How do you feel about your relationship? Is there perhaps a sense of uncertainty or doubt always swimming in your head? Does it give you comfort, joy, happiness and courage? Does the future look bright? Does it dissipate a lot of your energies through arguments, confrontations and tip-toeing over mine fields? Do you tend to spend a lot of time in justifying and explaining instead of building on what is obvious?

Why do relationships matter so much anyway? Is it because they can be a source of joy and happiness but also endless frustration and suffering? Perhaps.

I think they matter because they ultimately define us and shape our our wider relationship with life and ourselves. Perhaps this is a tad too philosophical but I’m sure it can easily be grasped as basic truth.

Furthermore, health, balance and a successful relationship can become a wealthy source of positive creativity because it secures your mental well being and prevents your creative resources and energies from being dissipated by it.

But what are the ingredients for a successfull relationship?  Many people have their own I’m sure.

Here is a teaspoon of wisdom from my own epxerience in a few short points:

1. Be aware of that compulsive need to react: There are days we are jumpy more than others but in general we tend to react to a comment, criticism or a behaviour we didn’t fancy so much. Firing a reaction often leads to worsen or complicate things into a snowball effect. Be aware of this and consciously and intentionally refrain from that automatic urge to react.

2. Take a few seconds before countering a proposal or argument: Defensiveness is a very bad ally in relationships. You know how it is, your partner comes up with a proposal or argument that challenges your plan or idea and immediately you are in defense or counter-attack mode – deploying those verbal torpedos to crackdown on the dissenting party. As in the point before, be conscious and take a few seconds to consider the other’s point of view before rushing into an emotional response.

3. List your common objectives more often than your differences: All people in a relationship have differences between them – it’s what relationships are. There might be differences in opinion, attitude, emotional dispositions and in the general way of doing things. Not all differences are bad. On the other hand we don’t need to constantly fixate or elenchate those differences that are challenging. Stop summoning them up which is different from not dealing with them. You need to focus more on the common objectives more often. This will give you enough space to accommodate certain differences and deal with them in a more positive way.

4. Keep in check your body language: This is something I learnt only recently…but never too late right? Sometimes we are discussing, arguing or confronting someone and while our tone, language and volume is OK our bodies are saying something very different. Notice it next time you are in this situation. How does your body talk? Is it agitated? Are you pointing fingers or extending your arms too much? Are you taking a position of dominance or defence? Are you aggressively defining your space with your movements? Sounds funny but it’s actually a very serious business if you learn to notice it and control it. (more…)

12 Essential Ingredients for a Successful Relationship

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