When my bosses failed to reward my work exactly as I thought they should, I talked trash about them and carried around a big grudge. Then, they started treating me worse and I didn’t comprehend my part of that equation.
My negative, reactive (vs. proactive) behaviors were making matters worse and repelling the people I wanted to attract.
It’s a very common problem in work and in romance.
No one likes being around bitter people.
Respect yourself enough to refuse the victim status. Ask questions. Speak truth. Set boundaries. Move on if necessary.
Mature people are sexy.
And arguing about “what loveable is” or attacking those who don’t love us won’t get us more love. Finding out how others see us, accepting that reality and acting productively does.
Our health, relationships, jobs, and special concerns have a (significant and scientifically-proven) statistical advantage of survival if…wait for it…we learn to state our opinions on emotionally-charged issues honestly and respectfully.
Most of us don’t, and skillfully blame the other party for our failure, i.e., “They don’t listen to me,” “They think they are always right,” “I tried,” “It doesn’t do any good,” etc. When the actual truth is: our approach fails to provide a safe place for the exchange of real information.
Getting better results is easier than we think. We just have to be humble enough to learn, prepare, and practice new skills.
If, instead, we choose to do what we have always done, we must accept the consequences…
- The costly games we play sabotage our jobs, relationships, and plans.
- Relationship stress and frustration break down our immune systems.
- 75% of all violent crimes are committed against family members, coworkers, friends, and neighbors.
Neil Gaiman’s delightful short story, Calendar Tales, contains a vignette about a woman who finds a genie in a lamp. When the genie asks for her three wishes, she says, “I’m good.” Eventually, the genie gives up asking, but stays around, settles in, and becomes her partner. One day she asks him if he has any wishes. He says, “I’m good.”
Relationship 101 lessons:
- Contentment, self-reliance, and confidence are great for attracting the perfect partner.
- There is nothing sweeter than a good relationship with ourselves…and, then, someone to share it with.
Sometimes, I wonder at the richness of my life. I am not wealthy or famous or young and beautiful. Yet, I have what I always wanted: a clear conscience, people to love, and work that makes a difference.
Being left, fired, rejected, or cheated upon is, no doubt, a painful experience. However, if we find ourselves in one of these situations, here are some critical considerations:
- We can’t make people love us. The right people will.
- We have hurt people too…accidentally, selfishly, or because we were afraid to tell the truth. Forgive.
- Playing the victim won’t fix anything. Move on.
- Many people born with disabilities, disease, or deformities will never have romantic love or employment. Keep it in perspective.
- Sometimes, it’s our fault. Buck up and own it.
- It’s easier to bear when we learn to love, forgive, and honor ourselves.
- Watch what you say. (Our words define who we are not who they are.) Besides, Social media has enough poor-me-finger-pointing-cry-baby jerk-bashers already.
My romantic relationships and my work relationships improved when I quit worrying about how I was being perceived, or how I was being treated, what had just happened, or what was going to happen next. So did my tennis game. And my relationship with my kids and in-laws. And my health. And my joy. And my ability to have a good night’s sleep.
It took me over thirty years to figure that out with relationships. Over ten with something as inconsequential as tennis. Still working on it with new clients, new challenges, and strangers.
Most of us spend our waking hours splintered out in so many directions that we don’t even know what true focus is. People who bring their complete attention and focus with them wherever they go are so rare that when we are lucky enough to meet one, we cannot forget them. They are distilled and refreshing power: the power we have always longed for.
The reason that what you read is more important in the long term than the man you marry is because the heart needs training from books in order to absorb, appreciate, and honor events and individuals in our lives enough to be equal to them. Otherwise, we are subject to the vicissitudes of every wave, every challenge, and every disappointment.
Men…and women…even fantastic men and women, can never be all or enough for the deep need of our hearts; our hearts that are born in the deep well of eternity.
I totally love Nina George for saying this through her character in this good book.
Not a pick-up line that the average Joe would use, but it unexpectedly brought great love into the lives of two strangers.
Chris Dempsey said he was in the break room one day when he overheard a guy talking about this woman who needed a liver donor. “I spent four years in the Marine Corps and learned there never to run away from anything. So I just said to myself, ‘Hey, if I can help, I’m going to help.’”
What a response! And what a great reminder of a no-strings-attached generosity that attracts the right people into our lives.
Most of us want two things from a partner: 1) strength and independence, and 2) generosity. Chris Dempsey sure had that nailed.
Want better results with romance? Start here.
Story and photo courtesy of CBS Evening News.
My husband told me he had only one more email to write, then he would completely focus upon me. I said, “It’s about frick’n time!” to which he responded, “On second thought, I have several more emails to write.”
The exchange was all in jest, but sadly, mimicked a real world saga of disconnect.
How often we lose what we most want by demanding, complaining, sneering, pushing, and/or whining! Then, when we finally get what we want, the joy (connection, relationship, etc.) has been completely squeezed out of it.
The simple formula is to be in the simple place of delight with the person with whom you desire connection. That place is where they first wanted you; that sweet place where you looked at them with gentle eyes.
“At first we saw only each other’s virtues
Now we are seeing only each other’s faults
If we make it through this latter stage
then maybe we will see each other
and truly be friends.”
– Hugh Prather
I had a dream about a “relationship gun” that would fix fading romances. All you had to do was point it at someone and it would shower them with delight and renew the former attraction.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist, but showering someone with delight is still a relationship fixer. We just have to remember to think about the things that we delight in instead of all the things we don’t.
(By the way, relationships with friends, coworkers, bosses, and neighbors can also be renewed with thoughts of delight and gratitude.)