The term “emotional bank account” is probably what you will see mentioned in the book The 7 habits of highly effective people. While the concept behind the term is fairly common knowledge, the term makes a great analogy when it comes to defining what dictates the strength of the relationships you have in your life.
The emotional bank account is something every person should be cognizant of in their lives. You can essentially look at every relationship you have in terms of the emotional bank account. With every person you share a relationship with and invest time towards, you have an emotional bank account. Like any other traditional bank account, you are able to make deposits and withdrawals. The difference here being that the deposits and withdrawals are in the form of emotional transaction.
Every time you do something favorable for someone, which make them see you in a positive light, you make a deposit. On the contrary, every time you do something that negatively impacts the way another person sees you, you make a withdrawal. The key to a healthy relationship, as you may have noticed, boils down to maintaining a positive balance within that bank account.
But how can you effectively use the emotional bank account to foster meaningful and strong relationships. Don’t despair, read on:
Know when to stop making deposits
Before we delve into not being selfish in a relationship; lets first talk about be overly giving. Sometimes a relationship could be one sided i.e. you give and give but never get any deposits into your bank account. In cases like this it helps to weigh up the situation; and decide if such a relationship is worthwhile pursuing. Sometimes you just need to call it quits and choose the people you spend your time with wisely. Life is too short to spend it on people that don’t add any significant value to your life.
Are withdrawals necessary
Sometimes in life, conflict and disagreements are inevitable; however other times it could be avoided with some tactful discipline. The emotional bank account is like any other investment; small periodic deductions can eventually blow up into full hatred and a failed relationship. Therefore the key is to choose your battles wisely. Is fighting over something really going to bring your satisfaction? Is a joke on another person’s expense really worth the hurt you impose on them? In most, cases you will be surprised at how much nicer you could be towards others if you just tried a little harder.
How to fix the emotional bank account that is broken
The broken emotional bank account is probably the most difficult to overcome. Consider this scenario in terms of a real financial investment. The negative surplus in you bank account is representative of a broken emotional bank account; AKA a relationship in dire straits. If you were to nurture a negative surplus bank account back to good health; you would first need to pay off the deficit while fighting the building interest. In the same way a broken relationship requires you to build a good repertoire with a person, who clearly doesn’t like you.
The growing interest to overcome here is the past memories you instilled in them; which gave them a negative impression of you. Despite the barrier, it can be done if you really want the relationship to work. However, to do this means approaching the relationship the same way is never going to work. You can’t expect be a wild spender and still have money in your bank account. The key is to change your behavior, be more cognizant and communicate openly. Eventually, after several incidents in which you have showed the other person how much you changed; you will slowly start to see the positive vibe being returned to you.
As you can see, the emotional bank account is a great way to simply represent the status of your relationships. It goes without saying that you should always treat people the way you would like to be treated; and in this case the emotional bank account is one of the predominant reasons why.