Save Relationships By Giving Up

wave-goodbyeIn our cul­ture to give up means to sur­ren­der your hope, to stop pur­su­ing your dream to stop doing what you want to do due to obsta­cles and so on. In other words “giv­ing up” has a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion which some­how defines our char­ac­ter as weak, not trust­wor­thy, unre­li­able etc. In the con­text of giv­ing up what we want to do, what we promised, or what is expected of us to do in order to pre­serve our integrity (see “ON INTEGRITY”), to give up does not obvi­ously serve us. What I would like to draw your atten­tion to is a dif­fer­ent con­text in which “giv­ing up” may be very ben­e­fi­cial to our san­ity, good rela­tion­ships, and the rate of our growth as human beings.

You’ve prob­a­bly already guessed: giv­ing up what does not serve us indeed may be ben­e­fi­cial to the hap­pi­ness we expe­ri­ence in our lives. The ques­tion is how do we know what to give up. If it is so obvi­ous that I am repeat­edly doing what does not make me, or oth­ers around me happy, how come that I still keep doing those things that I “know” do not work. Let me sug­gest that that you may very well NOT know that what you keep doing does not work. It is very hard to see. For exam­ple think about your insis­tence of being right, or jus­ti­fy­ing your actions although you know that you made a mis­take. Surely you gain some­thing by:

•    Being right /making oth­ers wrong
•    Jus­ti­fy­ing your­self / inval­i­dat­ing oth­ers
•    Dom­i­nat­ing oth­ers / avoid being dom­i­nated
•    Avoid tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for some­thing
•    Avoid being at risks (I do not mean a saber-tooth tiger, but some­thing like a conversation)

This is what we call a “pay-off”.

Now I want to think about what your pay of costs you. Let me sug­gest. How about:

•    Love / inti­macy
•    Health / vital­ity
•    Your self-expression
•    Your rela­tion­ship
•    Your participation

Are you will­ing to pay the price of the COST in order to get your PAY-OFF?

Giv­ing up your pay-offs in order to avoid the cost is “good” and use­ful as you might have noticed, but you may ask, how do I do it. The key is to be aware of what comes out of your mouth. Observe your­self, observe the oth­ers and how they react to you and observe, like a fly on the wall, your­self and oth­ers being in con­ver­sa­tion. What do you see? This is the time to be bru­tally hon­est with your­self. Be care­ful, though, do not cross the limit and start blam­ing your­self and mak­ing your­self “wrong” and being at the same time “right” about it. No one can fool us as we can fool our­selves. We are sim­ply mas­ters at it.

If there is un UPSET, FRUSTRATION, or FAMILIARITY in your actions then you can be cer­tain that you are about to, or that you re get­ting your pay-off. Give it up!

•    Exam­ples of what to give up:
•    Com­plain­ing about some­thing to a per­son who can­not do any­thing about it.
•    Gos­sip­ing, i.e. talk­ing about some­one who is not present.
•    Resis­tance to apol­o­giz­ing
•    Giv­ing rea­sons and excuses
•    Being dom­i­nated by your promises, etc.

Please share with us your insights. Since this is some­times so hard to see, your sto­ries may be a big con­tri­bu­tion to others.

Thank you


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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Comments (2)


August 7th, 2009 at 3:08 AM    

My story…my rela­tion­ship broke up with much pain after my part­ner had an ‘affair’. This was a repeat per­for­mance for me and for him. My his­tory was to be ‘cheated’ on, his was to ‘cheat’. After more heartache than I can put into words we are still together and much of this is down to the con­cept of the Rela­tion­ship Saver. It’s a slow process, there is still a way to go and there are still big issues between us, but all in all my ‘plan’ is to sort of use my part­ner as my ‘exper­i­ment’ in integrity, respon­si­bil­ity, loy­alty, love and com­mitt­ment. I love my part­ner very very deeply, more than I did before. And I think he feels this now, whereas he didn’t before. We have gone from utter hatred, betrayal, lies, deceit, agony, loss of the will to live, to some­thing that can grow into some­thing very beau­ti­ful and pre­cious if I take respon­si­bil­ity for every­thing I do. I can’t vouch for him, because I can’t con­trol or dic­tate what he does…all I do is accept him, accept who he is, lis­ten to him, agree with him and under­stand him and I stopped doing every­thing that wasn’t work­ing by list­ing my actions, under­stand­ing their effect and doing the oppo­site. I now often feel very strong and ok, whereas before I was lit­er­ally a ‘bas­ket case’ of need and addic­tion. I’m nowhere near perfect…there is much work…I am still jug­gling my need­i­ness and try­ing to ‘find myself’ but I do have faith most of the time. And I can let my part­ner go and be him­self, he isn’t the source of my hap­pi­ness, I am. I don’t need to be with him, I want to be with him.


August 7th, 2009 at 7:53 AM    

This is a great exam­ple how pow­er­ful one can be and how much one can influ­ence an effect one’s rela­tion­ship and envi­ron­ment just by work­ing on one­self. Some­one said: “If you are not work­ing on your­self, you are not work­ing”. How true! Work­ing on oth­ers is a waist of time.

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