First published in 1989, Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was life-changing for me in many ways. I especially appreciated the concept of the Emotional Bank Account, even though it technically isn’t one of the “habits”.
Throughout my life, this simple idea of relationship “deposits” and “withdrawals” has helped me monitor the way I interact with others to ensure that my interpersonal “ledger sheet” is just as healthy as my financial one.
Not too long ago, there was a situation in my household where one of my children fibbed to me prior to bedtime. The next day, after discovering the truth of the situation, I found myself ever-so-slightly less trusting of answers being given from said child. I was shocked at my hasty conclusion– surely one fib does not a liar make! Luckily, I was able to recall the Emotional Bank Account and use the simple analogy to help the fibber understand that there had been a decrease in our Mother/Child trust account.
Yes, the “withdrawal” in the example above was small, but it reminded me how quickly our interpersonal resources can be ...