Before you conjure pictures of owls, stacks of ancient tomes and philosophers in togas, know we are going to look at a lesser known version of wisdom. Discovery is always fun. Did you have any idea being able to discover is wisdom? Yes, we are going to tie all the alphabetic posts together. Neatly.
As we have strolled through the psychological alphabet, we have discovered things about ourselves: What kind of temperament we have always had, how that temperament translates in adulthood, how creatively we think, our own brands of confidence and defiance and much more. How does all that discovery translate into wisdom?
Merriam Webster may not have been the W for this post, but certainly played a hand in it. The very first definition of wisdom is “accumulated philosophic or scientific learning, knowledge”. It is all the things you have learned about yourself as we have traveled this road.
M3 normally takes last, or nearly last, definition. Wisdom is different. We are going to stay in the first definition, but we are going to go down two paths.
b: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
c : good sense : judgment”
All of the personality and temperament tests revealed ways our decision-making exposes our truest identity. We saw how the way we interact with others and our environment influences the way we handle tough and simple situations alike. Already, some of you have identified how knowing yourself helps you understand interactions between you and (Quaint, Mate, Co-Worker, Family).
Think about the person to whom you are the closest. Answer a few questions:
- Does Quaint have a similar temperament?
- Are you more confident than Quaint?
- Is Quaint more creative?
- Who does the endorsing?
- Which one is a genius?
You have gathered information and used your insight. Now, it is time to exercise judgment.
Newsflash: Relationships are never 50-50.
Between spouses, lovers, friends, colleagues, siblings, parents and children, extended families…relationships are never 50-50. One person will bring a dominant number of assets to the relationship.
Newsflash 2: It is okay.
Every relationship we have is built upon the satisfaction of needs. Each person satisfies a need the other person has. In some cases, one person will satisfy more needs than have needs fulfilled. In weighing the needs in a relationship, be honest about how weighty your own needs are to the other person.
Newsflash 3: You can ask.
Once you know, you can weigh whether or not the relationship is satisfying enough needs to continue as it stands now. If you find it lacking, you do not have to scrap it. Instead, work on it. Relationships change over time unchecked. Change is equally available as an overt action.
Change the relationship to someone else: Your child, parent or sibling. Answer the questions again. How different are the results?
When we deal with our families, we often assume there is no way to work with them on our relationships. Why? No one chooses their family. Everyone can choose how or if interaction takes place.
While your children are small (until the age of majority), you are responsible for them. Consider it penance, if it is painful. During that time, you are not at the mercy of the relationship ocean. Identify in yourself and your child what assets are available.
No, your child is not helping you pay the mortgage. Your child is unlocking discovery in you by holding your hand on a new path of discovery. This is a chance to revisit your past and the formation of your identity, to remind you of yourself.
You can avoid slips and falls along the way by recognizing your child is not a miniature version of yourself…any more than (Quaint, Colleague, Mate) is. Instead, remember how your identity formed and observe the formation of your child’s.
If this was not the path your parent(s) took, this will be the discovery of a different way.
When it comes to dealing with other members of your family, you have no obligation like the one to your child. You can choose to engage or disengage the same way you do with your colleagues and neighbors. Identify the differences between you, and determine if the relationship is worthwhile.
Every family has at least one member the rest tolerate for the peace of the family. Leave that person for holidays, and skip them on any random Tuesday. Just because someone is family does not mean they are identical or even compatible with you. Reread Newsflash 2.
More than just a random accumulation of knowledge, wisdom is an exercise in using insight and making judgments.
Have you exercised wisdom in relationships with others or are you adrift on the relationship ocean? Have you ever had the wisdom to end a relationship with a family member? How can wisdom help you with teenagers…yours and those of others?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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