Less Is More: No MVP Award In Relationships

July 1, 2009

If there is one thing that psychologists, therapists, and helpers in general are notorious for it’s bringing a MVP attitude into our personal relationships. As a result, we tend to do way too much work in relationships. We feel LeBron James-like because we are used to fixing everyone else’s relationships and, quite naturally, take the lead role on fixing our own.

Well, well, well…how exactly did that work out for LeBron? He took the lead role only to discover that a team without a MVP had significantly more power. Why? Because each member of the Orlando Magic simply focused on “doing his part” and allowing their teammates to do the same. It kept everyone focused, included, and HAPPY. Truth is, everyone wants to feel like a contributor by doing his/her respective part well.

The same thing holds true in relationships. Two people who commit to doing their equal share (50%) are always stronger than a couple with a 75-25, MVP-style split. As helpers, we should know that a fist is always more powerful than a finger-no matter how big or clinically skilled it is. We must commit to simply doing our part (never to exceed 50%) and rely and expect our partners to do the rest. They are not patients, clients, etc. and are fully capable-if allowed- to do their part.

We cannot single-handily fix our relationships. When we try, we always make matters worse and our partners eventually feel disempowered and ultimately do less and less since we are so driven to do it all (like LeBron’s teammates). Ironically, the team or relationship needs the MVP to fail so that the other partners can step up and shoulder the load. When we do this, our partners will appreciate us more and we’ll become a stronger team. Remember, when it comes to helpers, MVPs and love… less truly is more.

 

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