On Love

Love is like a stand you take for some­one or some­thing — a stand you take FOR some­one, towards some­one, rather than it being an inter­nal state which you rep­re­sent with the word “love.” If that were true, if just that lit­tle bit were true, the dis­tance between you and the mas­tery of love would be very short. You and I could bring forth the phe­nom­e­non of love by virtue of a dec­la­ra­tion, “I love you,” where the dec­la­ra­tion was a stand, a com­mit­ment and we could see that that was not some “thing” called love, but an open­ing, a pos­si­bil­ity, a clear­ing in which our expe­ri­ences could show up as an expres­sion of the dec­la­ra­tion, of the stand, of the com­mit­ment, of the context.

If all that were really pos­si­ble, then the dis­tance between us and mas­ter­ing love is pretty short. You see, what shows up in a stand val­i­dates the stand. If a doubt shows up in the space of some­thing for which you stand, it shows up as an expres­sion of the stand, that is to say it shows up for you as some­thing to han­dle out of your stand, not as some­thing con­trary to that for which you stand.

So if love in our rela­tion­ships was a clear­ing in which life became present, even what we ordi­nar­ily think of as a neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance, in a clear­ing cre­ated by a dec­la­ra­tion of love, where the dec­la­ra­tion is some­thing for which you stand, even a so-called neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance does not show up in oppo­si­tion to that for which you stand, but shows up as some­thing to be han­dled within the stand. I know you’re sit­ting there say­ing “gee I wish it were that easy” and I’m say­ing it might be some­thing very close to that easy … just like that.

And I’m invit­ing you into this domain of pos­si­bil­ity where you don’t know the answers, where rela­tion­ship and love exist like a ques­tion. I know you think that love is a set of emo­tions and moods and thoughts and atti­tudes and out­looks and feel­ings. And I’m invit­ing you to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that, that sim­ply is one inter­pre­ta­tion, not one with which you are stuck. That you do not need to live the rest of your life with­out love when you don’t have that set of feel­ings which you have hereto­fore described as love.

…that it might be pos­si­ble to bring love into your life, like a cre­ation, like some­thing for which you could be respon­si­ble, like some­thing you could bring forth on your our own as a mat­ter of dec­la­ra­tion and as a mat­ter of tak­ing a stand. And that you could bring love into those cir­cum­stance in your life when the rela­tion­ships are most dif­fi­cult, most prob­lem­atic. And you could do it as a sim­ple act of being where being is that for which you are will­ing to stand. And that the stand comes forth in a dec­la­ra­tion and exists behind the dec­la­ra­tion as a stand.

- Werner Erhard

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The Right to Be Wrong

Our cul­ture is built for win­ners. Every­one else is a loser. Whose aim in life is to be a loser? Not me, cer­tainly, and I per­son­ally don’t know of any­one who has. So, what do we do in the game of win­ning? We try to be right as much as we pos­si­bly can. Even if we know we are wrong we will try to con­vince oth­ers that we are right, or we will look like losers. “Look­ing good” is impor­tant. It projects a win­ner.  And I don’t mean just looks, but a gen­eral per­cep­tion of oth­ers that we are “in the know,” that we are always right, that we know what we are talk­ing about, that our judg­ments are cor­rect. We want to be trust­wor­thy and reli­able. We want to be RIGHT. We expect that oth­ers want to be right too and we “know” that if we admit that we are wrong oth­ers will not only gloat, make us look bad, lose respect for us, but also take advan­tage of us in every way possible.

All these attempts at being right are masks to hide behind in order to look good, but being always right is an impos­si­ble task to accom­plish. Suc­cess­ful peo­ple in busi­ness and in rela­tion­ships (busi­ness is made of rela­tion­ships like most any other action in life) have made dis­pro­por­tion­ally more mis­takes and have been many times more wrong than right.

The road to suc­cess is paved with failures.

One of the main com­plaints in unsuc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships is “we fight a lot.” Why do peo­ple fight? You guessed it: each per­son keeps insist­ing they are right by furi­ously jus­ti­fy­ing their posi­tion, by mak­ing their part­ner wrong and inval­i­dat­ing their partner’s point of view in order to win an argu­ment, so as not to be per­ceived as a “loser”. This down­ward spi­ral causes ver­tigo from which it is hard to recover.

So how do win­ners deal with los­ing, with being wrong and recover from their mistakes?

The rule of thumb is: the more insis­tent, sig­nif­i­cant and seri­ous you are about being right the more dif­fi­cult it is to recover, which implies that the more will­ing you are to admit, or could be wrong, and the sooner you can do it, the eas­ier it is to stop the down­ward spi­ral into rela­tion­ship dis­in­te­gra­tion. If you screw up a lot, you would even have to use that dreaded action to pub­li­cally or for­mally APOLOGIZE, which most peo­ple avoid like the plague.

I like to say that your rela­tion­ship is as good as your last conversation.

My inten­tion in this arti­cle is to uncover the lunacy of spend­ing our ener­gies, and indeed our lives, try­ing to be right about every­thing. Only peo­ple with low self-esteem and a low opin­ion of them­selves insist on being right all the time in a futile attempt to hide their inse­cu­ri­ties. If you are one of those peo­ple I sug­gest that you start doing exactly the oppo­site. Start being authen­tic. Stop hid­ing behind your right­eous­ness. Oth­ers will admire you for your courage, which most likely they them­selves do not have.  Peo­ple want to be right for fear of not being accepted, being shunned, rejected, not respected and, of course, not loved, when in fact the result is quite opposite.

This is how we “intu­itively” react to sit­u­a­tions when the right actions may be quite counter-intuitive: Most of our behav­ior is con­ducted from our rep­til­ian brain, our fight or flight instinct. We some­how uncon­sciously equate a chal­leng­ing con­ver­sa­tion with an encounter with a saber-tooth tiger. This brain, which has direct access to the emo­tional cen­ter (the amyg­dala), decides our actions. Becom­ing aware of what is REALLY hap­pen­ing, i.e., pro­cess­ing it through your con­scious mind (the neo-cortex), will uncover other pos­si­bil­i­ties and oppor­tu­ni­ties to “sur­vive” a con­ver­sa­tion with­out the knee-jerk reac­tion of hav­ing to be right.

In con­clu­sion: enjoy being wrong. You might as well, because most of the time you are. Con­sider that your beliefs are just that: YOUR beliefs, not nec­es­sar­ily facts. Allow oth­ers to have theirs. The world is not made to your spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Be gra­cious with oth­ers by allow­ing them to be wrong with­out beat­ing them up about it and mak­ing them wrong about being wrong. In other words, stop being right about their being wrong. If not imme­di­ately, but soon, they will start to rec­i­p­ro­cate, which ulti­mately leads to a great rela­tion­ship where each of you can be com­pletely authen­tic, and have the free­dom to be yourself.

To have a great rela­tion­ship you must give up the right to be right. Be a winner!

Good luck.

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How To Make Your Man Happy

After I say, “Give him sex when­ever he wants it,” I prob­a­bly have noth­ing else to add. But WAIT, there is a lit­tle more to it although not nearly as much as a woman* would require for her happiness.

The nat­ural instinct of men* is to “dom­i­nate.” That’s where it all starts. Men want to be deci­sion mak­ers and in charge, although the real­ity is that women always are. Men just don’t know it on a con­scious level. If you do not han­dle it right your man may become either openly or pas­sively aggres­sive. He is phys­i­cally stronger and his last resort is to use force. Be that as it may, you need to play a woman’s game. You are a woman; you should instinc­tively know how to do it. Play­ing a power game with a man is not a good idea.

Let him be in charge

So, to make your man happy you need to give him the illu­sion that he is in charge. This should be very easy to do because men LOVE help­ing women and solv­ing prob­lems. (Have you noticed how men are not so good at just lis­ten­ing? Men offer you solu­tions and help when you don’t even need it nor ask for it.) Start appre­ci­at­ing his enthu­si­asm and sense of respon­si­bil­ity for your prob­lems as well as his eager­ness to help you solve them. That’s how he expresses his love. He does not nec­es­sar­ily want to “fix” you. He owns your problems.

Men love and are proud of being able to pro­vide for and sup­port their woman, which can­not be said for women who really hate being the bread­win­ner of the family.

Give him his own space, phys­i­cal as well as mental

Phys­i­cally he needs his “cave,” his space where he can be undis­turbed doing his own thing. This may be a work­shop, garage, office, a den or a cor­ner in the home that he can call his own where he “reigns supreme.” He should be able to do what­ever he wants in that space: sort out his col­lec­tions, make some­thing, read, write, watch foot­ball, or just do nothing.

Men­tal space is also very impor­tant. It may come as a sur­prise to you but men often think of NOTHING. They need to do that occa­sion­ally. So do not force a con­ver­sa­tion if he does not want to have one NOW. He’ll come back to it when he is ready.

Learn to take what a man says at face value. He means what he says. Stop look­ing for hid­den mean­ings as to what comes out of his mouth. When he says that he is busy and can­not talk to you now, it does not mean that he does not love you. It means “he is busy and that he can­not talk to you now.”

Too sim­ple for you? Yes, that is the real­ity about men. They are VERY SIMPLE, for bet­ter or for worse. Also, men do not express their emo­tions as much as women do. Men can con­trol their thoughts and their feel­ings, but it does not mean that they do not have them. It is a 50,000 year-old sur­vival strat­egy. Try not to ques­tion it and make him into an overly sen­si­tive man. Do not try to turn him into a per­fect hairy woman. One, you will not suc­ceed, but if you do, he’ll change just to please you. Two, if you suc­ceed even par­tially, you will not like what you have.

Show respect

As much as women are about secu­rity, mostly emo­tional secu­rity that is, men are about respect. Notwith­stand­ing the fact that adults should earn respect and not be given it freely, there are some areas where your man will love you and respect you back if you show respect for his inter­ests and hob­bies, as well as sup­port him socially.

In other words, do not put down his inter­est in motor­cy­cles, his gun and knife col­lec­tion, cars, sports, or even bal­let. He loves his inter­ests and if you ask him why, he may even be eager to explain it to you at length and in detail, if you have the patience to lis­ten. If you do not respect his inter­ests he will with­draw, resent you, hide it from you etc., which obvi­ously would make him very unhappy.

If you respect him and are sup­port­ive of him in pub­lic, among friends and fam­ily, he will inter­pret it as the purest form of love on your part. “Praise in pub­lic, crit­i­cize in pri­vate,” as the adage goes.

If you want to per­pet­u­ate the attrac­tion in your rela­tion­ship, keep the gap between fem­i­nin­ity and mas­culin­ity as wide as pos­si­ble. If a woman adopts too many male char­ac­ter­is­tics and a man vice versa, the roles may reverse, attrac­tion will evap­o­rate to be replaced by either con­flict or indif­fer­ence. No one rel­ishes the prospects of this happening.

These are char­ac­ter­is­tics which apply to most men­tally healthy men. Of course, there are indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences, but do not assume that your man is so com­pletely dif­fer­ent that most of the above do not apply to him. If that is the case, he may be a woman, or he may be reluc­tant to exer­cise his “man­li­ness” with you. Con­sider that he may be try­ing to please you too much.

Good luck.

*Note: When I say a man and a woman, I mean male and female energy and nat­ural, genetic char­ac­ter­is­tics. (I talk about it at some length in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship.) Every human being has both char­ac­ter­is­tics. Men have more male and women have more female, and that can some­what vary from per­son to per­son and sit­u­a­tion to situation.

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The Freedom of Being: Beyond Right/Wrong


The Free­dom of Being: Beyond Right/Wrong, Win/Lose, etc.

