Monthly Archives: September 2012
You have two choices in a relationship, you can either be right, or be happy. Very rarely can you be both. Here are the next relationship assassins – Mr and Mr’s Right. The need to be right has laid waste to many promising relationships, as it is a narcotic for the ego. So addictive is this drug that people will completely destroy a relationship in order to get it. So eager are we to be right that we will pursue this aim with little thought to the consequences.
Dr James Dobson, the well known therapist, stated that in a relationship you should always defend the relationship before your need to be right. To lay down arms and let go of that need can feel like death though. Sometime we think that being right is all we have, which of course is not the truth. There is only one result that stems from an insistence on being right and that is resentment. It doesn’t get us the respect we think we deserve for our cleverness.
What we fail to realise is that our knowing is just based on the information we have, and from that place we claim we are right. The other person, based on the information they have is also right. For this reason we cannot ever tell anyone they are wrong, but rather allow them the space to learn and grow. You cannot change an opinion with force or reason, but with information. Can you really be 100% sure that you are in the right though? Think about it.
Let’s face it, when it comes to a relationship who cares who is right? As long as the relationship is growing in a healthy way then it really doesn’t matter. Often, the need to be right is symptomatic of much deeper problems in the relationship. Insisting on being right will be the death-blow and you will notice that the more you insist on being right, the more your partner will avoid you. While you are busy being right, they are feeling unheard and disrespected. So when it comes to relational happiness, put the relationship before your need to be right.
For relationship first aid go to www.imagineif.co.za
Time after time I get clients who feel like the world was made so that they have a place to go to let people walk all over them. Do you feel taken advantage of? Pushed around? Spread too thin? Sadly, for most people, this is a way of life. The truth is that no one mistreats you unless you allow them to.
People aren’t really evil; they simply do what they think they need to do in order to succeed and if that includes walking over you, and you let them, they will. Most people don’t even realise they are doing any harm, and they certainly don’t intend to. Good fences make good neighbours, so the saying goes, and the truth is that if you don’t have clearly defined boundaries, you will get walked over. Everyone I know who complains about getting trodden on doesn’t have them.
- Slow it down. I have never personally heard of a traffic accident that involved someone who was relaxed and enjoying the drive. Hurry and haste gets us in hot water because we tend to miss crucial details. No one who takes his/her time to think falls victim to a scam. No one who slows down and thinks things through gets taken advantage of. Smell the roses, enjoy the air, and you will see trouble coming from a mile off.
- The Automatic No. I remember watching “Yes Man” and thinking, “Its saying no that most people struggle with.” Saying yes to everything paints a red target on you and practically begs for abuse. There are all kinds of fears that come with saying no, but I have come up with a way to say no that will actually get some respect. You see it’s never the “Just think about it” things that cause us trouble, but the “Give me an answer right now” things. I have noticed with scamsters that they always want the answer now! Usually someone who puts you under pressure to act right away is hiding something from you. Here’s what you do: When someone wants an answer right now, simply say, “If you want an answer right now, then the answer is no. If you are prepared to give me time to think about it, then the answer may be yes.” This usually puts them off, it puts the choice back in their hands. If they want a yes then they need to wait. If they are intent on getting an answer now, then it is simply no. If they still want an answer and give you time to think, decide how long you need to think about it and then give your answer. This brings us to:
- Value for value. Before you agree to anything at all, first think about the value you will receive in return. I am not just talking about money here, but any value, even feeling good. What value can you get helping an old lady cross the road? The value of having done a good deed. When you decide the value, you can decide if the answer will be yes, or if it isn’t going to be worth your while. You usually get the value you decide on; decide that feeling good is enough reward, and you will feel good. Do not cry over the value you have received in return, once you have decided on it then accept it and let it go. If you don’t decide on a value, then you will get what you get.
It all comes down to taking it slow, setting boundaries, and deciding what you want. Slowing down enough to be aware, being in charge of your yes and no, and deciding what you want to get in return for what you are asked to give, will all bring a sense of peace and balance to an out of control life.
Another one of the killers of relationship bliss is familiarity. It seems that over time two people become so used to one another that not only do they take each other for granted, but they even forget that they are two separate people with their own opinions and their own way of doing things.
One of the symptoms of this is when your desires start becoming expectations. In other words, when it was once ok for them to do things their way (you know those little quirks that annoyed you a bit but you lived with them anyway), now you expect them to do things the way YOU want them to be done and it really ticks you off when they don’t.
It is inevitable that you will get “comfortable” in a relationship; it is not that different from that new pair of jeans that you once showed off but now only wear them around the house. I hear it from my clients all the time, “The spark is gone”, but the truth is that is isn’t supposed to stay.
It’s not actually familiarity that kills a relationship; it is what we do with it. Familiarity entices us to forget that we need to be putting work into the relationship. You see, once familiarity kicks in the relationship is no longer self-sustaining and it needs work to keep it going. I think this is the point when most people think it is all over, when the real work begins. Oh shucks, you mean I have to work at this thing? The key is to find a relationship you will be willing to work at. Take my word for it, familiarity WILL kick in……but will it make or break your relationship? Learning how to recognise it and knowing what to do with it will make all the difference.
If you need help make familiarity work for you in your relationship, then go to http://www.imagineif.co.za (and if I am online you can chat with me live!)