Making Hypotheses About Others

The way the brain works is this: We make a hypothesis about someone, and then our brain searches for information to verify our hypothesis.

For example, if we decide that someone is untrustworthy, our brain will find information to support that belief. In other words, we actively make our beliefs true.

If instead, we choose to believe that this same person is a flawed but good human being who is simply doing their best, we may find proof to back it up.

Be mindful of the hypotheses you’re making.

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A Breakdown of Relationships

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 Hope You Find Someone Who Fills Your Heart…

“I hope you find someone who fills your heart and I hope you let them in. I hope you learn that you don’t have to achieve anything to be happy.”

This is a quote from the movie, Passengers and it’s stuck with me ever since I first heard it. So much so, that I actually wrote it on top of my calendar for the year 2017, in order that I could be reminded of it each day. And what a blessing that has been!

For a lot of us, this quote hits close to home. So let’s break it down.

How do you know when you’ve found someone who fills your heart?

So you’ve met someone new and you’re totally infatuated with that person. During the dating process, you often find yourself thinking, “If only I act just a bit more _____, we’ll be perfect.” Or “I just need to _____ less, and I know (s)he’ll be totally crazy for me.” If this rings true, he/she’s probably not the one who fills your heart.

Any time another person makes you feel as though you need to do or be anything more or less than what you already are, they’re not right for you. Plain and simple. It’s nothing personal and this can be a hard lesson to learn.

When you find the one who fills your heart, it’s easy. It’s natural. You feel safe and secure. Like nothing you could ever do or say would change things between you. Because (s)he knows your flaws. (S)He acknowledges them, then accepts, and even embraces them. (S)He pushes you to grow in your weak areas but (s)he never causes you to doubt her/his adoration for who you are, flawed and all. Not once do the earlier thoughts of, “I just need to do this, and all will be well,” cross your mind.

All that you are and all that you do is totally and completely enough for this person.

And he/she makes that known.

Now on to the next part of the quote, “…and I hope you let them in.”

For some of us, with a string of past relationship failures, when we find that someone who fills our heart, letting them in is often the most difficult part. “How can he/she love me when I act like ______?” “Why would he/she want to be with someone who _____?”

Thoughts of self doubt ring most true when we find someone who fills our heart. Because it’s hard to believe. We’ve met someone who accepts and adores us so purely and wholly. Someone who wants nothing from us but to receive their love. This kind of interaction is life changing and mind blowing. And it’s common to have a hard time believing in its possibility.

But it happens. So believe it when it does. And let that person in.

Which brings us to the final portion of this powerful quote.

“I hope you learn that you don’t have to achieve anything to be happy.”

That person we’ve described above is how you learn. Once you’ve let them in and embraced the love that they’re offering, you realize what life’s about. That you don’t need to acheive anything to be happy. That to love and be loved is enough. In fact, it’s our whole purpose.

Letting Go

Letting go of an ambiguous loss is often the most challenging and important task we face.

At some point in our lives, we all experience it. Someone important to us isn’t willing to talk. Maybe we need to talk, but the other person needs not to. The more history involved and the higher our expectations for that relationship, the more painful their silence.

Painful events happen to all us. But our real problems arise when we attach to that pain.

Often we have this fantasy that somehow by holding on to our anger, the other person will magically decide to apologize and/or come back. As long as we hold on to our anger, we hold on to our hope. Or so we think.

But while you’re sitting there ruminating, the person in question may very well be out having a wonderful day at the lake. The simple fact that you’re the only one suffering, should be your own best argument for letting go.

Negative attachment is still attachment.

Anger is often the glue that keeps us stuck, expressed as an ongoing obsession about “why” this person has wronged us. It’s human nature to want to understand behavior. But the fact is, it’s hard enough to understand our own, let alone somebody else’s. And we simply can’t force another person to talk to us or own up to “the truth” as we see it.

Sometimes we just have to let go.

A sad ending doesn’t negate the value of a relationship. And while it takes two people to form an intimate relationship, it only takes one to end it.

We have to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.

It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

My Top 10 Relationship Principles

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!

  1. 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.
  2. Show vulnerability. Don’t try to be perfect; it’s isolating.
  3. Be clear about what you need and ask for what you want. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t expect them to be.
  4. Be grateful. Appreciate how this person adds to your life. What if she/he were to disappear tomorrow?
  5. 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. 
  6. If there’s an elephant in the room, point it out. The sooner, the better.
  7. Keep your humor. Life’s not that serious.
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. 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?

Hard to Love

Stay away from people who make you feel you’re hard to love.

Surround yourself with people who remind you just how lovable you really are.

Interpersonal Issues

relationship issues
It’s easy when we’re having interpersonal problems (and how often are our problems not interpersonal?!) to look for someone to blame.

Sometimes we blame ourselves and nearly drown in guilt that may or may not be warranted. Sometimes we blame the other person, searching for flaws, being quick to point out what we find, and often creating an even bigger issue than the original one.

But what if we took a new approach to our many interpersonal issues? What if we stopped brooding over them and instead began to praise God for them?

Interpersonal issues reveal our weak spots, as well as our strengths. They present an opportunity to pause in awe of the delicate patterns which God has woven into our very existence. They ask us to look with wonder at the detail with which each person is carefully crafted; differences, imperfections, all of it.

Rather than trying to “fix” each other, we can instead marvel at just how complicated a species we are, and praise God because He is good and gives us grace.

Why You Shouldn’t Lose Yourself in a Relationship

losing Yourself
What’s up with this idea of losing yourself in a relationship somehow being romantic?

We hear it in song lyrics, see it on television shows, and even read about it in magazines and on dating websites. For some reason, the idea is romanticized, but this really bothers me.

I mean, I understand how it happens… You get so comfortable with another person, feel so safe with them, it can be consuming. I get it.

Sometimes, even, we can become so concerned with the other person that we forget about ourselves. And as a result, we stop voicing our opinions, become excessively agreeable, and ultimately, as a person, we disappear.

But that’s not romantic. That’s lazy.

We have to keep in mind that our partner initially chose us because of who we are, what we bring to the table, and how we add to the relationship/his or her life.

The bottom line is that a relationship takes two people and if we don’t show up, we’re undermining the very purpose of it.

Walking Away

“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

Missing You (A Poem)

I miss you my dear
I’m happiest here
In your arms
In your heart
In your mind

I can feel your warmth
Across miles of road
And in the end
I know we’ll be just fine.