By Larry Pearson

Taken from The Land­mark Newsletter

Land­mark Forum Lead­ers in Conversation

This pas­sage comes from The New York Times: “Long before seat belts or com­mon sense were par­tic­u­larly wide­spread, my fam­ily made annual trips to New York in our sta­tion wagon. Mom and Dad took the front seat, my infant sis­ter sat in my mother’s lap and my brother and I had the back all to our­selves. We’d lounge around doing puz­zles, read­ing comics, and count­ing license plates. Even­tu­ally we’d fight. When our fight had finally esca­lated to the point of tears, our mother would turn around to chas­tise us, and my brother and I would start to plead our cases. ‘But he hit me first,’ one of us would say, to which the other would inevitably add, ‘But he hit me harder.’

It turns out that my brother and I were not alone in believ­ing that these two claims can get a puncher off the hook. In vir­tu­ally every human soci­ety, ‘He hit me first’ pro­vides an accept­able ratio­nale for doing that which is oth­er­wise for­bid­den. It is thought that a punch thrown sec­ond is legally and morally dif­fer­ent than a punch thrown first. The prob­lem with the prin­ci­ple of even-numberedness is that peo­ple count dif­fer­ently. Peo­ple think of their own actions as the con­se­quences of what came before, they think of other people’s actions as the causes of what came later, and that their rea­sons and pains are more pal­pa­ble, more obvi­ous and real, than that of others.” *

The stuff of wars, soap operas, divorce courts, Ham­let, and more all bor­row on that equa­tion, as do we. While we might wish we’d left that even-numberedness to our child­hood and ado­les­cence, it’s not to be. The dynamic of deal­ing with issues that are unwanted, yet per­sist con­tin­ues to play out in board rooms, neigh­bor­hoods, mar­riages, and between nations—we jus­tify, we blame, we complain.

Issues that are unwanted, yet per­sist can be a pow­er­ful impe­tus for change, as evi­denced by the progress of human rights, for exam­ple. But there’s another world of things that are unwanted, yet persist—things that we com­plain about over and over, like some aspect of our rela­tion­ships or jobs that is not work­ing, and yet we find our­selves keep­ing around.

If we put what’s “unwanted, yet per­sists” together with “fixed ways of being,” we get what we call a “racket.” It’s a “mashup” of sorts (a web buzz­word). In a mashup, one web appli­ca­tion is com­bined with another, mak­ing both appli­ca­tions more pro­duc­tive and robust—you get some­thing greater than the sum of the parts. If you mash up what’s unwanted, yet per­sists (which is most likely occur­ring as a com­plaint) and a fixed way of being, you also get some­thing greater than the sum of its parts, but in this case, the yield heads in the wrong direction—the com­bi­na­tion is unpro­duc­tive or more accu­rately, counterproductive.

com­plaint is some kind of opin­ion or judg­ment of the way things “should” or “shouldn’t be.” The eval­u­a­tive com­po­nent isn’t a com­men­tary on facts that are true or false, accu­rate or not, but again how we think thingsshould be. By fixed way of being we mean act­ing in a pre­dictable and repet­i­tive man­ner (like always frus­trated, always upset, always angry, always nice, always annoyed, always sus­pi­cious, always con­fused, etc.). What­ever ourfixed way of being is, it’s not some­thing we have a choice over. It’s just there—it shows up auto­mat­i­cally when the com­plaint shows up. It’s also worth not­ing that a recur­ring com­plaint doesn’t cause the way of being, nor does the way of being cause the recur­ring complaint—they sim­ply come together in one pack­age. The whole point here, though, is that it’s a fixed way of being, not a pos­si­ble way of being.

The term “racket” comes from the days of big-city gang­sters and street-level crim­i­nals who con­ducted ques­tion­able activities—loan-sharking, bribery, larceny—usually set up to get some kind of pay­off, cam­ou­flaged by an accept­able cover above sus­pi­cion. In a “rack­e­teer­ing” oper­a­tion, the efforts at con­ceal­ing what’s going on behind the scenes can become quite elab­o­rate so as to pro­tect and ensure the suc­cess of the oper­a­tion. We bor­row the term racket as it’s applic­a­ble to our con­tem­po­rary lives and because it car­ries with it many of the same properties—deception, smoke screens, pay­offs, etc.

Some­times per­sis­tent com­plaints orig­i­nate with us, other times they come at us from some­one else. It’s harder to see that we’re in “racket mode” with com­plaints that come at us, because it looks like some­body else is the per­sis­tent com­plainer, and we just an inno­cent bystander. But under closer scrutiny, it turns out we too have complaints—complaints about their com­plaints. Our match­ing com­plaint might show up like, “don’t they under­stand, don’t they know how it is for me, why are they nag­ging, don’t they see every­thing I’m doing for them?” When we com­plain, we feel quite jus­ti­fied that our response is appro­pri­ate to the situation.

We explain the ratio­nale behind our com­plaints to inter­ested (and unin­ter­ested) par­ties, and point out how pleased we are with our­selves for tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to sort things out—we have a cer­tain fond­ness for our attempts, for “try­ing.” We might get our friends, fam­ily, or cowork­ers to agree that we’re deal­ing with our com­plaints the best we can. If they point out that per­haps we’re the one per­pet­u­at­ing the prob­lem, we could feel mis­un­der­stood, put out, even busted. Seen from a dis­tance, there can be some­thing almost endear­ing about how we go about all this—as if it’s part of our authen­tic and sin­cere spirit—but actu­ally, our ratio­nale for doing what we do is another thing entirely. This is the cam­ou­flage or cover-up part. The decep­tive nature of a racket and the allure of the pay­off keep us from real­iz­ing the full impact rack­ets have in our lives.

The pay­offs for keep­ing rack­ets around usu­ally show up in sev­eral ways: being right and mak­ing oth­ers wrong (not the fac­tual kind of right, but think­ing that we are right and the other per­son is wrong), being dom­i­nat­ing or avoid­ing dom­i­na­tion, jus­ti­fy­ing our­selves and inval­i­dat­ing oth­ers (attribut­ing cause to some thing or per­son other than our­selves), engag­ing in the win/lose dynamic (not “win­ning” like a cel­e­bra­tion with tro­phies, applause, or con­grat­u­la­tions to the oppo­nent, but win­ning such that some­one else is the loser or is less­ened in some way). These pay­offs are like facets of a diamond—although one facet might be more dom­i­nant than another (and we might deny or not be aware that some aspect of a pay­off is active in our case), they’re really all at play.

The pull of these pay­offs is often com­pelling enough to get us to give up love, vital­ity, self-expression, health, and hap­pi­ness. That’s a ridicu­lously strong force. Those costs are the stan­dard fare of a racket.  It’s pretty obvi­ous that we can’t be happy, vital, and lov­ing while we’re mak­ing some­one wrong, dom­i­nat­ing some­one, being right, or jus­ti­fy­ing ourselves—one dis­places the other. This is where choice comes into the picture.

Rack­ets, although one thing, have two forms of exis­tence (some­what like ice and steam are two forms of H2O). One form of a racket shows up as “I am X, Y, or Z.” The sec­ond shows up as “ahhh, I have a racket that is X, Y, or Z.” When we are the racket, it shapes and deter­mines our way of being. But when we have a racket, it has very lit­tle power over our way of being. We have a choice about what’s at play—about giv­ing up our rack­ets, our posi­tions, our unpro­duc­tive ways of being. When we elect to trans­form our default ways of being—being right, com­ing out on top (the even-numberedness, so to speak)—we move to a place of free­dom, a place of pos­si­bil­ity. The ques­tion then becomes: How do I express my life? What would be, for me, the most extra­or­di­nary, cre­ated, invented life?  It becomes a mat­ter of art, of design. How extra­or­di­nary are the every­day aspects of our lives; how rich our lives are, how full of oppor­tu­nity, when we act on the pos­si­bil­ity of liv­ing life fully.

* Adapted from Daniel Gilbert, New York Times, 7/24/06.

Click HERE for The Rela­tion­ship Saver, The Fast Track Man­ual for Sav­ing your Relationship.

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The Power of Vulnerability

Vul­ner­a­bil­ity is one of those dreaded words. Some­times we’d rather die than allow our­selves to be vul­ner­a­ble in our rela­tion­ships. No won­der! Look at the def­i­n­i­tion of vulnerable:

“|ˈvəln(ə)rəbəl|
adjec­tive
Sus­cep­ti­ble to phys­i­cal or emo­tional attack or harm : we were in a vul­ner­a­ble posi­tion | small fish are vul­ner­a­ble to predators.”

Who in their right mind would want to con­sciously expose them­selves to an “attack”?!

Well, con­sider that there is always another side to the story, a dif­fer­ent angle, the other side of the coin. Bad can­not exist with­out good. There is no God with­out the Devil, no left with­out right, no up with­out down, and no Yin with­out Yang. So, what is good about being vulnerable?

The con­cept of being vul­ner­a­ble is sim­ple but it is often hard to let our­selves expe­ri­ence it. What is nec­es­sary is courage. The Rela­tion­ship Saver can help.

In The fol­low­ing video, The Power of Vul­ner­a­bil­ity, Mrs Brene Brown tells us that by allow­ing our­selves to be vul­ner­a­ble in our rela­tion­ships we can get no less than our very life out of it :

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

What are your strate­gies for deal­ing with vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties? Post your answer in the “Leave a Reply” space below.

Thank you.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

When I was about 17, my par­ents strongly objected to some of my friends. Yes, they were my friends and my par­ents didn’t know them nearly as well as I did oth­er­wise they would have agreed with my point of view. The more they protested about my spend­ing time with them the more time I invested into our friend­ship. To tell the truth – and after all these years I can – even then I intu­itively knew that they were right, but there was no way that I would ever do what they told me to do. My eager­ness and need to be right and the power of mak­ing my own deci­sions was sim­ply over­whelm­ing. Sure enough, most of those friends turned out either not to be such good friends as I imag­ined. Sev­eral of them became alco­holics, or ended up in jail. And, yes, I admit my par­ents were right. They knew what was good for me and they acted as respon­si­ble par­ents to the best of their abilities.

No-one-tells-me-what-to-do atti­tude is per­fectly nor­mal for teenagers any­where. Their need to break away from their par­ents’ influ­ence and prove them­selves as able to be suc­cess­ful and respon­si­ble in the “real world”, is healthy and nec­es­sary behav­ior for the devel­op­ment of a healthy psy­che. But as we mature this atti­tude may present a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to healthy rela­tion­ships and a happy life.

First, this kind of rebel behav­ior may result in push­ing away any­one who comes close to you. This is how it usu­ally works: You know from your own expe­ri­ence that it is very easy for you to see when oth­ers are about to do some­thing that will not serve them well. If that per­son is a stranger or just an acquain­tance you most likely will not open your mouth to stop them. But, if it is some­one you care about, you will do your utmost to point out the fal­lacy of his/her intended actions. So, when­ever you become resis­tant to the sug­ges­tions of the peo­ple who care about you, you are jump­ing into don’t-tell-me-what-to-do modus operandi. In other words, you are digress­ing into a teenager. I cer­tainly do not pro­pose that you should accept all rec­om­men­da­tions from every­one who cares about you. What I am sug­gest­ing is open­ness to the pos­si­bil­ity and will­ing­ness to con­sider other points of view.

