Wanting to improve your self-image is a frequent desire. Humans have a basic urge to learn, develop, and get better, which psychologists refer to as self-expansion.
This need is similar to the needs to eat, drink, and stay safe.
Think about your preferred pastimes. Reading a book, spending time in nature, volunteering with a new group, taking a class, traveling, trying a new restaurant, working out, or watching a documentary are all things that can help a person grow. These encounters give rise to fresh knowledge, abilities, viewpoints, and identities. Your expertise and capacities will improve as you grow as a person, which will raise your capacity to take on new tasks and achieve new objectives.
Of course, you can expand your horizons on your own by engaging in novel and exciting activities, picking up new knowledge, or honing a skill. Interestingly, though, romantic connections can also be a significant factor in a person's development.
Strengthening your union
Spending time with a loving partner is delightful and falling in love feels nice, but there are deeper advantages to love. People frequently value partners who push them to improve as individuals.
Sharing in your partner's special interests and abilities is one strategy to maximize self-growth in your relationship. Partners combine their self-concepts and incorporate the other in the self when "me" becomes "us." Because of this blending, partners are somewhat encouraged to adopt each other's traits, interests, and skills. The life experiences, knowledge bases, viewpoints, and talents of romantic partners will undoubtedly differ. There is room for improvement in every area.
If your partner, for instance, is funnier than you, chances are that over time, you will be funnier, also. Your ability to put together a room will advance if they have an eye for interior design. You will gain new insights and a greater understanding of these subjects as a result of your partner's divergent opinions on politics, religion, and climate change. You improve as a person because of your relationship.
This is not to argue that people should attempt to entirely blend because they run the risk of losing who they are. Instead, each person can preserve their unique identities while enhancing them with positive traits from their relationship.
What more or less means for a relationship
The evidence from research is overwhelming that more self-expansive spouses have happier relationships. Particularly, those who report higher levels of self-expansion in their relationships also express higher levels of ardent love, relationship satisfaction, and commitment. Additionally, it's linked to increased sexual desire, increased physical affection, decreased conflict, and couples who are pleased with their sex lives.
Participants report feeling like they have lost a piece of themselves when developing relationships stop since self-expansion is so important. Importantly, people grow and feel happy emotions when less-expanding relationships end.
It may seem as though a relationship is caught in a rut when it doesn't offer enough room for growth. Consequences result from that stale mood. According to research, married couples who at one point in their relationship expressed more boredom also reported decreased marital happiness nine years later. Inadequate relationship self-expansion also increases one's vulnerability to cheating on one's spouse, diminishes sexual desire, and increases the risk of a breakup. It also encourages people to have more of a wandering eye and pay more attention to potential mates.
So what defines a great relationship? While there are numerous things to think about, one merits more consideration: how much it advances your growth. A relationship that encourages self-expansion can inspire you to become a better person, as well as help you learn more, develop your abilities, and extend your ideas.