Synergy is a funny thing. It basically says that “1+1=3”. How can this be? Well, simply put, synergy is the observation that two agents combined produce greater results than could be obtained by those same agents separately. Let’s say you wanted to plant a garden but there was a huge boulder in the center of your selected location. All you have on hand is one match and one stick of dynamite.
Now, individually, you could first throw the lit match at the boulder hoping to push it from its spot. I doubt you’d make much progress. Next you could throw the stick of dynamite at the boulder and hope once again, to little or no effect. Or you could combine the two by sticking the dynamite into a crevice under the boulder, light the fuse with the match and then.. run! The combined effect of the two agents produces results much greater than either could individually. This is a noted effect in chemicals and other processes as well.
Somewhere, I don’t remember where but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were on the inside of a greeting card, I read the following quotation, “I love you not only for who you are, but for who I am when I’m with you.” Something happens when we are close to someone, for better or worse, and that something is called ‘synergy’.
My Gramma used to warn my Mom as a teenager, “Be careful who you choose for friends. Because the way they are is the way you will become.” The people we spend time with do seem to bring out different sides of our character. And sometimes to our own surprise. I was thinking back on the distinct relationships I’ve had in my life and it was easy to see how I was not quite the same person with each of them. With one I tended to be more ambitious, fatherly, and adventurous. Another brought out the mischievous, romantic, playful side of me. And yet another brought out the giving, communicating, stern side of my character.
Not only do certain people we fall in love with bring out certain sides of our personality, but they also make us feel a certain ‘way’ just by their natural character and demeanor. A lady friend recently told me her boyfriend makes her feel so ‘relaxed’ when she’s with him. Not every man she knows makes her feel this way. Some women, with certain men, can bring out the ambitious, hopeful, creative, passionate or responsible side of that particular man. Certain men, on the other hand, make particular women feel secure, cared for, loved, safe, or bring out their tenderness, courage, tactfulness, affection, etc. Yet the funny thing is that the same man will not necessarily make all women feel that way. One man’s welcomed mischievousness is embraced and encouraged by one woman and yet that same playfulness is the thorn that drives another woman up the walls. One woman’s directness inspires one man to greatness while driving another man to feel nagged or bothered.
I wish I’d been thinking along these lines when I was speaking with a woman several weeks ago who finds herself giving her devoted love to a man who less than appreciates her devotion by the way he mistreats her. Looking at it now, I’d have to say that much of her focus is on how well she can treat him in the hopes that it will make -him- a better person. But what is being overlooked is the person -she- has become by pursuing this relationship. Unfortunately, from an objective viewpoint several people commented that her kindnesses are being abused to the degree that she is not much more than a ‘doormat’ when with him, whereas away from him.. at her workplace, she is a professional woman who carries out her duties in a manner that is far more self-respecting of her personal worth as an individual. And so it is that the changes brought out by others are not always positive.
I think I’ll be paying more attention to this the next time I get involved in a relationship. “How do I feel when I’m with this person?”, “What side of my character does this person bring out?” and “Are these changes positive or negative to being the person I aspire to be?”. C.S. Lewis, a favorite author of mine, once commented, “Friendship tends to make good men better and bad men worse.” I suppose that all hinges on who we choose for friends, as my Gramma would no doubt add. So it would seem even all the more important to take note of what effects our prospective mate has on our life for, of all the people we meet, they are to be the closest, most intimate friend we will ever bring into our lives.
by Henry Velez
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Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.