This kind of resis­tance to do what peo­ple ask you to do (or not to do) is a sign of inse­cu­rity, low self-esteem, infe­ri­or­ity com­plex and such. The more often you exer­cise your “right” to do what you want, the more you alien­ate peo­ple around you and more you push your­self in the direc­tion of inse­cu­rity and low self-esteem. Choos­ing not to do what peo­ple ask you to do is just as much a free choice as accept­ing other people’s requests and sug­ges­tions. You have right to change your mind. The choice is always yours. Be respon­si­ble for it. By refus­ing other people’s requests because you did not gen­er­ate the idea, and think­ing that some­how by accept­ing it you will lose power, is a vic­tim behav­ior. The choice is always yours no mat­ter which way you go. In fact, by accept­ing, or at least con­sid­er­ing and being will­ing to dis­cuss it in order to learn more about other people’s point of view, you show gen­eros­ity, trust, respect, under­stand­ing and secu­rity in your own beliefs. Para­dox­i­cally, the more you are open to the pos­si­bil­ity of chang­ing your mind the more you gain self-esteem. Most cul­tures teach us that chang­ing your mind under any cir­cum­stances makes you a per­son of a weak char­ac­ter, wishy-washy and less respected by oth­ers. Con­sider the fol­low­ing: you decide to do some­thing against other’s rec­om­men­da­tion, and you fail. Who do you blame? Your­self, of course (low esteem). Do you learn from the expe­ri­ence? No, you don’t. You vow that you’ll do it bet­ter the next time using the same strat­egy of the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do vari­ety. Do you give credit to the per­son who sug­gested oth­er­wise? No, you resent him/her even more. What hap­pens if you suc­ceed? Do you give your­self credit? Rarely. It’s just you. You just made a good choice. That’s it. You were lucky this time (low self-esteem). Your rela­tion­ship with that per­son worsens.

Now con­sider that you take some­one else’s advice. If you fail, what do you think? You see, I told you so. I should have done it my way. (Higher opin­ion of your­self.) If you suc­ceed, you will be grate­ful to him/her and you will praise your­self for mak­ing a good choice of accept­ing the sug­ges­tion and exe­cut­ing it (high self-esteem). Your rela­tion­ship with that per­son will become stronger.

So, yes, just as you have right do to what you want to do, no mat­ter what advice you get, you also absolutely have right to change your mind to your ben­e­fit and take other people’s advice. These are the two equal sides of the same coin.

Again, by all means, you should NOT go around doing what every­one tells you to do (low self-esteem), but being able to make a sound choice free of the bag­gage from the past, or emo­tions that may pop up unbid­den at those moments of deci­sion. Some­times even “blind trust”, although nor­mally regarded as irre­spon­si­ble, is accept­able. Think of pro­fes­sional advi­sors, teacher, friends and oth­ers that you trusted blindly, maybe with mixed results, which, by the way, will always be mixed, i.e., we will always make occa­sional mis­takes whether we do what we want, or if we lis­ten to other’s advice. Mis­takes are a part of life. Learn to live with them. But at least with the absence of the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do atti­tude you will have hap­pier life, bet­ter rela­tion­ships and open end for self-growth and being a respon­si­ble wise adult instead of a per­pet­ual teenager.

Doing what oth­ers request from you, being a “yes” per­son, will pro­vide you with an oppor­tu­nity for ser­vice, whether it is gladly bring­ing your part­ner a cup of cof­fee*, or car­ing for the sick and elderly, or any­thing in between. We grow by serv­ing oth­ers. We serve our­selves by serv­ing oth­ers. We are social ani­mals. “Doing onto oth­ers what they want done to them­selves” is a higher motto for peace­ful rela­tion­ships and peace the world. It is an atti­tude of peace, not con­fronta­tion. It is about care, con­tri­bu­tion, pros­per­ity, effi­ciency, effec­tive­ness and self-growth from teenage-hood to adult­hood. Remem­ber the choice is always yours.

To be bound by our choices is not to have lost our freedom

but to have exer­cised it.”

Robert Brault

Radomir

*See The Rela­tion­ship Saver: “Reverse the process”

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Maintaining A Healthy Relationship

The fol­low­ing arti­cle describes what I have sus­pected for a long time and writ­ten about in one of my pre­vi­ous posts. We think that we should know how to man­age our rela­tion­ships and thus are very resis­tant to look­ing for help until it is often too late.

Smart busi­nesses invest in adver­tis­ing and devel­op­ment in the peri­ods of their pros­per­ity. We also invest on a per­sonal level when, as is men­tioned in the arti­cle below, we go to the den­tist for a check up. We do not wait for our teeth to decay first.

The New York Times Arti­cle, Seek­ing to Pre-empt Mar­i­tal Strife by TARA PARKER-POPE is about research by psy­chol­o­gists in the topic of rela­tion­ship main­te­nance. Since I am a coach and author, here I’d like to point out that there is a dif­fer­ence between coach­ing and psychology.

Coach­ing is only for men­tally healthy peo­ple and it is mostly ori­ented towards future actions. We do not delve into the the past and “fix” things, we cre­ate the future. If we notice that there may be some deeper issues that need ther­apy, we would refer our clients to a therapist.

Since psy­chother­apy in this coun­try is a busi­ness, and it could be a very prof­itable one, I think that too many healthy peo­ple are made to think that they need ther­apy or coun­sel­ing (which is also mostly done by ther­a­pists) in order to be able to repair their relationship.

This is by no means intended to bash psy­chother­a­pists. After all, my daugh­ter will be one very soon. There are many cases where ther­apy best be used, but I have seen many peo­ple go to ther­apy as a default option when a lit­tle healthy coach­ing can make all the dif­fer­ence in the world. Ther­apy can be expen­sive, where just a few insights into the core prin­ci­ples of a suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships may cause all the change that you want in your relationship .

All this said, here is the link to this excel­lent arti­cle by Tara Parker-Pope that was sent to me by my friend Anabela Enes:

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JUNE 28, 2010, 5:17 PM
Seek­ing to Pre-empt Mar­i­tal Strife
By TARA PARKER-POPE
Stu­art Brad­ford Does your mar­riage need ther­apy? If you’re like most peo­ple, the cor­rect answer may well be yes, but your answer is prob­a­bly no.
In most mar­riages, one or both part­ners resist the idea of coun­sel­ing. Some can’t afford it, or find it incon­ve­nient. And many view ther­apy as a last resort — some­thing only des­per­ate cou­ples need. Only 19 per­cent of cur­rently mar­ried cou­ples have taken part in mar­riage coun­sel­ing; a recent study of divorc­ing cou­ples found that nearly two-thirds never sought coun­sel­ing before decid­ing to end the rela­tion­ship.
“It seems like we’re even more resis­tant to think­ing about get­ting help for our rela­tion­ship than we are for depres­sion or anx­i­ety,” said Brian D. Doss, an assis­tant psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Miami. “There’s a strong dis­in­cen­tive to think about your rela­tion­ship as being in trou­ble — that’s almost admit­ting fail­ure by admit­ting that some­thing isn’t right.”
Mar­riage coun­sel­ing does not always work, of course — per­haps because it is so often delayed past the point of no return. One recent study of two types of ther­apy found that only about half the cou­ples reported long-lasting improve­ments in their mar­riages.
So researchers have begun look­ing for ways (some of them online) to reach cou­ples before a mar­riage goes off the rails.
One fed­er­ally financed study is track­ing 217 cou­ples tak­ing part in an annual “mar­riage checkup” that essen­tially offers pre­ven­tive care, like an annual phys­i­cal or a den­tal exam.
“You don’t wait to see the den­tist until some­thing hurts — you go for check­ups on a reg­u­lar basis,” said James V. Cór­dova, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at Clark Uni­ver­sity in Worces­ter, Mass., who wrote “The Mar­riage Checkup” (Jason Aron­son, 2009). “That’s the model we’re test­ing. If peo­ple were to bring their mar­riages in for a checkup on an annual basis, would that pro­vide the same sort of ben­e­fit that a phys­i­cal health checkup would pro­vide?”
Although Dr. Cór­dova and col­leagues are still tal­ly­ing the data, pre­lim­i­nary find­ings show that cou­ples who take part in the pro­gram do expe­ri­ence improve­ments in mar­i­tal qual­ity. By work­ing with cou­ples before they are unhappy, the checkup iden­ti­fies poten­tially “cor­ro­sive” behav­iors and helps cou­ples make small changes in com­mu­ni­ca­tion style before their prob­lems spi­ral out of con­trol. (Typ­i­cal prob­lems include lack of time for sex and blam­ing a part­ner for the stresses of child rear­ing.)
“Cou­ples won’t go to mar­i­tal ther­apy with just the one thing that they are strug­gling with,” Dr. Cór­dova said. “So they end up strug­gling in places where the fix might be sim­ple, it’s just that they them­selves are blind to it.”
Not sur­pris­ingly, some ther­a­pists are cre­at­ing online self-help pro­grams to reach cou­ples before seri­ous prob­lems set in. Dr. Doss and Andrew Chris­tensen, a psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, are recruit­ing cou­ples at www.OurRelationship.com to study such a pro­gram.
The online study, financed by a five-year $1.2 mil­lion grant from the National Insti­tute of Child Health and Human Devel­op­ment, will deliver online ther­apy to 500 cou­ples. It is based on “accep­tance ther­apy,” which focuses on bet­ter under­stand­ing of a partner’s flaws — a tech­nique described in “Rec­on­cil­able Dif­fer­ences” (Guil­ford Press, 2002), by Dr. Chris­tensen and Neil S. Jacob­son.
The method, for­mally called inte­gra­tive behav­ioral ther­apy, was the sub­ject of one of the largest and longest clin­i­cal tri­als of cou­ples ther­apy. Over a year, 134 highly dis­tressed mar­ried cou­ples in Los Ange­les and Seat­tle received 26 ther­apy ses­sions, with follow-up ses­sions every six months for the next five years.
Half the cou­ples received tra­di­tional ther­apy that focused on bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and prob­lem solv­ing, while the oth­ers took part in a sim­i­lar pro­gram that included accep­tance ther­apy. Five years after treat­ment, about half the mar­riages in both groups were sig­nif­i­cantly improved, accord­ing to the study, which appeared in the April issue of The Jour­nal of Con­sult­ing and Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy. Dr. Chris­tensen says about a third of the sub­jects could be described as “nor­mal, happy cou­ples,” a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment con­sid­er­ing how dis­tressed they were at the start. (The cou­ples who received accep­tance ther­apy had bet­ter results after two years, but both types of ther­apy were about equal by the end of the study.)
The hope is that an online ver­sion of the pro­gram could reach cou­ples sooner, and also offer booster ses­sions to improve results. Even so, Dr. Chris­tensen notes that the dis­ad­van­tage of online ther­apy is that it won’t give cou­ples a third party to ref­eree their dis­cus­sion.
“Nobody thinks it’s going to replace indi­vid­ual ther­apy or cou­ples ther­apy,” he said. “There’s gen­er­ally a sense that the inter­ven­tion might be less pow­er­ful, but if it’s less pow­er­ful but is eas­ily admin­is­tered to many more peo­ple, then it’s still a very help­ful treat­ment.”
Researchers at Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity offer an exten­sive online mar­i­tal assess­ment, called Relate, for cou­ples and indi­vid­u­als. The detailed ques­tion­naire, at www.relate– institute.org, takes about 35 min­utes to com­plete and gen­er­ates a lengthy report with color-coded graphs depict­ing a couple’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­flict style, how much effort each part­ner puts into the rela­tion­ship, and other things. The fee is $20 to $40.
Aus­tralian researchers are using the same assess­ment, along with a DVD and tele­phone edu­ca­tion pro­gram called Cou­ple Care, found at www.couplecare.info, to reach fam­i­lies in remote areas who don’t have access to tra­di­tional ther­apy. The Utah and Aus­tralia researchers have begun a ran­dom­ized, con­trolled trial of about 300 cou­ples to deter­mine the effec­tive­ness of the approach.
Pre­lim­i­nary data show that cou­ples reported improve­ment, but Kim Hal­ford, a pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land, St. Lucia, in Aus­tralia, said more study of long-term effects was needed.
Dr. Hal­ford notes that as more cou­ples meet through Web dat­ing ser­vices, the appeal of online cou­ples coun­sel­ing may increase. “If infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy is inte­gral to how you began your rela­tion­ship,” he said, “then if ther­apy is required it’s not sur­pris­ing that they would look to online tech­nol­ogy.”
A ver­sion of this arti­cle appeared in print on June 29, 2010, on page D1 of the New York edi­tion.
Copy­right 2010 The New York Times Com­pany
Pri­vacy Pol­icy    NYTimes.com
620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018

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If you are not sure about qual­ity of your rela­tion­ship, you may check it HERE

If your rela­tion­ship is less than you may con­sider “per­fect”, The Game­less Rela­tion­ship will expose exactly what may be missing.

