved and we rarely know what’s going on in their heads.

But the importance of this psychological set of ideas is undeniable. Once we truly grasp its meaning and how it happens, we’ll be more conscious when deciding whether or not we should keep someone in our lives.

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Now that we’ve defined the theory and know why it matters, let’s see how we can use it to our advantage and actually form better relationships.

Steps to Take to Improve Our Relationships

1. Think before you act, and before you ask.

That’s a great mindset shift you can make if you want to never feel like you’re giving more where it’s not appreciated , and to make sure you’re investing as much as the other person in this.

Meaning, before doing a favor, rationalize. Think if that person would do the same for you. Only this way can you see when it’s unreasonable and it’s time for you to say ‘no’ and set some boundaries. Otherwise, people will start using you,

The opposite is also true.

When you’re about to ask for something (even if it’s for someone to spend more time with you, give you something, share stuff about his life, or else), think if you’ve given him the same.

This will lead to knowing what type of exchange there is in each relationship in your life, and where you should focus on giving more.

2. Speak up. Talk to them. It shows that you really care.

When someone isn’t treating you the way you think you deserve, talk to them . Say it directly. This will save you both time and unpleasant emotions in the future.

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That might also help him realize his mistake and encourage an eagerness to change. If not, if he doesn’t seem impressed in any way or bothered by that, you’ll know you were right about your feelings and don’t need to keep seeing him.

To make sure you aren’t the one taking more out of a relationship, ask if the other person feels okay around you every now and then. This shows that you care, leaves room for improvement, and can be the game-changer in whether or not a relationship strengthens and lasts longer.

3. Be present.

Thinking about what has been before, having regrets about letting someone get close to you too soon, or wondering what could be different, is a waste of time.

The best thing you can do, that’s great for both of you and anyone else involved, is to practice mindfulness . That means being present and focusing on what’s going on now. Saying things out loud, being here and enjoying other people’s company, and taking action if anything needs to be changed.

Over to you now.

What can you do today to improve your relationships, using what you just learned about the social exchange theory?

Reference

[1]Academia.edu: Social Exchange Theory

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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