Do you really know who you are? Sounds like a strange question, but many people are not aware of who they really are or why they do things the way they do. And the reason that this matters is because people who are aware of who they are, can use this information to make their relationships better and be more successful as parents.
Forbes magazine lists the following traits as the top qualities that are crucial for great leadership.
However, Victor Lipman (a contributor to Forbes magazine) in his article entitled:
“All successful leaders need this quality” , quotes from a study conducted at Cornell University:
“Leadership searches give short shrift to ‘self-awareness,’ which should actually be a top criterion. Interestingly, a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success ( in business). This is not altogether surprising as executives who are aware of their weaknesses are often better able to hire subordinates who perform well in categories in which the leader lacks acumen. These leaders are also more able to entertain the idea that someone on their team may have an idea that is even better than their own.”
While self-awareness is perhaps a less typically sought after quality in a job resume, as Mr. Lipman reveals, it turns out to have a lot of clout. It is not only a great predictor for success in business, it turns out that it’s also a great predictor for success in relationships.
People who are aware of their inborn (or even self- developed traits) tend to fare better in relationships and in parenting. When we are aware of how we are perceived by others, we are more likely to monitor and adjust our interactions and responses… we are more aware of the qualities that help us to foster good relationships and be just as aware of the things that we do that can drive others insane.
Awareness in Our Relationships
If we know something about our own weaknesses, we can do something about them. If every interaction is a knee jerker and we respond without awareness there’s not a lot of (immediate) hope for change. Of course with time and the “hard knocks” of life, we hopefully become more sensitive and aware, but the earlier anyone puts effort into this journey, the earlier they will reap the benefits.
In every relationship there are many opposites that draw people together. In every relationship there is usually a more outgoing individual in the partnership and a more reserved one. In most relationships you will usually find an individual who is the free spender and a more prudent one, a more practical partner and… well let’s just say a less practical one!
For instance, my husband is a super learner! Give him a few books and he is happy as a lark – he doesn’t need to talk to anyone for a day or even two – as long as he is busy with his research. I, on the other hand, am the more social partner. If I’m not connecting with someone after a few hours, I am not a happy camper.
So for me, this was quite a difficult hurdle to overcome when I first got married. Here I am, ready to connect, and my husband has his head in a book! I am not fond of talking to the walls, and my husband was off doing his thing.
Over time, I came to respect his scholarly side and he came to understand my need to connect. I found other ways to satisfy my “connectivity” and my husband made sure to give me his undivided attention for a certain period each day.
In the end, we both grew from the experience and became more self-aware and compassionate spouses.
And it’s the same with every aspect of our individual qualities.
Awareness in Parenting
And how much more so when it comes to our parenting… Each and every child is a world of their own, with different qualities, capacities and needs.
How about the artistic, sensitive child paired with the super logical, cool and calculated parent? Their ways of seeing the world can be polar opposites and make for some interesting challenges for each party.
Trying to see things from our childrens’ perspective, trying to appreciate and embrace the qualities with which they have been endowed, can help us to understand why a child behaves the way that he does and be more sensitive in helping him to overcome a weakness. The flip side of that weakness is most likely a wonderful trait that makes him exceptionally unique!
This same idea can ease the pain when a parent has pinned high hopes on a particular child to carry on a specific legacy, profession or family business. A quality that the parent possesses may have made him a perfect match for a specific profession, but the said child may very well possess none of these same qualities.
Our Hidden Expectations
It can be hard for a parent to accept that their child is so uniquely endowed and so very different from him or her.
Sometimes a parent might not even realize that he has certain expectations for his child but inadvertently communicates these expectations non – verbally.
This can often make for some real misunderstood tension between parent and said child.
By becoming more aware of our own positive and negative traits and perhaps even more aware of our own wishes and desires, we can start to monitor our expectations of our spouses and children.
I love to entertain and my husband also does… in small doses. I have to be aware of his needs because having too many guests wears him down.
We are all combinations of hundreds of traits and unspoken desires, but learning what’s important to you and important to your partner… and making room for those things in your lives-is the foundational cement that holds a relationship together.
Have you faced challenges because of differences in ways of doing things or traits with your partner or child? Have you become more aware or found ways to navigate these differences?
Please share your struggles and successes in the comments below and perhaps we can all learn something from your experiences.