Thank you

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Is It Fear, Or Is It Love?

We talk a lot about love in rela­tion­ships as being the most impor­tant ingre­di­ent with­out which a rela­tion­ship can­not be sus­tained. So, we always talk about how we want to be loved more, how the love was lost, how to regain love and put the “spark” back in our rela­tion­ship. We think that some­how that feel­ing of love or a lov­ing feel­ing should always be present and only then we would know that our rela­tion­ship is OK. When a rela­tion­ship is break­ing up there seems to be a simul­ta­ne­ous loss of love, or loss of love pre­cedes the break up. We treat love as a “thing” that can some­how be lost. If it can be lost, then we think it can be gained as well. Peo­ple who use The Rela­tion­ship Saver are always on the side where their partner’s love for them was lost and they want their part­ner to regain it. They live in a state of fear that they will not be able to get their part­ner to regain their love for them although they “love“ them “with all their hart.” No one notices the con­tra­dic­tion and impos­si­bil­i­ties in this kind of rea­son­ing, or rather wish­ful think­ing: love and fear don’t mix, like oil and water.

First we must under­stand that that elu­sive “love” is a state of mind and it is much big­ger than a sim­ple feel­ing. You can only receive love if you are able to give it. There is no such a thing as a lim­ited sup­ply of love. You can­not share love. Love is not a pie so when you give two slices to one per­son there is none left for another. When you love, every­one and every­thing receives all your love all the time. You do not have to with­hold love for one per­son in order to have “enough love” for another per­son that you love. Love has no bounds. You are either in a state of love or in the state of fear.

If you are sav­ing “your love” for one per­son or thing, you are being in a state of fear, which elim­i­nates love. Love is much big­ger than a feel­ing for one per­son. Love starts with the accep­tance of real­ity itself. Accept­ing real­ity for what it is and not what you think it “should” be is the first step to expe­ri­enc­ing the state of love. You can­not love one per­son and not love other peo­ple and the world itself. So, by now you might have noticed that the kind of love I am talk­ing about is uncon­di­tional love. And, yes, that is the only love there is. When­ever you have a rea­son for lov­ing you may be sure that it is not love. It most likely is a need. Ask your­self why you love your part­ner. Is it because he is good to you, strong, hand­some, good father, or is it because she is beau­ti­ful, sup­port­ive, good mother? Now ask your­self what would hap­pen if your part­ner loses those qual­i­ties or stops doing thinks that you love him for. Your love will most cer­tainly dis­ap­pear. We can safely con­clude that your love is not uncon­di­tional, but you were get­ting what you needed and you were grate­ful to your part­ner for it.  Your part­ner sat­is­fied your needs and that’s why you “loved” him. And, fear of los­ing it was always present, or you just took it for granted. You did not love your part­ner for who he is, as a per­son, but for what he does, or what need of yours she could sat­isfy. So when your part­ner says he is not in love with you any more, or that she does not love you any more, he/she prob­a­bly never really did in the first place. You were only sat­is­fy­ing one or more of your partner’s needs and now you don’t.

Fear of los­ing a per­son is often trans­lated into “I love him so much”. Con­sider that you don’t. If you did, you’d let him go. You do not need him. I know that it may sound coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but life does not con­form to what you think life should be. Life just is. You were born alone and being an adult, you do not need any­one to tell you that they love you. You are the one who is capa­ble of lov­ing and that’s the only way to receive love. You can­not extract love from any­one. Love is liv­ing with­out fear. Love dis­perses fear like light dis­perses dark­ness. Liv­ing in fear is like liv­ing in dark. Turn the light on and be fearless.

•    Love is not a thing.
•    Love is not a feel­ing.
•    Love is a state of mind.
•    Love is choice.
•    The oppo­site of love is not hate, it is fear.
•    Love is pos­si­ble only where there is no fear.
•    When there is fear there is no love.
•    Where there is love there is NO fear, no mat­ter what.
•    Love is free.
•    Love is fear­less.
•    When you love you can­not be afraid.
•    Jesus was not afraid of dying. He loved.
•    Love is oppo­site of fear. One can­not love and be fear­ful at the same time.

Prac­tic­ing uncon­di­tional love requires fear­less­ness. You must be brave, con­scious, com­mit­ted, in touch of and respect­ful of real­ity and counter your knee-jerk reac­tions. When being in a state of uncon­di­tional love you will expe­ri­ence free­dom like you’ve never known before, peace, tran­quil­ity, and feel­ing of invin­ci­bil­ity and sense of per­fec­tion. You know that every­thing is just the way it should be. Expe­ri­enc­ing uncon­di­tional love is not the same as liv­ing in an illu­sion­ary la-la land. Liv­ing an illu­sion is liv­ing in you own imag­ined world that does not rep­re­sent real­ity.  On the other hand, liv­ing in uncon­di­tional love you are keenly aware of, and accept­ing of real­ity, know­ing full well that shoulds, and coulds will not change it. You real­ize that com­plain­ing about what already is, makes no sense and so you are free to take action now to have your future be dif­fer­ent than present and what it was in the past, fully aware that you can­not change the past itself. Liv­ing in uncon­di­tional love is THE most pow­er­ful and fear free place you can pos­si­bly be in.

Do you have enough guts to do it? Go ahead make my day!

Love

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Denial

We cre­ate our rela­tion­ships from the very start. The prob­lem is that we are mostly clue­less how to go about it. Our actions often stem from our feel­ings and beliefs, and what we’ve seen from our par­ents. No one ever attended 101 Rela­tion­ship class at school. That’s why I decided to help peo­ple with their rela­tion­ships, because I can.

I sell hun­dreds of Rela­tion­ship Savers every week. The let­ters I very often receive start with: “My part­ner broke up with me three months ago….” Some­times it’s a year or more. I have been won­der­ing for a while now,  why peo­ple wait until it is almost too late to ask for help about their rela­tion­ship. Most rela­tion­ships, i.e., more than 50%, are not happy ones. Peo­ple either break up, or stay in an unhappy rela­tion­ship due to fear, con­ve­nience, eco­nom­ics, chil­dren, you name it. Why do peo­ple not ask for help as soon as they notice a change for the worse?

I guess only you can answer that ques­tion for your­self, but the prob­lem seems to have some gen­er­al­i­ties which almost every­one can find some­thing to iden­tify with. The most preva­lent rea­sons are: hope and fear.

Hope is always asso­ci­ated with the future. We hope that things will change, that or our per­cep­tion of the sit­u­a­tion is wrong, that it is only a tem­po­rary thing that will pass as soon as cir­cum­stances change. Hope that some­thing will hap­pen to change the sit­u­a­tion or that we will find a way to change it our­selves. Hope that God will help us. Hope that our part­ner will real­ize his/her wrong­do­ing and stop, and so on. Feel free to add your own hope. Well, hope is a sur­vival mech­a­nism to ward off fear. Hope is a very effec­tive tool for trick­ing our ratio­nal mind into going to sleep for a while longer. When one loses hope one tends to be depressed. The two are almost syn­ony­mous. Hope gen­er­ates pro­cras­ti­na­tion, stag­na­tion, and cur­tails action. Hold­ing onto hope sup­ports a sta­tus quo, no mat­ter how bad it is. The more you hope the more stuck you will get, often until it’s too late for action. This becomes a great excuse for not tak­ing action. I was hop­ing he/she would change, you may say.  Hope is the per­fect way to fall into a vic­tim mode, which admit­tedly can be a very cozy place to be. Victim-hood knows no per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. It is always some­one else’s fault and some­one else, i.e., your part­ner, who should change. Change is scary, so you do not want to ini­ti­ate it.

Fear is our best friend and worst enemy. Fear helps us sur­vive. If we had no fear of heights, snakes, hot or cold we’d all be dead a long time ago. Our brain is struc­tured in such way that on a sub­con­scious level we can­not dis­tin­guish between dif­fer­ent causes of fear. Fear is a feel­ing that we can­not con­trol. In gen­eral, we can­not con­trol our feel­ings. What we can do is become aware of our feel­ings and trans­fer atten­tion from the amigdala (feel­ing cen­ter of the brain) to the neo­cor­tex (the con­scious, think­ing and rea­son­ing part of the brain). In other words, make a con­scious deci­sion whether our fear is a fear from an oncom­ing bus, or a sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion. One will kill us, the other will not.  Now, how long have you been par­a­lyzed with fear? Fear that you will be alone, fear that if he leaves you will become home­less and die, fear that you will not be loved or that you will be rejected if you take this or that action. Fear that your child/ren will suf­fer. Fear of mak­ing a mis­take, feel­ing guilty, hurt­ing his/her feel­ings, fear of loss, etc. Again, find your own fear that is stop­ping you from tak­ing action.

All this is sim­ple but I real­ize that it is not so easy to do. The first step is to admit that you do not quite know what to do when your rela­tion­ship hits a bump. This is called get­ting in touch with real­ity. Not know­ing is not bad or good. It just is. On what basis do we pre­sume that we “should” know how to cre­ate a good rela­tion­ship. We pre­sume and we think that if we could only find the right per­son — our soul mate — we will live hap­pily ever after. It only hap­pens in Dis­ney stu­dios, not in real life.

Deny­ing that prob­lem exists or that it is seri­ous, pro­cras­ti­nat­ing, post­pon­ing and going for help to peo­ple who have not taken that Rela­tion­ship 101 class is mostly a waste of pre­cious time and the chance to save your rela­tion­ship or make a healthy start of a new one. That was the rea­son for my Writ­ing The Rela­tion­ship Saver and The Game­less Rela­tion­ship backed up with this blog.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Effective Communication vs. Arguments (2)

In the last arti­cle we talked about prepar­ing for dif­fi­cult and pos­si­bly emo­tion­ally charged con­ver­sa­tion. In this arti­cle we will see how to actu­ally con­duct an effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion that may promise the res­o­lu­tion of a conflict.

The Rela­tion­ship Saver rec­om­mends agree­ing with your part­ner. Dis­agree­ments are unfor­tu­nately, often more accu­rately called argu­ments. (See the def­i­n­i­tion of argu­ment in a dic­tio­nary or in the pre­vi­ous arti­cle “Effec­tive Com­mu­ni­ca­tion vs. Argu­ments (1)”.) You must have heard the tech­nique that helps in heated con­ver­sa­tions to say “and” instead of “but” in reply to a state­ment. It is just a small part that points towards an agreement.

There are two parts to every con­ver­sa­tion: speak­ing and lis­ten­ing. Well, this may seems very obvi­ous but hold your horses, there is more to it than meets the eye. Let’s see what we say and how we say it when we speak and how we lis­ten when we do not speak.

Psy­chol­o­gists have iden­ti­fied three cat­e­gories of peo­ple and their behav­iors when it comes to heated dis­cus­sions: those who digress to threats and name-calling (tch, tch…), those who revert to silent fum­ing (mak­ing you, or them­selves silently wrong), and those who speak openly, hon­estly and effec­tively. Not sur­pris­ingly, they dis­cov­ered by fol­low­ing cou­ples with all three ways of behav­ior for 10 years, that the 90% of cou­ples who were able to resolve their high-stake, con­tro­ver­sial and emo­tion­ally charged dif­fer­ences in a respect­ful and hon­est man­ner stayed together; those who did not, split up.

