The A to Z Guide to Life - Letter 'E' Monday January 4, 2016
'E' is for 'Emotional Bank Account'. It is also for 'Expectation' and sense of 'Entitlement'.
Last year was one of big learning for me. Especially in relationships. As a giver, I find many people are happy to take (some even say, "thank you!") but few are happy to give back when you ask for help beyond the trivial level. This is startlingly different in the Moodscope community where giving is the rule.
So how are we to deal with those outside the community who haven't learned the joy of giving?
Well, we need to gently teach them about accountancy, book-keeping and banking! How exciting is that? You see, we all keep emotional bank accounts. The research I've read differs from study to study but as a generalisation, young children receive 432 negative comments to every 32 positive ones. Another study clocked up 2000 compliance 'requests' in one day! If that was a shoulder see-saw, you can imagine children growing up with a chip on the shoulder!
If it happened for just one year, the maths is staggering: 157,680 negatives to 11,680 positives. Stick a £ sign on the beginning and you're heading for bankruptcy in a hurry. No wonder we all have a few issues.
This explains one of the most bemusing aspects of relationships – why we sometimes get a negative response from those we are kind to. Imagine they have an emotional bank account that is so far in the red that it will take a lot of positivity to rebalance the books.
Those of us who have ever had a rescue cat or dog can see this in their behaviour. They may take a while to fully trust us, but once they do, they bond for life. However, that trust is often not extended to others. It's like they keep multiple accounts!
So, what am I saying?
Firstly, that we should be gentle with ourselves. It is highly likely that there is a huge deficit in our emotional bank accounts.
Secondly, that we should not be surprised when not everyone responds positively to our own positive overtures. They may be so in debt, it will take a long time to bring them back up.
Thirdly, that we sometimes need to have difficult conversations with 'friends'. Those who 'expect' to draw from emotional bank accounts into which they have deposited very little. They have a false sense of entitlement. All relationships are a trade and if the partners are unequally yoked (as it says in the Good Book!) there comes a time where we have to say, "If you want something from me – emotionally or otherwise – you need to put something in." This is the state of mature relationships – give and take.
As we move into a New Year, I've let some 'friends' go. The door is always open for them to come back – and to make some emotional contribution to the relationship. For my part, I am committed to being generous in the deposits I intend to make in the emotional bank accounts of my friends and family this year.
Happy New Year and I wish you emotionally satisfying friendships!
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.