Embracing Balance and Change: Debunking the 50/50 Myth and Nurturing Communication in Relationships
At our The Boardroom event in June, we dug deep into figuring out the stuckness holding people back – so they can thrive forward.
Time and time again, relationships can be a sticking point with your significant others and across the board.
One of the concepts I love to help and support people on this is sharing Brené Brown’s work on the 50/50 myth.
In relationships, achieving balance and fostering growth is a constant pursuit. Many of us are influenced by the popular notion of the 50/50 myth.
This “myth” suggests that relationships should be an equal give-and-take, with both partners contributing equally. However, renowned researcher Brené Brown challenges this idea and offers insights into energy limitations in relationships.
The concept of the 50/50 myth delves into the constraints of energy and discusses effective communication strategies to bring balance and change into our relationships.
Debunking the 50/50 Myth:
The 50/50 myth can create unrealistic expectations in relationships. It assumes that each partner’s contribution should be evenly divided.
It often leads to an imbalance when one person cannot give their 50% due to personal circumstances, emotional struggles, or life challenges.
This rigid perspective needs to acknowledge that relationships are dynamic, and the energy invested by each partner may ebb and flow over time.
Instead of focusing on equal division, we should aim for a more flexible understanding of balance.
Understanding the Limitations of Energy:
Human beings have finite energy reserves. We constantly navigate multiple responsibilities, such as work, family, personal growth, and self-care. Acknowledging that our energy is not limitless allows us to prioritise and make intentional choices in allocating it. By recognising our limitations, we can prevent burnout and create space for personal well-being while also nurturing our relationships.
Effective Communication for Balance and Change:
Starting with open and honest dialogue – is not always easy and takes consistent practice. Initiate a sincere conversation with your significant other about the concept of the 50/50 myth and the limitations of energy. Share Brené Brown’s insights and invite them to explore alternative perspectives on balance and contribution in your relationship.
Do you understand individual needs – where are you each at? Encourage open discussion about each other’s needs, aspirations, and personal challenges. Recognise that there will be times when one partner might require more support, understanding, or space. You can build a foundation of empathy and compassion by being attuned to each other’s needs.
Flexibility and adaptability – a reminder that this is a two-way street. Embrace the ebb and flow of energy in your relationship. Some days, one partner may be capable of giving more, while on other days, it might be the other way around. Being adaptable and understanding during these fluctuations will help maintain harmony and prevent unnecessary strain.
Mutual support – I support and recognise your needs and vice versa. Cultivate an environment of mutual support and encouragement. Instead of focusing on a fixed division of labour, emphasise teamwork and collaboration. When one partner is experiencing a temporary energy deficit, the other can step in with compassion and understanding, ensuring that the relationship remains a source of comfort and strength for both.
Self-Care and boundaries – Remind yourself to be your own number one. Advocate for self-care and establish healthy boundaries. Encourage your partner to prioritise their well-being and communicate your needs. By taking care of yourselves individually, you will have more energy to invest in the relationship as a whole.
Shattering the 50/50 myth and recognising energy limitations in relationships allows us to embrace balance and change more effectively. We can create an environment that nurtures growth and harmony by engaging in open and honest communication, understanding individual needs, and fostering flexibility and adaptability.
Remember, relationships are not about rigid divisions; they are about the ebb and flow of energy, supporting each other through various seasons of life.
So, let us embrace the beauty of imperfection, celebrate the journey of growth, and foster genuine connections that flourish amidst change.
Go here to listen to Brené’s podcast about the 50/50 myth.