As far as speak­ing is con­cerned, if you want to be effec­tive you need to be brave, not fear­ful, open, not closed, hon­est, not deceit­ful, coop­er­a­tive, not com­pet­i­tive, will­ing, not withholding.

Courage is nec­es­sary when you are vul­ner­a­ble, when you are about to dis­close the under­belly of your rea­son­ing, being the nec­es­sary com­po­nent of hon­est con­ver­sa­tion that will make your part­ner and some­times your­self, under­stand your inten­tions behind your behav­ior. If you are com­mit­ted to resolv­ing dif­fi­cult issues you must love truth, more than sav­ing your face and sat­is­fy­ing your ego.

In start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion it is always good to begin with agree­ing with each other. So, find some com­mon ground where you may share an opin­ion or describe the sit­u­a­tion that both of you would agree on. Make sure both of you are clear on what you are going to have a con­ver­sa­tion about.

Just the facts, Ma’am.”  Make sure you do not con­fuse opin­ions and facts. You can usu­ally both eas­ily agree on facts, but opin­ions are your own. Inter­pre­ta­tions of the facts and mean­ings of the events are yours only. Own them and men­tion that they are yours. Do not say things like “You are a jerk. You were very rude and you hurt my feel­ings when you talked to me last night when you came home.” Notice that all these state­ments in one sen­tence start with you. Being rude and a jerk are totally your inter­pre­ta­tion and the mean­ing you gave to his behav­ior. Maybe his inten­tion was some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, so do not present that his being rude is a fact. Sec­ondly, no one can make you feel any­thing. You gen­er­ate your feel­ings, so be respon­si­ble for them. Yes, someone’s words or actions may trig­ger your feel­ings, but you must be response-able i.e., you have a choice in how to respond. Uncon­scious response is called reac­tion, which is auto­matic. When­ever you are express­ing your opin­ion, start the sen­tence with “I”. So, this leaves us with facts: he talked to you last night when he came home. That is a fact. Every moment dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you must strive to rec­og­nize what your opin­ions are and not con­fuse them with an objec­tive truth. Say­ing, you are a jerk is not stat­ing a fact. It is your opin­ion. The bet­ter way to say it is: “You came across to me (or, I saw you, or I thought you were) as a jerk and very rude last night. My feel­ings were hurt.”

Another part is mak­ing sure that you rec­om­mend some sort of action towards the res­o­lu­tion. If you want to have a con­ver­sa­tion that will pro­duce results you must deal with specifics as opposed to gen­er­al­i­ties. As I men­tion in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship, effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­sists of only two con­ver­sa­tions: effec­tive requests and effec­tive promises. Effec­tive means that requests and promises are the only con­ver­sa­tions that will move pos­si­bil­ity into real­ity. Noth­ing hap­pens with­out requests and ful­filled promises.
Find out more about this on http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

Always explain the rea­son­ing behind your state­ments and be open to the input of the infor­ma­tion from your part­ner. In this way you will cut the amount of often-wrong assump­tions on his part. If you are cor­rectly under­stood, it may very well hap­pen that after your partner’s input and ideas you will change your mind for the ben­e­fit of a win/win out­come. Humil­ity does not mean giv­ing up your point of view. Your pur­pose is to explore the sit­u­a­tion together, not to aban­don your per­spec­tive. It may hap­pen that your part­ner starts get­ting aggres­sive. As long as you stick to your val­ues and fol­low the above rec­om­men­da­tions you will not fall into the trap of auto­mat­i­cally and emo­tion­ally react­ing to his aggres­sion. Remem­ber you are in charge of your experience.

Now, a few words about lis­ten­ing, or shall we call it enquiry? Some call it active lis­ten­ing. How­ever you call it, here are some help­ful prin­ci­ples that if fol­lowed may pro­duce noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle. We have two ears and one mouth, thus we should lis­ten twice as much as we talk. A few sug­ges­tions on how to lis­ten: no mat­ter how charged a sit­u­a­tion is you can always achieve almost com­plete dis­charge by pay­ing com­plete atten­tion while she talks. It is more than that. Lis­ten as if nuggets of gold are pour­ing out of her mouth. It does not mat­ter if you share her opin­ion or not. You are get­ting the infor­ma­tion about her think­ing process, men­tal state, and the inten­tion behind her behav­ior. You are tru­ing to get to the truth, to the bot­tom of it. Truth does not come out eas­ily at the first attempt. It takes repeated enquiry and safe environment.

By intently lis­ten­ing and being gen­uinely inter­ested instead of hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with your­self, prepar­ing answers and hav­ing opin­ions, try­ing to fin­ish her sen­tences and pre­sum­ing that you know what she wants to say because you “heard it so many times before”, you will encour­age her to say what truly is on her mind. Some­times even she may be sur­prised by the truth that comes out of her mouth that she was not even aware of. Dur­ing the process of lis­ten­ing, do not speak nor give answers or opin­ions unless asked to do so. The other jus­ti­fi­able time to say any­thing is to inquire as to under­stand bet­ter what she is try­ing to say. Do not offer your opin­ions, rebut­tals, crit­i­cisms and such. Be very inter­ested. Your body lan­guage has to be con­sis­tent with your inten­tion to lis­ten. Do not fid­get, doo­dle, scan the envi­ron­ment, cross your arms and such. Con­cen­trate on her words only. Once you hear what she had to say give it back to her by sum­ma­riz­ing it, so that she a) knows that she was heard, and b) that you know that you got it right with­out your inter­pre­ta­tions and arbi­trary mean­ings that you might have slapped onto what she said.

Do not give your opin­ions, com­ments or solu­tions with­out her con­sent. Ask if she wants to hear what you want to say. Very often peo­ple just want to be heard. Strange as it may sound, just lis­ten­ing and “get­ting it” may be enough to dis­solve any dis­agree­ment between you two.

Acknowl­edge her for what­ever you can and even for what you can­not. You’ve heard about “pay for­ward” instead of pay back. Acknowl­edg­ment is a per­fect plat­form for such a “pay­ment”. Acknowl­edg­ment is not sim­ply a reac­tion, polite expla­na­tion of what hap­pened in the past and cer­tainly not a manip­u­la­tive tool. Acknowl­edg­ment can be a very pow­er­ful incen­tive to agree­ment, under­stand­ing and encour­age­ment for inti­macy and even behav­ioral change if gen­uine. The core of effec­tive lis­ten­ing has noth­ing to do with tech­nique; it is an atti­tude. By pro­vid­ing lis­ten­ing to her, you show that you care. As the say­ing goes: “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”

These few points in this arti­cle about speak­ing and lis­ten­ing are tools not to be used on your part­ner but with your part­ner.  These are coop­er­a­tion tools and not manip­u­la­tion tools. So, do not keep this knowl­edge to your­self. Share it with your part­ner. Make sure you do not do it in a con­de­scend­ing way.

Lastly, keep the con­ver­sa­tion in integrity, whole and com­plete, espe­cially com­plete, when there is noth­ing else to say or learn. If you think that for any rea­son you can­not fin­ish the con­ver­sa­tion make sure that you have the time and the place set for con­tin­u­ing it until complete.

If you fol­low these prin­ci­ples in any con­ver­sa­tion the like­li­hood of bet­ter­ment and/or con­tin­u­a­tion of a good rela­tion­ship is almost guaranteed.

Note: Fred Kofman’s phe­nom­e­nal book “Con­scious Busi­ness” inspired me to write this arti­cle. Thank you.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Disagreements in Marriages and Relationships

In my last arti­cle we talked about how the attempt to make clear what we are actu­ally talk­ing about may resolve many repeat­edly frus­trat­ing arguments.

Here I am going to dig a lit­tle deeper into the causes of dis­agree­ments and argu­ments in rela­tion­ships. Why do cou­ples argue so much? You would think that since you will­ingly started your rela­tion­ship that you must have agreed on most issues and even in the areas where you ini­tially did not you thought that as rea­son­able peo­ple you would be able to work things out. Well, after months and years of being in a close rela­tion­ship not only did the dis­agree­ments not get bet­ter, they got worse.

We do not see things as they are.
We see things as we are.

THE TALMUD

Jean Piaget, the French child devel­op­ment psy­chol­o­gist, con­ducted a reveal­ing exper­i­ment. He gave a group of chil­dren a wooden block, which was painted red on one side and green on the other. After exam­in­ing the block he would show them the green side and ask them what color he was see­ing. Most chil­dren younger than five years old answered “green”. They were inca­pable of rec­og­niz­ing that the per­son on the other side could see some­thing dif­fer­ent than they did. Older chil­dren gave the cor­rect answer. They under­stood that while they were see­ing the green side of the wooden block, the researcher on the other side saw red. These chil­dren demon­strated that they had devel­oped a sense of per­spec­tive, the abil­ity to appre­ci­ate the sit­u­a­tion from another point of view.

How often in your rela­tion­ship have you behaved as if you were younger then five? How often do you think that your point of view is real­ity itself and if your part­ner does not see the sit­u­a­tion or event the same way you do, he/she is plain “wrong”. That is called onto­log­i­cal arro­gance, think­ing that what you think is real is real for every­one else as well, that you are right while every­one else who does not agree with you is wrong. When our daugh­ter, Diana, was five years old, she would say that she didn’t like mush­rooms because they were yucky. In fact, the oppo­site was true. Diana called mush­rooms “yucky” because she did not like them. She thought that any­one who liked mush­rooms had no taste: a typ­i­cal case of onto­log­i­cal arro­gance. Ontol­ogy is the branch of phi­los­o­phy that stud­ies the nature of real­ity. Onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is the belief that your per­spec­tive is priv­i­leged, that your way is the only way to inter­pret the sit­u­a­tion. If you see green every­one else must see green also, oth­er­wise they don’t know what they are talk­ing about. While onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is cute and endear­ing in chil­dren, it is much less charm­ing in adults – yet it seems to be preva­lent in adults. It may become quite dev­as­tat­ing for a rela­tion­ship if your onto­log­i­cal arro­gance adopts the behav­ioral atti­tude of “it’s my way, or the highway”.

In charged sit­u­a­tions most of us assume that we see things as they are; it is not so. We actu­ally see thing as they appear to us. Check it out for your­self. When was the last time that you met an “idiot” who thinks exactly like you do? Do you think that peo­ple who dis­agree with you are idiots, or you call them idiots because they dis­agree with you? (Instead of “idiot”, you may sub­sti­tute the epi­thet which you usu­ally use on your partner.)

The oppo­site of arro­gance is humil­ity. Humil­ity comes from the Latin word humus, mean­ing ground.  Being a hum­ble per­son, a per­son with onto­log­i­cal humil­ity, means that you real­ize that you do not have a spe­cial claim on real­ity or truth, it means that you are well grounded in real­ity. Remem­ber, the first step to trans­form­ing any sit­u­a­tion is being in a pro­found rela­tion­ship with what is so. You would under­stand that other people’s and your partner’s per­spec­tive are just as valid as yours and that they deserve respect and con­sid­er­a­tion. Onto­log­i­cal humil­ity makes sense on an intel­lec­tual level, but it is not our nat­ural atti­tude. It requires, at the min­i­mum the cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment of a six-year-old.

