So let’s continue the SHIFT approach to evaluating and perhaps adjusting your life to meet your needs with a discussion of what Independent Spirit means.   The middle finger represents relational intelligence.  I have chosen to use independence as a scale for measuring relational intelligence because having a sense of independence is so important to be able to manage yourself in any relationship.  An independent spirit means that you are fully aware that you deserve to be treated well, to have respect and consideration as well as to give it to others.  It means that you make decisions based on your own AND the others best interests. That way you are better prepared to manage the space between you and the other person.

It is less likely that you will become lost or stuck in a relationship that is toxic if you have a great measure of self-esteem to work with.  No doubt that self-esteem will come from high scores on all of the scales.  It is important to know who you are and that you can stand on your own two feet. Know, too, what you have to offer in the relationship whether it is a work environment or not as well as what you can gain from being in the relationship.

Learning about yourself in relation to others is important.  There are many psychological tests and self-help books that can help you with that.  I love the Enneagram for helping me understand the space between me and others and how I can manipulate my responses to get the responses that serve us both. Manipulate might be a strong word but it really means that you can adjust what you are doing to improve the interaction and make it healthy for both of you.

Some might argue that interdependence should be the top of the scale for relational intelligence.  Maybe …. But a measure of  independence is a prerequisite for healthy interdependence.  Let’s start there.  Are my needs being met in the relationship?  If not renegotiate the relationship or leave it all together.  This may sound a little one-sided.  The other question of course is are THEIR needs being met?  If not what can I do to meet those needs and maintain the relationship?

You have heard me talk about the five As before.  Relational well-being really needs all five.  Appreciation, affection, approval, acceptance and allowing for both parties to gain a level of independent well-being within your relationships.

What I mean by independent spirit is better understood if you consider life as a talk show. You would be Oprah.  You are in charge of who the guests are on the show.  You control the conversation and when appropriate you give them the stage but you always maintain that independent decision-making about what’s good for the show.

It is the middle finger.  Use it if you need to to get what you need to maintain your relational well-being.

 

 

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