Relationships can be complicated but the breakdown of their success is really quite simple.
Relationships built on mutual values and goals, work. Both parties feel a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. When there is no sense of shared values and goals, the individuals begin to feel disconnected and confused about their purpose which often leads to the relationship falling apart.
So how do you establish mutual values and goals?
Through clear communication that allows for give and take, enabling you to build the trust that every relationship needs.
Clear communication rules include:
Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.
Praise in public, criticize in private.
Don’t bully people into agreeing with you.
Respect the other’s opinion.
When we focus on the goals of the relationship as a whole, and they align with the goals of each individual that’s a party to the relationship, success inevitably follows.
I think it’s extremely important to have guiding principles in various areas of your life. Such principles keep you grounded and help you to see the bigger picture when it’s so much easier to get caught up in the small stuff. I decided to share with you my top 10 relationship principles. You can read them below. These relationship principles simply serve as grounding reference points in my day to day life. Also, one should note, they aren’t specific to romantic relationships. I try to implement these principles in all of my interactions, across a variety of relationships.
What are your relationship principles? Let me know in the comments section below!
- Be honest and direct in your communication. You’ll be amazed at how many problems you can avoid by being direct and honest in your communication.
- Show vulnerability. Don’t try to be perfect; it’s isolating.
- Be clear about what you need and ask for what you want. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t expect them to be.
- Be grateful. Appreciate how this person adds to your life. What if she/he were to disappear tomorrow?
- Remember that what the other person thinks, feels, and does isn’t any of your business. Your business is what you think, feel, and do as it pertains to him/her.
- If there’s an elephant in the room, point it out. The sooner, the better.
- Keep your humor. Life’s not that serious.
- Listen more, talk less. Other people are our greatest teachers when we allow them to be. We weren’t given two ears and one mouth for nothing!
- Prioritize the relationship needs over your own. Don’t forget that there are three parties to every relationship. You, the other person, and the relationship itself!
- BE PRESENT! Probably the most important one of all. How can you experience the joy of true connection if your mind, body, and/or spirit is elsewhere?
“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices.
If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes, or you can say no – whatever you choose – without guilt or self-judgment. You can choose to follow your heart always.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her.
Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want.
You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
I’ve always been fascinated by the phrase, “You train people how to treat you.” While I understand it’s base concept (people will do to you what you allow), I’ve always wished for someone to delve deeper into this topic and to really hash out the details of it with me.
Today, that’s what I’m going to do for you, after having an epiphany about the subject last night while playing with my dog. (Dogs are great examples of the base line of emotions and thought processes from which we operate, by the way… 🙂
For such complicated subject matter, it’s really quite simple.
Reward behavior that you like and don’t reward behavior that you don’t like it.
Got it? Good.
Just kidding… I told you I would dive deeper…
- Reward behavior that you like. Reward it with what I call “The Three A’s”: attention, affection, and appreciation.
- Behavior that you don’t like, don’t reward. I.e. Don’t pay any particular attention to it. This goes for negative or positive attention. The key here is no attention at all. Just let it lie and see how the other person responds. Perhaps, they’ll bring it up on their own volition.
- If the behavior which you don’t like continues despite your lack of reward, then distance yourself. Remember, you’re not trying to prove to this person that you’re lovable. You already know this to be true and so do they, as they’ve clearly chosen to spend their time with you. Instead, your main goal early on is to determine whether or not this person is worthy of your heart. I can assure you, you won’t be able to change them.
The reason this is key early on, is because everyone puts their best foot forward in the beginning. And if behavior that you don’t like is happening in the beginning, it’s likely to continue later on as things progress. And don’t fool yourself, honey, you can’t change people.
So to break it down…
Observe the other person’s behavior, provide feedback (i.e. reward vs no reward), and then make your choice from a rational place (before said place becomes too muddled by emotions).
That’s it! Wham!
Keep these things in mind and surely you’ll be on your way to making wiser relationship choices in no time!
“In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else.
If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate endlessly.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
“When we value ‘being cool’ and ‘in control’ over granting ourselves the freedom to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves.
When we consistently betray ourselves, we can expect to do the same to the people we love. When we don’t give ourselves the permission to be free, we rarely tolerate freedom in others.”
Contrary to popular belief, I actually think that our generation takes dating too seriously. I mean, think about the purpose of dating. We date someone to figure out if he/she is “The One”. This is everyone’s end goal, right?
I think the problem with today’s relationships comes when we begin assuming that our partner is “The One”. This is when “love is blind” and a whole myriad of other problems come into play. Some people have developed a fear of commitment because the pressure on today’s relationships is so high. Other people will stay in relationships they don’t like just because they’ve spent such and such amount of years together. Too many people miss out on great opportunities and too many others hang on long after they should let go.
If we meet someone we’re interested in, start dating, and decide we want a relationship with that person, perhaps we shouldn’t look at it as though we’re committing to that person but rather that we’re committing to find out if that person is the one. And if weeks, months, or even years down the road, we figure out that he/she is not, we shouldn’t be ashamed to leave.
Our breakups aren’t failures, they’re stepping stones. Our exes aren’t wastes of time, they’re teachers. And every person you don’t end up with brings you that much closer to the one with whom you will.
I think if we went into relationships with this mindset, things would go a lot smoother. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not married, you’re single. And while right now, it’s not that serious, one day it might be…so date wisely 🙂
How long will you let this continue?
Or is the fault on me?
Lost and wondering, hopeful pondering
‘Tis the life I lead.
I wait for you and I wait some more
to hear your howling outside my door
But silence pierces through the room
And all I have are thoughts of you.
Angst and doubts
I feel us slipping.
What’s it I’m missing?
Weren’t we just kissing?
Where’s the knot?
While I’m holding on to it
You seem to be letting go
as we both wait to see
who breaks the rope.
I’ve never known a love like this. It’s foreign to me. But I do know that I wrote songs about you long before we ever met…