If we are to stop argu­ing, dis­agree­ing about every­thing, quar­rel­ing, scream­ing at each other, etc., and as a result feel not under­stood, deserted, resent­ful, angry, aloof, dis­ap­pointed, not loved or respected, we must stop behav­ing as five-year-olds. We must make an effort to be aware of our own per­spec­tive and point of view, allow oth­ers to have their own, and attempt to step into their shoes and see their per­spec­tive on the world. Only then would we be able to start to under­stand why they think what they do and why they do what they do. This does not mean that you have to be a psy­chol­o­gist and under­stand every “how” and “why” the other per­son thinks; respect­ing another’s point of view would be suf­fi­cient. Also, by prac­tic­ing onto­log­i­cal humil­ity it does not mean that you are giv­ing up your own per­spec­tive. It is quite hum­ble to say that mush­rooms are yucky as long as you add “for me”. You may be hum­ble and still assert your­self, your views are com­pletely valid, as long as you do not oblit­er­ate and inval­i­date or dis­re­gard your partner’s point of view. This is why I had a whole chap­ter on agree­ing with your part­ner and why I refer to it in The Rela­tion­ship Saver.

Dur­ing our lives we all have very unique expe­ri­ences on the basis of which we form our world-view, our men­tal model of the world.  Your men­tal model is your own par­tic­u­lar set of deeply ingrained assump­tions, gen­er­al­iza­tions, beliefs, and val­ues. From this model stem all the inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings we give to our expe­ri­ences. Mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions, as I men­tioned in other arti­cles, are not “out there”. They are formed “in-here”, in our minds, and everyone’s men­tal model is dif­fer­ent, some­times only slightly, but dif­fer­ent nev­er­the­less. We must start being aware of other people’s mind mod­els and start appre­ci­at­ing and under­stand­ing them if we want our own mean­ings and real­ity to be under­stood and appre­ci­ated by oth­ers. Only then can we aspire to start hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions as adults, and not as four-year-olds. We might even learn some­thing we didn’t know that we didn’t know. It’s time to grow up.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Are You A Yea Or A Naysayer?

Here is how you can, with one almost mag­i­cal touch, not only repair, but have your rela­tion­ship back again.
One of the first things I say in The Rela­tion­ship Saver is that if you want to start repair­ing your rela­tion­ship you will have to start agree­ing with your part­ner. The first think that may think about when I say this may be some­thing like, “Why or how should I agree when he/she ______.” Before you start defend­ing your posi­tion on this issue stop and think what result you want to achieve. I pre­sume that you want him/her to change their mind and agree with your point of view. Of course you do, because your point of view is bet­ter, right, fair, cor­rect, eas­ier, more log­i­cal, etc., and, it may very well be so. But, again, think about what out­come you want and whether forc­ing the out­come would work. You might have noticed that it does not, espe­cially in con­fronting sit­u­a­tions. When your rela­tion­ship is fine, when you are in love, when you have noth­ing to lose includ­ing your face and your pride it is easy to agree, but in a sit­u­a­tion when things are not going well, sur­vival kicks in and you are dri­ven to pro­tect your­self and coerce your part­ner to be on your side so that you can feel safe again. Say­ing no in such sit­u­a­tions is auto­matic, backed up with sheer hope that if you say no over and over again that some­how he/she will see the light. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it almost never works. Your part­ner finds him/herself in the same sit­u­a­tion like you, defend­ing his/her posi­tion and try­ing to sur­vive the sit­u­a­tion just as well as you do. So, your instinc­tual reac­tion to a dis­agree­ment from your part­ner is to dis­agree as well and then the rela­tion­ship rapidly spi­rals down­ward out of con­trol. Although it may be counter intu­itive, to stop the down­ward spi­ral from plum­met­ing you need to stop react­ing. Notice that re-action means tak­ing the same action over and over again. The way out of this quag­mire is to do some­thing totally oppo­site: AGREE. Start say­ing yes. Since no does not work any more, yes might, and this is why. Say­ing yes is unex­pected. It inter­feres with the flow of the down­ward spi­ral, stops the process of react­ing to one another. When he says that he is going to do some­thing that you may not agree with and you put a cog in the wheel by say­ing okay, at that moment he will have to take respon­si­bil­ity for his actions. At that moment he does not have to react to you any more by doing it “just because ______.” By say­ing yes you may not stop her from doing what she is bent on doing any­way, but by being okay with what­ever she wants to do you will stop the ani­mosi­ties in your rela­tion­ship. I should men­tion that by say­ing yes it does not mean that you actu­ally want your part­ner to go through with his choice action, and of course he will know that , but what you will do is show respect for his deci­sions even if you do not like them.

As you might have noticed, say­ing Nay most often does not make the world com­ply with our wishes, but by say­ing Yea we get in tune and agree­ment with real­ity instead ask­ing real­ity to change to our wishes. It never does any­way. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver one of the first rules for repair­ing your rela­tion­ship is being happy. It is no coin­ci­dence that the first rule of com­edy improv is never to say “no”, because it stops the con­ver­sa­tion in it’s tracks. You must have heard it before that if you want to have a effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion never say “yes but” because it has the same mean­ing as no. Instead you may say “yes and” which means “I agree”. Agree­ing with your part­ner is another rec­om­men­da­tion of The Rela­tion­ship Saver.

In con­clu­sion, the first step to change is being able to be pro­foundly related to what is. Unless you are able to fall in line with the real­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, you have no hope of chang­ing it. Liv­ing in a la-la land of your thoughts and wishes, divorced from real­ity and negat­ing it, is not only inef­fec­tive and unre­al­is­tic, it is down­right child­ish. It is time to grow up even if you do not want to, for your own sake!!!

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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On Being Right II

Hav­ing trou­ble in your rela­tion­ship?  Here are three sug­ges­tions how to get it going again.

1.  Give up your right to be right.

It feels sooo good to be right!  I do not know a sin­gle per­son who does not enjoy it. It makes us smart, intu­itive, more respected and liked. Right? Not really. Espe­cially in our rela­tion­ship, when we insist on being right, fight over an issue, try to prove our­selves, look for approval, and behave aggres­sively. In fact, when we try to be right we make it impos­si­ble to have a con­ver­sa­tion. We can’t really talk to each other, and there­fore, we can’t be in a relationship.

How many rela­tion­ships do you know that have fallen apart due to one person’s unwill­ing­ness to give up the right to be right? You may even say: “But he/she was right. It’s the fact. I know it”. But it really comes down to a mat­ter of pri­or­i­ties. What is your pri­or­ity when it comes to a dis­agree­ment; to be right and dam­age your rela­tion­ship, or to really com­mu­ni­cate and help your rela­tion­ship flourish?

Giv­ing up your right to be right does not mean that you are going to let any­one abuse you in any way. It just means allow­ing the other per­son to have their point of view, which you are will­ing to con­sider, or agree to disagree.

If you are right, then you make the other per­son WRONG. No one likes to be wrong.  It would be much smarter to lis­ten to the other per­son and rec­og­nize what works with their point of view instead of what does not.

2.  Lis­ten

Most of us pre­fer to be heard, to say what we want to say, to express our­selves, to get our point across. What would it look like if all of us would do that all the time out loud? There would be no one to lis­ten. Every­one would be talk­ing. In fact, this is exactly what is hap­pen­ing all the time, except that we are talk­ing to our­selves while pre­tend­ing to lis­ten. We even pre­tend with our body lan­guage to lis­ten when instead we are judg­ing and assess­ing, eval­u­at­ing, think­ing about what we would say next, think­ing about some­thing entirely dif­fer­ent, or just sim­ply check­ing out. We have so much invested in what we think that we actu­ally believe that our own real­ity is the only valid and the right one, that only our inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings are real, good, right and true. We do not even try to con­sider other peo­ples views. We just com­pare them with our own views. If they match, then they are right.  If they don’t, then they are wrong. What’s more, we have fixed expec­ta­tions about what we will hear from the other per­son – espe­cially the ones close to us –that we have already decided about it. We hear what we want to hear and NOT what’s being said. What are the chances of the other per­son say­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and actu­ally being heard? As far as you are con­cerned, the chances are prob­a­bly nonexistent.

Con­sider how your rela­tion­ship, and in fact your life, would change if you were to lis­ten to the other per­son as if they may have some­thing cru­cially impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate to you. What if you could actu­ally learn some­thing extra­or­di­nary if you only lis­tened with­out all the thoughts that fill your mind? You might actu­ally hear some­thing. You might even dis­cover some­thing won­der­ful and new about the other per­son that would be so sur­pris­ing to you, and your whole rela­tion­ship might shift. We were not given two ears and one mouth for noth­ing. Just con­sider that.  Try it out. Your rela­tion­ship will improve by leaps and bounds.

3.  Be vulnerable

Both of the above skills require you to let your guard down. By talk­ing and being right we think we are assert­ing our­selves. Instead what is really hap­pen­ing is that our ego takes con­trol.  Our ego has only one agenda: to be right in order to sur­vive. We are still dri­ven by the neces­sity to sur­vive a saber-tooth tiger, but our lower brain with thou­sands of years pro­gram­ming does not dis­tin­guish between a saber-tooth tiger and a sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion. In for both cases adren­a­lin kicks in. So, every con­ver­sa­tion auto­mat­i­cally becomes a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion for us. The only thing that will save us from this self-destructive behav­ior, is to use our abil­ity to self-reflect and become highly self-aware, to observe our thoughts, feel­ings and actions. In other words, ask your­self a ques­tion: What the hell am I doing? Am I under­min­ing my rela­tion­ship and my hap­pi­ness by try­ing to sur­vive? Sur­vive WHAT? My recommendation…learn to be vul­ner­a­ble. There is really noth­ing to sur­vive. The only way to have a great rela­tion­ship is to let your guard down and be vul­ner­a­ble. Besides, being vul­ner­a­ble is very charm­ing and attrac­tive.  Try it!

Aware­ness exercise:

•    How impor­tant to you is it to be right in a con­ver­sa­tion?  (scale of 1 to 10)
•    Think of some past con­ver­sa­tion that has dam­aged your rela­tion­ship. Was it worth it?
•    Pay atten­tion to what goes on in your mind when you are lis­ten­ing to some­one talk­ing, espe­cially when you have some­thing invested in the out­come.
•    Notice your feel­ings when you think you are in a vul­ner­a­ble position.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Relationships On Automatic

Yes­ter­day we went to see the movie 500 Days of Sum­mer. It was a love story, a rela­tion­ship story, which left me very unset­tled and frus­trated. As I was leav­ing the the­ater I kept ask­ing myself, what was it that was mak­ing me so uncom­fort­able, even angry? Since anger almost always comes from loss of power, I started search­ing for the source of the pow­er­less­ness that I felt.  Then it dawned on me that the char­ac­ters in the movie had no con­trol over their feel­ings and actions and they did not know why or how things were hap­pen­ing to them. Obvi­ously I was iden­ti­fy­ing with the male char­ac­ter in the movie. Both of them were like leaves in the wind of life. It all was very real. I bet that the screen­writ­ers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber must have had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences to be able to make a movie this powerful.

Such behav­iors which are com­pletely auto­matic, with which we are so force­fully genet­i­cally pro­grammed that we are pow­er­less when faced with it, are preva­lent in humans and although they may be counter pro­duc­tive in today’s soci­ety, they pos­i­tively rule our lives.  In order to start solv­ing a prob­lem, one must first cor­rectly iden­tify the core of the prob­lem. So, this led me to the ques­tion: “If I had to choose one thing that dri­ves each gen­der what would it be?”

From all my expe­ri­ence with peo­ple’ s rela­tion­ships, as well as my own, I came to the con­clu­sion that the bot­tom line rea­son for female behav­iors is SURVIVAL and for males it is CONTROL. Many peo­ple would say that feel­ings are what drive women, and power and sta­tus are what drive men, but both boil down to sur­vival and con­trol. This totally makes sense when you con­sider that women are directly respon­si­ble for the sur­vival of the species and that “self­ish gene.” On the other hand, man’s duty is to pro­tect and ensure that their “self­ish gene” will sur­vive too and the best way to do that is to make some sense and order and take con­trol of this world.

