Shift In Status

We begin any relationship with a perceived or assumed status.

A professional relationship might assume a superior has a higher status than their new hire.

A parent-child relationship begins with the parent having higher status (knowledge, wisdom, experience, ability to provide and protect) than their child.

A romantic relationship ideally begins as a meeting of two equals, but you’ll often hear people discussing their own or other people’s relationships in a way that implies a difference of status. “He’s punching above his weight.”

There is the potential for the status balance to shift in each of these relationships.

At work perhaps your sales numbers increase to eclipse those of your manager, or you win more recognition than the woman who hired you. Perhaps you get promoted ahead of your own supervisor.

As you grow into adulthood you develop your own knowledge, personality and become more self-reliant. The relationship you had with your parents when they were your educators, protectors and the focus of most of your affection gradually shifts. In some areas you may become more experienced, knowledgeable, evolved or abundant than they are. If parents are not willing to grow and change at a similar rate to their children, tension can ensue.

Within your romantic relationship your self confidence may increase or your salary (and level of self sufficiency) may change. Would this prompt you to reassess your status and the balance of power between you and your partner?

The inherent risk here is that when they recognise your increased status or “success”, the other party in your relationship may feel threatened. Their immediate response to the change in your dynamic might be to assume that for you to be more, they need to be less.

But this isn’t the case. A relationship isn’t a zero sum equation, but rather an investment. An investment in a partnership. When either of the partners appreciates in value, the value of the partnership increases as a whole.

With this mindset we can comfortably encourage each other to grow rather than constrain ourselves, our colleagues, our family and our children to maintain the status quo for fear of what the change might bring.

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