Are Your Relationships Performance Based?

Are Your Relationships Performance Based?

Are your relationships or interactions with other people performance based?  Do you make your decisions on who you will socialize, engage with, and celebrate based on how much they have or how much they’ve accomplished in their waking life?  If so, your value system of people is probably performance based.  How you view people and how you treat others says a lot about one’s character as well as what you believe and value.  More importantly, I think the question we need to pose to ourselves is should or shouldn’t our relationships be performance based?  How else do we know whether we should or shouldn’t value another individual and their approach to life?  I think in the very materialistic westernized caste system that we live in it is very easy to get caught up into what someone can or cannot do for us monetarily.

At one point I believed that what a person has accomplished or have not accomplished displayed something to be told about a person’s character.  To some extent what a person does with their time speaks to who they are as an individual but not so much as to what value they have in life.  The truth is we all fall short of something; there are all types of walk of life especially in America which is a very cultured and diverse country.  I would argue that to be open minded about other people and their approach to life is the right and politically correct thing to do, but the reason goes a little deeper than that.  Everyone is not on the same path nor is everyone’s purpose in life the same.  My thought is that if you are to gauge someone gauge them properly based on their trials, start in life, attitude and moral code.  We must come to the realization that the unfortunate reality is that just because you have possessions, pedigrees, and status does not equate to being an upright citizen.  The harsh reality is that some people have done immoral, unjustified, demoralizing things to their fellow man to get to their current class in life.  Therefore we can’t just gauge a person on tangible things alone since it is the HOW they got their start and finish which is much more important.

We can’t just look at another person who may be poor, low on the totem pole or uneducated and automatically come to the conclusion that they are where they are because a lack of effort; or that they lack value.  Life is not that black and white.  That same person who doesn’t have the house on the hill just may be the same person to risk their life for a friend, spend their life being a good mate, stand up for the rights of others, or give their last to someone in need. More often than not the people who are successful have made sacrifices to get where they are, but there are also the few who have made choices and sacrifices that hindered them or that prevented them from finishing school or even upon finishing school has them medically, financially, emotionally and systematically stuck in a rut.

It is my belief that there is something divine in each and every one of us and that we can spend our time judging and criticizing one another or we can go about being an inspiration and an encourager to whom all we come across.  If we look at people solely based upon what they currently have we may never know just how much they have truly overcome in the first place.  Life is unpredictable, wonderful and at times inexplicably chaotic; you can be on top of the world one day and lose it all the next.  Furthermore, that same person we show disdain or disapproval towards may be the same person to turn things around and become a ‘success’; what will we say or how will we behave towards them then?  Will they finally be worthy of our good graces?  Would that then be the time to show interest and humanity?  I think not!!  That is why if we are to base our judgment of a person on something we should base it on their morals, disposition, character, ideals and/or beliefs.  Basically all of the intangibles of life since all of the tangibles of life, as we can easily see, are fleeting and disposable.

Today I hear a lot of talk from people concerning “what a person brings to the table” when discussing what they will and won’t accept from a potential mate.  I come across a lot of people describing in great detail what they would like to GET from someone instead of what they would like to DO for or with someone.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not naive nor disillusioned, I know money and status is important but I also know that money and status do not trump everything.  Today people are so consumed about what to possess and who to impress that we forget the most important things like heart, companionship, and emotional connection.  I also hear a lot of demands being placed on people till it seems like it is all performance based and conditional.  No one wants or cares about having, or being, a ‘friend’ anymore.  People look at others very black and white: you are either a liability or a come up.  Generally speaking, people are saying “I don’t have time for other people’s infringements and personal imperfections especially if it clashes with my current position, lifestyle, possessions or personal gain”.  What is special or unique about that?  What difference then do you have between a job/ business arrangement and a intimate relationship? Not very alluring or romantic is it?

Furthermore, we must not assume that one sex is more superficial than the other; men and women alike are both guilty of having performance based relationships.  Both sexes display a sense of entitlement along with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.  From women it is status, finances and possessions and from men it is duties, favors, and behaviors.  Usually in my personal life, not always but usually, I get the top three questions:  Do you cook, can you clean, and do you have a job?  Hardly ever does anyone start a conversation asking what I actually ‘do’ for a living, my hobbies, dreams, goals or desires.  For those that do ask those types of questions those are the ones I take an interest in since they have showed a sincere interest in ME, the person not the doer or provider, but these people are typically far and few between.

My major concern with people and performance based relationships is…. what if life happens?  What happens when your mate loses their job, wants to switch careers, gets cancer, has a accident, gets sick and becomes an invalid then what?  No one likes to struggle or have hardships, that I understand, but to be an opportunist and to have relationships with others based on personal gain and advancement is to be self-absorbed and profoundly selfish.  Not only does having a performance based relationship put added pressure on a person to perform but it leaves little room for life’s inevitable inconveniences and it also leaves little room for change since the ultimate goal becomes not to waiver in one’s current duty of providing.

Now here is my disclaimer:  I am NOT saying that a person should not pull their weight or contribute be it monetary or dutiful; but what I am saying is that a relationship should be based on commonalities, connection, and kinship.

Finally, even in our ambition to find the proper mate we cannot forget that while having all of these conveniences and privileges is enjoyable we still have a love tank to fill in addition to making sure that our personal emotional needs have been met.  And that if we have an emotional intimate connection already we should not exchange our current 80 for a leftover 20 because ultimately it is the connection we all really crave for the most.  Til next time friends.

Onyx Contributors:  Mahogany Jones
photo credit:  Thomas Hawk

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