So is there any­thing we can do about it? Yes, I think so and that is to stop resist­ing our nat­ural devel­op­ment, EVOLUTION. We must evolve in order to sur­vive. By evolv­ing I mean adapt­ing to the ever-growing com­plex­ity of the prob­lems we face.  Here we are again, hav­ing to iden­tify a prob­lem before we can tackle it. So, In order to over­come our thou­sands of years of pro­gram­ming we must repro­gram our genetic infor­ma­tion and bring it up to date.  (Sci­en­tists are find­ing that it is not only pos­si­ble but that is nat­u­rally hap­pen­ing all the time from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. Our actions and behav­iors today will impact gen­er­a­tions to come.) The first step is to stop resist­ing it and argu­ing against it and become aware and present to its power over us, dis­tin­guish it as such, as often out­dated auto­matic behav­ior and bring our free choice into play. Are we ready for it? Some are and some are not. Only the future will tell.  So, go and see the movie and try to look at it through the lens of sur­vival and con­trol for woman and man respectively.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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On Looking Good

If there is one drive that all humans have apart from their sex­ual drive, it must be the desire to look good. By look­ing good I don’t mean just visu­ally but also intel­lec­tu­ally. What con­sti­tutes look­ing good varies from per­son to per­son. The com­mon denom­i­na­tor prob­a­bly is avoid­ing not being good enough. In all these years of coach­ing peo­ple I have never come across a sin­gle per­son who deep inside truly thought that he is good enough. This, of course, applies to women too. Appear­ance is every­thing. What will oth­ers think about you? Do you come across as stu­pid, incom­pe­tent, not lov­able, too old or too young, not sexy enough, not beau­ti­ful, rich, respected, well dressed enough? The list goes on. Pick your own rea­sons as to why and in which area you think you are not good enough. So now you may think what has that got to do with rela­tion­ships. Maybe you already have an inkling.

But first let’s quickly sum­ma­rize where this deep “know­ing” of some­thing being wrong with us comes from. It comes from our beliefs, which are mostly formed before our age of seven or so. Some­thing kept hap­pen­ing and we inter­preted it as if it was our fault, and if only we were some­how dif­fer­ent that would not have been hap­pen­ing. Well, with­out our know­ing it we could not have inter­preted it any other way because up to that age we are very self-centered and we are not able to see the world as sep­a­rate from us.

Then we become adults and for­get about the source of the deci­sions we made when we were five and keep believ­ing that that’s who we are — sad, but true. Now all the rest of our lives we try to com­pen­sate for our not being “good enough” by prov­ing that we are, pre­tend­ing, and try­ing to appear as good enough by doing every­thing to be attrac­tive, loved, respected, accepted, approved of, etc. In other words, we are imple­ment­ing our “sur­vival strat­egy,” not being aware that we do not need one in the first place. The orig­i­nal con­clu­sion, of which we for­got the source, was faulty and for the rest of our lives we are try­ing to cor­rect a nonex­is­tent wrong.

This is where the notion of love comes in. You can­not love any­one if you do not love your­self first, it is said. In other words, how can you sat­isfy one of the basic com­po­nents in your rela­tion­ship, i.e., to love your part­ner, if your focus is on look­ing good and pre­tend­ing to be some­one you are not, which is bound to come out in almost all the con­ver­sa­tions and espe­cially the ones where you are not in agree­ment with your partner.

So, now, start notic­ing when you are not being “you”, but some­one who you think you “should” be. How often do you still try to meet some­one else’s expec­ta­tions (like your father’s or your mother’s)? How often you feel uncom­fort­able because you “must” look good. You see, the whole life is one big med­i­ta­tion, being aware where you pre­tend and by pre­tend­ing you squan­der a chance of plea­sure to be authen­tic, your true self. This is who your part­ner or spouse want you to be – just you. Don’t you?

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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Are You In An Abusive Marriage?

Are You In An Abu­sive Mar­riage?
Copy­right © 2007 Cathi Adams
Divorce Secrets

If a woman is not phys­i­cally or sex­u­ally abused by her hus­band,
peo­ple gen­er­ally con­clude there is no abuse. But women should
give this ques­tion more seri­ous thought. Abuse need not be
ver­bal, phys­i­cal or sex­ual. These types of abuse are suf­fi­cient
grounds to head straight for the divorce courts because a
phys­i­cally or sex­u­ally abu­sive part­ner needs pro­fes­sional help.

Abuse is a dan­ger­ous ele­ment in a mar­riage. Some­times, divorce is
the only solu­tion because a woman who is con­sis­tently abused will
have noth­ing left of her soul. Her self-esteem dis­ap­pears and she
will begin to think that she deserves nei­ther respect nor love
from her hus­band. She will uncon­sciously heap the blame on
her­self for the unhappy mar­riage. Men who con­sciously or
uncon­sciously ver­bally abuse their wives are not aware of the
con­se­quences of their deeds. Some­times ver­bal abuse can be worse
than phys­i­cal abuse.

There is, how­ever, another kind of abuse that can occur in a
mar­riage and is often ignored because no phys­i­cal harm is
involved. We’re refer­ring to eco­nomic abuse or more com­monly
known as eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion. This type of abuse is rarely
dis­cussed in ther­apy cir­cles because it takes a back seat to
phys­i­cal, ver­bal or sex­ual abuse.

Suf­fice it to say that eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion can be just as
emo­tion­ally dev­as­tat­ing to a woman. Imag­ine a once vibrant woman
who, when sin­gle, had a good cor­po­rate job, earned an excel­lent
salary and had the respect of her col­leagues at work. One day she
meets the man of her dreams and falls in love. They get mar­ried,
but lit­tle does she know that he wants her to stay home and be a
full time home­maker. She becomes preg­nant even if she isn’t
ready to be a mother. Deep down, she feels that she is hap­pi­est
when pur­su­ing her career.

How is a woman like her who thrives in an intel­lec­tual milieu
going to fare when faced with eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion by her
husband?

Eco­nomic abuse in a mar­riage is evi­dent in these circumstances:

* telling his wife to quit her job so she can stay home and take
care of the kids,

* con­fis­cat­ing his wife’s assets and other finan­cial resources
and for­bid­ding her from han­dling money or incur­ring expenses that
he does not allow,

* using his wife’s finan­cial assets to his advan­tage and
depriv­ing her of her rights to enjoy what is finan­cially and
right­fully hers,

* tak­ing away his wife’s credit cards and pro­vid­ing only a
suf­fi­cient amount of money to pay for the day-to-day.

A vari­a­tion of this eco­nomic abuse is also appar­ent in a
rela­tion­ship where the hus­band allows his wife to work, but
regains con­trol of her pay check and does not give her the
oppor­tu­nity to make any finan­cial deci­sions. We once knew a woman
at work who made good money and who man­aged to rise up the ranks
because she was hard­work­ing and knew how to make her­self
indis­pens­able to the com­pany. She never joined her co-workers for
lunch out­ings or shop­ping sprees because she didn’t have a
sin­gle cent on her. We asked her once why she never had any money
on her when every­one else was envi­ous of her salary.

Her answer: “My hus­band con­trols the purse strings. I don’t know
what he does with my pay check. I dare not ask.”

Are you in a mar­riage where you suf­fer from eco­nomic abuse?

———————————————————————
© 2007 Cathi Adams.

Cathi Adams is the author of “Divorce Secrets: What Every Women
Should Know.” This invalu­able resource pro­vides steps to ensure
finan­cial secu­rity to woman faced with the pos­si­bil­ity of
divorce. Visit her web site for a FREE report –What You
Absolutely Must Know Before You Even THINK About Get­ting
A Divorce: http://www.DivorceDefense.com

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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Responsibility In Relationships I

This should have been my first entry, but since the issue of respon­si­bil­ity is time­less this may be just as good a time as any to bring it up and clear some air about rela­tion­ships in gen­eral, and your rela­tion­ships and my writ­ing in par­tic­u­lar. So, since you are read­ing this blog I’ll make it about you. Let’s con­sider that the qual­ity of your rela­tion­ship has NOTHING to do with your part­ner and EVERYTHING to do with YOU. In other words you are the one who is 100% respon­si­ble and has the say-so how it goes for you. This, of course is not the truth, but I invite you to start act­ing as if it is and notice what mag­ick may occur.

Now, how resis­tant are you to this notion? Take a lit­tle time and think about it. Does it empower you or does it DIS­em­power you?

Before you try to answer this ques­tion a few words about respon­si­bil­ity. When I say 100% respon­si­ble we need to be on the same page, i.e. we need to agree what is meant by respon­si­bil­ity. In this con­text what I mean by respon­si­bil­ity is NOT bur­den, fault, blame, credit, shame or guilt. Respon­si­bil­ity sim­ply starts with say­ing you are cause in the mat­ter and that you are able to choose a response. You may not be able to choose what hap­pens, but you are always able to choose how you will respond to it as opposed to sim­ply auto­mat­i­cally react to an event or a sit­u­a­tion. In tak­ing such respon­si­bil­ity there is no eval­u­a­tion of good or bad, right or wrong. There is only the stand that you take and the real­ity of what is.

Being respon­si­ble starts with the will­ing­ness to deal with a sit­u­a­tion from the point of view that you are the gen­er­a­tor of who you are, what you do  (how you choose to respond) and what you have. Again, that is not the truth. It is just a place to stand.

Now, in this con­text does being respon­si­ble make you more or less in con­trol of your life? Is being respon­si­ble an empow­er­ing way to be?

Take every chance to be responsible.

Best regards,

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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Teenage Relationships

A while ago I was inter­viewed by a jour­nal­ist from South Africa by e-mail about teenage rela­tion­ships. I thought you may like it … and hope to get you inspired to com­ment or ask ques­tions. So, here it is:

Lita Fifield-Weaver wrote:
Hello again
Thank you for let­ting me ask you some ques­tions, sorry I can’t ring as I live in New Zealand.

1. What com­mon thread do you see in fail­ing relationships?

All happy fam­i­lies are alike, but an unhappy fam­ily is unhappy after its own fash­ion.“
Leo Tol­stoy (1828 — 1910)
Lack of the basic Four Prin­ci­ples that must be present in every healthy and suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship: integrity, sense of respon­si­bil­ity, com­mit­ment and love. (To find out more about these I enclose my book The Game­less Rela­tion­ship) There are as many rea­sons as there are peo­ple as to why they are not able to keep the afore men­tioned prin­ci­ples in their lives. Rea­sons vary from imma­tu­rity to alco­holism, per­sonal beliefs acquired while grow­ing up to present life con­di­tions, get­ting together for the wrong rea­sons and abu­sive rela­tion­ships. Feel free to make up your own.
2. Is there a down­side to help­ing peo­ple with relationships?

No, if you rig­or­ously sup­port them in devel­op­ing the Four Prin­ci­ples. It hap­pens often enough, though that peo­ple real­ize that both of them would be bet­ter off if they split up. That does not mean that they have to be strangers or ene­mies. Peo­ple who do not under­stand the Four Prin­ci­ples as well as the pro­found dif­fer­ences between mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine nature should not barge into other people’s relationships.

3. What meth­ods do you use to help cou­ples or indi­vid­u­als with their relationships?

I don’t think that I am using any par­tic­u­lar method. I am a per­sonal coach. So, after hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple I usu­ally very quickly get to the bot­tom of the prob­lem and some­times have to use cer­tain meth­ods to remove the bar­ri­ers to their aware­ness to what is really going on and what kind of games they play. I find that a lack of self esteem and ingrained beliefs are most com­mon cause of problems.

