Friday, 4 January 2013

Association and Dissociation


Association and dissociation are two terms popular among corporate trainers. I have talked on these terms more than once in motivational programme. During the interactive sessions that usually follow after a speech in motivational seminars, many come forward with doubts about association and dissociation. For all of them and for many others, I would like to note down certain explanations. I intend to add more explanations, in the manner of FAQ to this blog in future. So if you have any questions remaining, regarding these two terms, please write them down in the comment column, below this blog.

I follow the FAQ style to write this blog, though not strictly always. Throughout this blog I have used masculine gender, only for the purpose of ease in writing.

What is association?
The term association is used here not to name a group of people, who have decided to group together.
The term is used in its verbal form, ‘to associate’. To associate does not simply mean to go along with another person or group of persons. Talking to a person in casual a manner, not even expecting him to respond to your satisfaction, is not association. The question, ‘how are you?’ do not imply that you are associating with the questioned. You expect an answer, ‘fine’ or ‘not so bad’ and the like. You may reply ‘glad to hear it’ or ‘I am sorry’. The conversation ends there or some more exchanges may happen. You are taking nothing from him and you are not giving anything.

Association is a relationship in which a ‘give and take happens’.  We give something to the other person and take something from him. It need not be always a voluntary ‘give and take’ action; but it can be a voluntary action too. Most of the time, we are giving something to him without an intention of doing so. We may not be aware of the process. It is like the processes of osmosis. A positive influence passes from us to another person. It happens as he associates with us in a work place, school or college, religious places, family etc. it takes time for the processes to happen. He may take some time to absorb what we emanate.  What he absorbs from us, changes his attitude, beliefs, personality etc.

The same thing happens to us also as we associate with others. We also take something from him.

In association, both ‘give’ and ‘take’ can happen or only ‘give’ or ‘take’ may happen. But one of these two must happen in an association.

With whom do we associate?
With all those people who go through the above said process of ‘give and take’.
Our associate may be our spouse, children, parents, siblings, colleagues, employer, employee, or anybody with whom we spend a considerable length of time.
With whom should we associate is a matter of choice except in certain circumstances where nature plays her part. At the same time, let us not forget that, with an intentional association, we can change ourselves and others.

We can choose your spouse, but not children with pre fixed attributes. Children cannot choose their parents. But we can change our children and parents with association, with the ‘give and take’ process. The principle is applicable to our employer, employee etc.

What if I fail to establish a give and take process with the other person? What if the association is harmful to my life? The answer is the next term ‘dissociate’.

Do not misunderstand me; I am not proposing a break up of family relationships. I love families. Continue to read to get a better concept of the terms.

“Associate” excludes all who does not go through the process of ‘give and take.’ All whom you meet and talk in your everyday life are not you associate. Only those who go through the ‘give and take’ process are your associate.

Not only people, but nature and animals may also be considered for association. Nature may not take anything from you, but you are taking many things from nature. You are inspired by nature must signify that your life is influenced by nature. Nature is always talking. It is always trying to make our life divine. It may be one of the many reasons, why the great hermits in India lived in huts in the midst of thick forests.

Animals are not just ‘beast’.  All of them, I believe have a message for man. Even the fierce animal is narrating an inspirational message to man.

What is dissociation?
It is opposite of ‘to associate’. Dissociation, most of the time, is a voluntary action. Or often, it is advised to dissociate with another person with an intention to better our life. It may happen involuntarily also. But if it happens involuntarily, it has no intended purpose, rather it becomes a chance. Life is left to chances. I do not disagree that chances also has a considerable role in life. My blog about ‘Connecting Links’ is about something that happen by chance. But connecting links are a matter of choice too. It is better to live based on choices rather than chance.  
If some good happen to us by chance, let us accept it and rejoice with it. But do not wait for chance to better your life.

So dissociate by choice.

During the interactive sessions in motivational programme, I had to address a typical question about dissociation.
Can we live in this world without speaking to our neighbor, to people we know, to the employee, the employer etc.
Dissociation does not mean that you should not speak with anybody. Association does not mean talking or travelling or eating with another person. In the same way, dissociation does not mean that you should not speak, travel, and eat etc with any other person.

Let us start with the answer to the question: with whomever should we dissociate?
With all those who emanate negative influences. Let us call them with a simple term ‘negative people’.
Negative people emanate:
Negative thoughts.
Negative attitudes.
Negative concepts.

They respect none, value none, and admire none.
They are thankless, ungracious people.
They are treacherous, cunning, dishonest and ignoble people.

By all these, they try to pull us down.

They are happy to see us in their group. They rejoice seeing us going down. They win when we fail in life. They feel proud of themselves seeing us renouncing all respect for values.

If we ever wish to succeed in our life, we must dissociate with them.
If we wish to prosper in business, career or in any vocation, we must, without any option, dissociate with ‘negative people’.

Can we dissociate with our wife, children, parents, employer, employee etc. if they are ‘negative people’? Does it not end in family breakdown, career collapse?

Association and dissociation are not just physical processes. They are, in most cases, a psychological action. Dissociation is a psychological action from our part. It is a matter of attitude.

Dissociate with ideas, not people. This dictum often works. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, is a Biblical advice. The same principle is applicable here too. I may say, “Interact with negative people, but never communicate with them.” Interacting and communicating are two different things.

Physical dissociation becomes a must when the psychological dissociation fails to resist negative ideas. A change with business partners, dealers, co workers, employer, employees etc. will be the need of the hour.

I do not appreciate dissociation with our family. Acceptance is the best policy to sustain family relationships. Acceptance is to be practiced in family rather than adjustments. A family is a given circumstance in which you have to live to success. But at the same time, a psychological dissociation without harming the family relationship is recommended. After all, once you are a success in life, your family will ‘associate’ with you. They will start to ‘take’ the positive influence from you. From the day they ‘take’ the positive influence from you, they are associating with you; that cancels all questions of dissociation.

Further readings:
Connecting Links
Adjustment and Acceptance


Prof. Jacob Abraham

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