My parents tell the story of me when I was little looking up at the moon and saying, “ball.” They tell me that I was active and agile and, as I grew older, this translated into me trying to play various sports on lots of teams like little league baseball, flag football, soccer, softball, volleyball, and especially basketball.
As I got into high school, through sports, I learned a work ethic that helped me to be successful at what I pursued. I learned things like, “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late,” “Perfect practice makes perfect,” and “If you work harder and stay longer you will be stronger and faster which will make you more successful.” I somehow thought that there were no limits to what I could do if I worked hard enough, and I developed a sort of discipline that got me far in achievement-oriented things like athletics and academics.
It was not until years later that I started to get my first lessons that this driven mentality was not always the only way to success and especially in relationships. I remember one time when my busyness and demanding scheduling started to strain a particular relationship and realized that ultimately I would go further if I slowed down and “walked” than if I continued to push and “run” in the relationship.
As I have sat in therapy with couples, I have recognized a “run” tendency in one partner often drives the other partner away. If one partner stands at the door and first knocks, then rings the doorbell, then bangs on the door, and continues to pursue in a “hard working and diligent” manner they often do not get the results they seek in the relationship. In fact, they get the opposite.
So, the relationship tip this week, is if you have a tendency to “run” in your relationships, don’t keep knocking on the front door until your knuckles are bruised. Try a more moderate “walk” approach. Be creative; try something new that is not so intense. After all, the tortoise did beat the hare.