4. You have a daugh­ter, does she, or did she come to you for help with her relationships?

Yes, and I am proud of it. When­ever she asks for help I have to put my “coach­ing hat” on, stop being a father (which is not easy) and become a coach. So far I have suc­ceeded, and so has she.

5. Have you used your own skills to improve your relationship?

Lately, yes, but, I wish I knew 20 years ago what I know now .

6. Are there cer­tain  per­son­al­ity types which are more suited to estab­lish­ing  a long-term rela­tion­ship in life?

I don’t believe so, con­trary, I am sure, to so many astrologers, and typologists.

7. What are the advan­tages of a long term rela­tion­ship early on in life?

I don’t see any. Men are ready when they are ready and women are ready (for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons) when they are. It is impor­tant that per­son is mature and will­ing. For some peo­ple it hap­pens at 16 and for some never.

8. Is it more com­mon that in some cul­tures peo­ple get mar­ried when they are older rather than younger?

It looks like that peo­ple in the West get in long term rela­tion­ships later in life. Fam­ily bonds and fam­ily sup­port in the West are much weaker, so peo­ple have to rely more on their own per­sonal strength to sus­tain a healthy rela­tion­ship, and that comes only with a cer­tain level of maturity.

9. What do you believe is your biggest suc­cess in life? Why?

I stopped smok­ing in 1983 after 20 years of smok­ing 3 packs a day. To beat addic­tion of any kind is the biggest suc­cess that one can have, in my opinion.

10. Is there any advice your regret giv­ing some­one? Why?

I do not regret any because, luck­ily, peo­ple never lis­tened to my bad advice. I am much bet­ter at it nowadays.

11. You want your clients to be at their best at al times,

Every­body is ALWAYS at their best. That is the law of real­ity. Peo­ple would always do bet­ter if they could. So they are always per­fect exactly the way they are and exactly the way they are not, NOW. (Please see The Game­less Rela­tion­ship chap­ter on Love)

12. But how do you man­i­fest your best?

You always do. The ques­tion is who you are going to be NEXT?

13. Have you dealt with arranged marriages/relationships in your trav­el­ling to Kuwait, Yugoslavia  and the United States, what bar­ri­ers did you have to over come in these circumstances?

In many cases, espe­cially in tribal and closed soci­eties arranged mar­riages work well. If they don’t, the peo­ple who had arranged the mar­riages did not see the pos­si­ble pit­falls. In a fast chang­ing world as it is today it is very dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the cir­cum­stances which may influ­ence peo­ple to change.

14. What are you opin­ions on teenage relationships?

It is only nat­ural that teenagers will form rela­tion­ships. It is a parental duty to edu­cate their teenagers. This is mostly done by the exam­ple of their rela­tion­ship with each other and their fam­ily mem­bers, strangers, and most impor­tantly by hav­ing a great rela­tion­ship with their chil­dren from day one. If they leave it until the time the chil­dren become teenagers, it is more often than not too late. The prob­lem is that the knowl­edge that the par­ents have about rela­tion­ships is what they’ve learned from THEIR par­ents which may not be very help­ful two gen­er­a­tions later.

15. Do you believe that teen rela­tion­ships are a dis­trac­tion? Why/why not?

Dis­trac­tion from what? School, maybe, life, no.

16. What is a healthy relationship?

We usu­ally know when we see one: peo­ple are happy, free, fully self expressed, ful­filled, love is present, etc. In other words they have the Four Prin­ci­ples as a part of their life, although they may even not know it if you ask them about it.

17. Look­ing back now, would you change any­thing about your life?

No, life is per­fect exactly as it is and it is per­fect exactly as it is not.

Radomir
The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


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Do You Act Or React?

React­ing means to act again, re–act. React­ing is based on what we already know and often so well that we do it auto­mat­i­cally. Some reac­tions are very use­ful for our sur­vival, like pulling our hand back from a hot fur­nace or jump­ing away from an oncom­ing car. In other words when our bod­ies sense dan­ger we react with­out think­ing. This kind of reac­tion is all very well in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, but the part­ner in our rela­tion­ship may end the rela­tion­ship very quickly with­out our even being aware that our reac­tions are auto­matic and counter to our best inter­est. So, what is the mech­a­nism of reac­tion? If we can be become acutely aware of this mech­a­nism when­ever we are in a sit­u­a­tion to react, or in other words, when our but­tons are being pushed, our rela­tion­ships and our lives may look com­pletely dif­fer­ent; we could be much more evenly bal­anced, avoid prob­lems and expe­ri­ence a much higher degree of hap­pi­ness. React­ing is a very use­ful sur­vival tool, it is based on learn­ing from experience.

Some expe­ri­ences are use­ful to remem­ber and remem­ber­ing them at the right moment can save our behind. The prob­lem arises when we react to the present sit­u­a­tion which is SIMILAR to the past ones. For instance, you were bit­ten by a snake once and now you are afraid of every­thing that crawls, like lizards and such. An exam­ple closer to rela­tion­ships would be that if you had an abu­sive father, now you think ALL men are abu­sive. Another exam­ple would be that your par­ents always told you what to do and now you get angry and resis­tant to ANYONE even ask­ing you to  do some­thing. If you thought that your par­ents did not love you, you will think that any­one who expresses their love to you is phony and lying or not hon­est. In these sit­u­a­tions you often tend to blame oth­ers for “mak­ing you feel that way” or “mak­ing you do cer­tain things”. So, you get the idea; cer­tain words and behav­iors by oth­ers push your but­tons or trig­ger mem­o­ries of the past and you are sim­ply RE-acting your past. You have no choice and no free will in the mat­ter. You can now begin to see how this auto­matic behav­ior can be detri­men­tal to your rela­tion­ship. But all is not lost. You actu­ally can take respon­si­bil­ity for your but­tons; they are yours after all and if you didn’t have them nobody would have any­thing to push.

This brings us to the alter­na­tive. Being respon­si­ble for your actions means that you are able to respond, thus response—able. What does this actu­ally mean, and more impor­tantly, how do you be response—able? For most peo­ple respon­si­bil­ity is bur­den, fault, blame, credit, shame or guilt. I sug­gest that if you take respon­si­bil­ity as will­ing­ness to deal with the sit­u­a­tion from the point of view that you are the one who has a choice about how you are going to act in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion, you are going to gain power beyond your wildest imag­i­na­tion. Some­one said there is a moment between any stim­u­lus and a response and the choices that you make inside that win­dow of oppor­tu­nity is what your life depends on.  As you can see, respon­si­bil­ity is a mat­ter of free choice; it is an exer­cise in free will. Respond­ing is not sub­ject to your feel­ings or cog­ni­tion. It is inten­tional choice in accor­dance with your val­ues, ethics and morals and not some fleet­ing feel­ing, asso­ci­a­tion or thought. These belong in the cat­e­gory of reac­tions so it fol­lows that auto­matic reac­tions are irre­spon­si­ble actions. Now it becomes obvi­ous that no one can make you feel or do any­thing, ever. I do under­stand though that every action has its con­se­quences, but you are ulti­mately the one who will make the choice about what con­se­quences your actions will have.

Now that we have dis­tin­guished react­ing and respond­ing, I hope you can see that tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for any­thing and every­thing that hap­pens to you in your life, no mat­ter how unrea­son­able it may be, will make you more con­tent, pow­er­ful, suc­cess­ful and ulti­mately hap­pier than merely react­ing to what hap­pens to you.
Take charge of your life: be responsible.

Radomir

The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


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Relationship Help

After deal­ing with thou­sands of peo­ple and their rela­tion­ships, it became very obvi­ous to me that the peo­ple who are look­ing for rela­tion­ship help usu­ally seek it after they have exhausted all the knowl­edge and tricks they them­selves had up their sleeve. By the time they start look­ing for rela­tion­ship help, it is often, if not too late, then at least more dif­fi­cult to get the rela­tion­ship help that would work than if they had started look­ing at the first signs of trouble.

So, what are the sources that peo­ple look for when they need rela­tion­ship help? As I men­tioned above, they first try to do what­ever they think would work. Unfor­tu­nately, solu­tions to a prob­lem can­not be found in the mind of the per­son who cre­ated the prob­lem in the first place, to para­phrase Albert Ein­stein. Rela­tion­ship help almost always must come from the out­side. At this point it must be said that not all that is intended to be “rela­tion­ship help” is actu­ally help­ful. The rule of the thumb is that the closer the per­son is to the trou­bled par­tic­i­pants in a rela­tion­ship, the less mean­ing­ful help they can offer. Our logic will tell us that the “closer the per­son is to me, like friends and fam­ily, the more they care about me and the bet­ter advice they will give me.” Not so. Rela­tion­ship help may eas­ily turn to rela­tion­ship hell when all the emo­tions of the peo­ple who care about you con­verge with your own. Rela­tion­ship help can come only from an unat­tached indi­vid­ual who has no stake in the rela­tion­ship one way or another.

Rela­tion­ship help is best pro­vided by peo­ple who can see the sit­u­a­tion clearly and who are neu­tral so that they can read between the lines and uncover the blind spots, thus cre­at­ing a dif­fer­ent con­text from which a dif­fer­ent point of view of the sit­u­a­tion can emerge. Rela­tion­ship help is also best pro­vided by pro­fes­sion­als in the field and often by older, wise peo­ple. The range of pro­fes­sion­als who offer rela­tion­ship help is vast. It ranges from social work­ers, doc­tors, psy­chol­o­gists, psy­chi­a­trists, coun­selors and coaches. Which one is best for you depends what state you are in. If you suf­fer from severe depres­sion or a men­tal dis­or­der, then doc­tors, psy­chol­o­gists and even psy­chi­a­trists may be for you. If you have a rel­a­tively small prob­lem and you are men­tally healthy, then a social worker or a coach may be your answer. Also, it is a good idea to con­sult a social worker first if you sus­pect a men­tal dis­or­der. From the feed­back I receive, rela­tion­ship help does not seem to be very fruit­ful if it comes from mar­riage coun­selors. This is not about coun­selors; the sys­tem is set up that way. It seems to be out­dated for most sit­u­a­tions. It pre­sumes that both part­ners want to get rela­tion­ship help when, in fact, many cou­ples go to coun­selors together just because one part­ner wants help with their rela­tion­ship but other is resist­ing it. In other words, one per­son wants to stay in and other one wants out.

I find, that at this stage a good coach often rec­og­nizes that the only per­son who can make a dif­fer­ence in a rela­tion­ship is the one who wants to keep it, the one who seeks help. There­fore, why bother with a destruc­tive party at all. Focus on and give rela­tion­ship help to a per­son who is com­mit­ted to the rela­tion­ship, the premise here being that a) peo­ple REACT to each other and b) no one can change any­one else with­out their consent.

So, if you want to keep the rela­tion­ship, you first need to see your rela­tion­ship in another con­text by hav­ing insights about what your part was in the rela­tion­ship break­down. Once you see that, the point of view about your rela­tion­ship changes and your behav­ior con­se­quently changes. When your behav­ior changes, your part­ner will react to THAT changed behav­ior and, voila, things turn around and a new rela­tion­ship is cre­ated. There­fore, if you think you may need help with your rela­tion­ship do not waste time try­ing to fix it your­self because if you knew how, your rela­tion­ship would not be where it is now.

I sug­gest you check out The Rela­tion­ship Saver first (http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/) . It may be just all you need to get help with your rela­tion­ship. In case your rela­tion­ship is “just fine, thank you”, you still may want to read The Game­less Rela­tion­ship (http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/) if you want to have an awe­some one

Good luck!

Love

Radomir
The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


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