Sunday, December 16, 2007
The conclusion – be ourselves, act normally.
Good advice this for relationships of many kinds (marriages, ‘significant otherhood’, membership of political groups, even 'blogger swarms').
Looking at my friends and family over the years one indicator of a rocky relationship stands out. It is when one or more of the partners spend much of their time trying to second guess in advance what the other partner wants, moulding their behaviour and statements on these guesses and suppressing their own personalities .
This goes way beyond being sensitive to the others. It leads to a kind of stunting, in which the partners forget to bring the richness of their own lives and experiences to the life of the relationship. At worse one dominating partner can manipulate and diminish the other by being slippery in response to the guesses, forcing the other always to be off-balance. This enforces a lowering of mental health well-being for all in the relationship.
In any political party there are many many relationships. Can we build up a culture where we value richness and assertiveness and so support mentally healthy interactions?
The advantage for the LibDems is that our natural way of thinking does in fact tend to support healthy approaches (we don’t always live up to this of course). So we have much to gain personally and politically from being ourselves and acting normally