“There cannot be a relationship unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is understanding, patience, and persistence.”
It’s easy to make a relationship more difficult than it really is. Angel and I work with coaching clients every day who do just that. But we don’t try to change their relationships, instead we help them change the way they think about their relationships. And that’s precisely what I want to touch on in today’s post.
If you feel like your relationship is sinking, it’s a perfect time to get rid of some thoughts that may be weighing it down.
Here are nine such thoughts to stop thinking, for your relationship’s sake:
1. “My relationship with him/her will solve all MY problems.”
The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself. If you’re not comfortable enough with your own inner truth when entering a relationship, then you’re not ready for that relationship. Because you are incapable of loving another unless you love yourself, just as you are incapable of teaching someone else something unless you yourself understand it.
Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of someone else loving you.
2. “We should be the center of each other’s universe.”
A good relationship happens when two people accept each other’s past, support each other’s present, and encourage each other’s future, without trying to micromanage any of part it. So don’t rush relationships, especially those that feel overbearing. Find a partner, and friends for that matter, who encourage you to grow, who won’t cling to you, who will let you go out into the world, and trust that you will come back. And always pay them the same courtesy. This is what true love and real friendship is all about, and it’s always worth waiting for.
3. “Good relationships are always easygoing.”
Wrong… Good relationships require work. Good relationships require sacrifice and compromise. True love in both dating relationships and marriages are not about being there when it’s convenient, these relationships are about being there when it’s not. Even if you can’t seem to walk that mile in your partner’s shoes, you are still capable of walking beside them to be a supporter until the day they learn to smile again. (Read The Friendship Factor.)
4. “I need to do whatever it takes to be loved.”
Sometimes we try to show the world that we are flawless in hopes that we will be loved and accepted more. But we can’t please the people we love by being someone other than who we are, and we shouldn’t try. Loving someone should not mean losing YOU. True love empowers you, it doesn’t erase you.
The beauty of us lies in our vulnerability, our sincerity, our complex emotions, and our authentic imperfections. When we embrace who we are and decide to be authentic, instead of perfect, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness, and real success. Thus, happy couples accept each other just the way they are. There is no need to put on a mask. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. You are more than enough just by being YOU.
5. “Forgiveness isn’t necessary.”
Whoever said revenge is sweet never tasted the sweetness of forgiveness.
Love is living your own life, but sharing it. And this requires constant forgiveness. It’s making a million mistakes and turning them into learning experiences. Love is patience, optimism, and sometimes it’s a simple hug when there is nothing left to say.
But remember, forgiveness isn’t just for your current happy relationships. You have to forgive your past failed relationships too. Yes, that’s right, you have to forgive them. You don’t have to like them, you don’t have to be friends with them, you don’t have to spend time with them ever again, but you have to forgive – to let go, to let it rest, to let bygones be bygones. By not forgiving you are forcing yourself to carry bricks from your past relationship failures forward with you into all your present and future relationship interactions. And by doing this, you inevitably build the same flawed relationship structures that fell apart before. (Angel and I discuss the process of forgiveness in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. “I don’t have time for them today.”
If you neglect your relationship, your relationship will neglect you too. So realize that today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Be there for the one who matters most. Make a difference. Take time to care. Tell your significant other how special they are. Do something that encourages a smile and a brighter day. By doing so, you will not only help them, you will help yourself too. Because when you seek to inspire happiness in someone close to you, you will not only find it, you will become it.
7. “They should change for me.”
The biggest mistake is believing there is only one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation, or to have a relationship.
The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated as is. Sometimes we try to be sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image of what we want them to be – what we think we need, love, or desire. But these actions and perceptions are against reality, against their benefit and ours, and always end in disappointment – because it does not fit them. The beginning of love is to let those we care about be perfectly themselves, and not to distort them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves that we see in them.
8. “It’s just easier if I keep my feelings to myself right now.”
There is no day but today. Say what you need to say. Share your love openly and honestly with your other half, right now.
Realize that, no matter what, you’re going to lose important people in your life. No matter how much time you spend with someone, or how much you appreciate them, sometimes it will never seem like you had enough time together. So don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Express your love. Tell the one you love what you need to tell them. Don’t shy away from important conversations because you feel awkward or uncomfortable. You never know when you might lose your opportunity for good. (Read The Last Lecture.)
9. “All relationships can and should be fixed and maintained.”
It may sound harsh, but not every couple was meant to be a couple. And that’s OK. It’s always better to be alone with dignity than in a relationship that constantly requires you to sacrifice your happiness and self-respect.
Although not all relationships are meant to be, there are no failed relationships, because every person in your life has a lesson to teach. Sometimes you simply outgrow people. Sometimes you just have to accept it and move on. Do what you can, but don’t kill yourself trying to fix the unfixable.
When someone leaves your life, it’s important to emotionally release them. Know in your heart that it’s not an ending – it’s a new beginning. It just means that their part in your story is over. Your story will go on…
Think about it. How many people don’t get the one they want, but end up with the one they’re supposed to be with?
Good relationships don’t just happen – they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Relationships like this are not just about sharing laughs when times are easy; they’re about the commitment to fight through and overcome all the hard times together too. In the end, happy couples think clearly, collaborate willingly, and don’t let expectations and negativity get in the way of the bond they share.
In your experience, what are some common misunderstandings, or thinking traps, that hurt intimate relationships? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.
Photo by: Y-a-n