“(Abrams asked Jane Goodall) if, from what she had seen, she believed humans tended more toward good or evil. She responded that they have equal capacity for both. “The environment we create will determine what prevails,” she told him. “In other words, what we nurture and encourage wins.”
- From a Time Magazine article about Jane Goodall
The importance of environment
I sometimes talk with couples about the importance of the ‘relationship environment.’ In doing so, I’m advocating for a healthy set of interactions in which each partner contributes their ‘best self.’ Goodall’s quote underlines why this is so important. What we nurture wins.
If you set up an environment that is full of lies, conflict and resentment, then that is what will grow and take over. If you set up an environment of curiosity and openness, then you will provide the opportunity for good things to happen.
We each contribute to the relationship environment. It’s why I encourage people to focus on what they have control over - themselves – nurturing and contributing their ‘best selves’ to the relationship…whatever that best self looks like. Since you cannot change your partner, being and living as that best self creates the greatest impact on your relationship.
Maybe your partner won’t join in that effort and never gets there. But at least you will know that you did your personal best, were the person you wanted to be and who lived in alignment with your values. And, at that point, you can make a judgment about continuing in the environment you have, or moving on.
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