The Emotional Bank Account

My take from the book The 7 habits of highly effective people, part 3 introduction: Emotional bank account.

Good morning! How are you doing today? I’m trying to be productive yet mindful. So far im doing okay, except for the stiff neck and headache. Maybe some yoga followed by a healthy breakfast will help?

I’m currently reading “Further along the road less traveled” and “The 7 habits of highly effective people” simultaneously. I’m also devouring novel after novel on Google Play Books. Now, why would I read 2 self-help books at the same time? I usually read a self-help book and a novel to balance the heaviness, but I’ve been having problems with friendships and with my relationship with my son, husband, and siblings. I’m starting to think that maybe im the problem.

So instead of going down a rabbit hole of self-loathing, or rather after going down that hole and ending up lost, scared, and confused like Alice in wonderland, I decided to do some soul searching.

“Further along the road less traveled” focuses on pain and forgiveness, but that’s another post for another time. Today I want to explain to you about the Emotional Bank Account, from the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, Part 3 (Public Victory: Paradigms of interdependence), which I found rather intriguing. I even made a mind map as I was reading this part.

An Emotional bank account is a metaphor for the amount of trust built up in a relationship. When the trust is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective. When the trust is low, tension is high, which initiates a fight or flight response, ending in a cold war.

To build and maintain trust in a relationship, one must make regular deposits into the account. Otherwise, the withdrawals will be too high and the relationship will suffer.

What are the main deposits to put into the emotional bank account?

1. Understanding the individual

Listening without judgment, and doing what they like to bond with them, not do what we like to do.

One person’s mission is another person’s minutiae.

Stephen Covey

2. Attending to the little things

This means treating the other person with kindness and courtesy, from covering them when they’re cold, to brushing their hair, etc.

In relationships, the little things are the big things

Stephen Covey

3. Keeping commitments

How hard is it to trust someone who keeps giving you empty promises? It’s almost impossible. When you break your promises over and over, it makes the other person lose hope in you and not take you seriously.

4. Clarifying expectations

When you are not clear about what you want from the other person, this leads to a lot of misunderstanding on their part and disappointment on your part.

Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of courage. It seems easier to act as though differences don’t exist and to hope things will work out than it is to face the differences and work together to arrive at a mutually agreeable set of expectations.

Stephen Covey

5. Showing personal integrity

It is to hold on to your values even when no one is around. Honesty is a big part of integrity, but it’s not all of it.

Honesty is conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words.

Integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.

Stephen Covey

6. Apologizing sincerely when you make a withdrawal

Admitting you were wrong, holding yourself accountable without projecting or gaslighting, saying the words with kindness and respect. “I’m sorry if you misunderstood me” or “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive” are not sincere apologies. Sorry means I feel bad for what I did. It means I won’t do it again. When actions are repeated, the apologies become empty and meaningless.

Patience

Notice I didn’t number this one? It’s in the book but not spoken of in detail, and it’s not one of the major 6 deposits. Nevertheless, I felt I needed to talk about it because I do all the 6 major deposits with my son and my husband. However, im very impatient. I lose my cool quickly and act very ungraceful when I am wronged because they don’t make any deposits with me. They are just withdrawing from me all the time, and only deposit when im at my wit’s end and im blowing up with rage. Only then do they realize that their emotional bank account with me is empty and they need to pay a few deposits before I file for bankruptcy. However, working on my patience is for me to deal with. I won’t blame them for my impatience. I am clear on what I want. They just don’t want to deliver.

Nurturing

Another thing the author mentioned but didn’t elaborate on, and yet something else that maybe im lacking. I used to view myself as a very tender person, but im not sure anymore. I will try to sprinkle some more TLC on my husband and son. Maybe their flowers will bloom then.

Tenderness

Love

Care

TLC

Acceptance

This is the thing I struggle with the most. I have read time and time again that a person won’t change unless you accept them the way they are, and this is something I have kind of accepted in my family, maybe because I don’t see them much, but with my husband and son, I can’t seem to accept them. I find myself constantly criticizing and condemning. Maybe because I don’t see them accepting me as I am. Maybe because my drive for self-improvement stems from me not accepting myself the way I am. I don’t know…

What are examples of withdrawals?

  1. Mistakes: A mistake is to do something incorrectly; to make an error of some kind.
  2. Threatening: Having a hostile or deliberately frightening quality or manner.
  3. Miscommunication: Failure to communicate adequately.
  4. Controlling behavior: Controlling behavior can include everything from directly telling someone what they can or cannot do to more discreet methods like guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and possessiveness.
  5. Disrespect: Lack of respect or courtesy, such as angry or rude outbursts, verbal threats, swearing, pushing or throwing objects, bullying, and physical harm.
  6. Overreacting: This is defined as reacting in an overly emotional or forceful way. An example of overreacting is someone crying hysterically after accidentally killing an ant.
  7. Ignoring: To ignore someone is to refuse to take notice of or acknowledge them; to disregard them intentionally.
What is the state of your emotional bank account with others? Are you withdrawing too much or are you depositing enough?
What about the state of other people’s bank accounts with you? Are certain people always withdrawing from their account with you but never depositing? Or do you have relationships with a healthy amount of deposits and withdrawals?

3 responses to “The Emotional Bank Account”

  1. I enjoyed this post. I’m going to have to reread “7 Habits,” though you did an excellent job summarizing the emotional bank account. I think many of the issues in my relationships relate to this, thanks for pointing me in a direction ☺️
    Don’t put this list on your son, however. It’s not appropriate to expect from children what we expect from an adult. Our relationships with our children aren’t mutualistic, at least when they’re small. Most of the work falls to us and the teaching and love we bring. There’s a “7 Habits” book about raising kids I found good. And one for when they turn into teens. Yikes!
    Finally, a reminder to not be too hard on yourself or ask too much. I think one self-help book at a time is fine. Too much of even a good thing can be a problem.
    Sorry for the mini-lecture πŸ˜ŠπŸ’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! You’re right. I shouldn’t put too many expectations on my son. He is only 7. I will look up 7 habits for kids, though I have a lot of parenting books on my tbr list. I think you’re right. 2 self help books are too heavy. I will put the “further along the road less travelled” on pause until I finish habit 4 of “the 7 habits” and then go back to it. 7 habits is a heavy book and it can’t be read from cover to cover from the 1st time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a heavy book! I’d forgotten that until I picked it up again. πŸ’–

        Liked by 1 person

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