When it comes to relationships, it is important to think of yourself as being on a team. The word relationship means “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected” (Oxford Languages). So being on a team means there is another person we need to figure into our world.
We-ness vs. me-ness
When we make a decision, we are thinking about our needs as well as our partner’s needs. This is “we-ness.” We think about what is best for the team, the two of us.
“Me-ness” on the other hand refers to an individual. It is being ego-centric or only considering your own needs. It is solitary and single.That is not to say that “me-ness” is inherently bad. Sometimes we need to focus on ourselves and what is best for us.
Understanding these two concepts is important because it influences how we act or don’t act with others. If we are in a relationship and are only thinking about what we need (me-ness), the consequence is our partner feeling hurt and left out. Obviously, this would damage or weaken the relationship.
If on the other hand, we approach our partner with the mindset of “we-ness,” we make our partner feel included and wanted. The outcome is usually your partner acting out of “we-ness” as well. These types of interactions strengthens the relationship and makes the two of you better together. There is a synergistic effect!
How to approach your relationship with "we-ness"
So, when you are making decisions, take your partner’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. For example, if you and your partner have plans to go to dinner and your friend calls with tickets to the big game or popular show, don’t just jilt your partner. Think about how your partner might feel if you abruptly cancel your plans.Talk to your partner about this opportunity. Let them know you understand how they might feel.
Then share with them how you feel. The final step is to talk about a compromise. Perhaps you change your dinner to a different night. By working together, you can come up with a solution that is acceptable for both of you. No big argument or hurt feelings. That is “we-ness” in action.
Originally published on Debbie Woodall-Carroll's personal blog on February 10, 2022