Some people have the relationships of their dreams, but most people don’t. Most people are secretly suffering and settling — stuck wishing things were better without much chance of change.
What’s the difference? What keeps people trapped in dead end situations?
There are three main reasons why people don’t have the relationships of their dreams.
Reason #1: Blaming their partner for the problems. “It’s all their fault!”
The first and most obvious reason is blaming their partner for everything. They think, “If my partner would only change, things would
be perfect.” This is such an easy trap to fall into, but if you think about it, it’s very dis-empowering.
Because it implies that your future and happiness depends on somebody else changing. And when you think about how hard it is to change your own behavior (as in dieting, quitting smoking, working out, etc.) you start to realize that this strategy is not going to be very successful.
Reason #2: “People know what to do, but they’re not doing what they know.”
Some people don’t have the relationship of their dreams because they are not willing to do the things that they know would help transform the relationship.
This is often a spin-off of reason #1. After-all, “It’s their fault, why should I change?” It also may be because of past programming, conditioning and baggage. But whatever is stopping you, you may be unwilling to lead the transformation in your relationship.
Reason #3, “You are willing to change, you just don’t know what to change.”
The last reason you might not have the relationship of your dreams, is that you don’t know what to do.
You don’t have the tools, skills and training to deal with the emotional, impactful and important issues that come up in relationships without taking it personally or making it personal — without attacking or defending.
Doctors learn the language of medicine. Attorneys learn the language of law. Plumbers learn the language of pluming. And couples need to learn the language of compassion and understanding for relationships.
You may not have the specialized skills you need to listen effectively so your partner really wants to talk openly and vulnerably with you.(Most people don’t. not even doctors and lawyers. Look at their divorce rates!)
Or, you may not have the skills that will allow you to talk in a way that your partner will really want to listen and understand you.
When issues come up in a relationship here are some of the strategies people try:
First and foremost is the “Ignore It and Hope It Goes Away” strategy. This is by far the easiest strategy, and at the same time, the least effective.
Occasionally it does work because the level of drama and emotions is reduced. But usually it ends up in only suppressing the drama for the moment, but never resolving it.
The second strategy is asking friends and family for advice. Warning. be very careful about seeking advice from friends and family. Before you do, look at their relationships and see whether or not those relationships are ones you are envious of.
Do they walk their talk? If you followed their advice would you have the relationship of your dreams?
The third strategy is reading articles and books, listening to tapes and watching Dr. Phil or Oprah. I am all for this, as there are some amazing books out there by some great relationship experts. The drawback is that often times what you really need is much more of a hands-on approach.
You wouldn’t want to learn how to parachute from a book “The Idiots Guide To Jumping Out Of a Plane”. but once you know how to skydive, you can use a book for some fine tuning tips.
The fourth strategy is counseling and therapy. I will give you a mixed review on these. There are definitely people out there who can help you totally transform your relationship… but there are also people out there who are charging an awful lot of money and can’t even maintain a relationship of their own.
Most therapy is set up around solving a specific problem, rather than giving you the tools and training to be able to communicate about any issue with compassion, intimacy and understanding.
And then there’s the fifth and often most effective strategy: get yourself a relationship coach.
If you were going to lose weight or get in shape. there are three things you need, first a commitment, next a system you can stick to and lastly a good trainer or coach.
You need someone who will teach you, inspire you and if needed, kick you in the butt to keep on the path.
Getting your relationship in shape is not a quick fix. You don’t go to the gym once a year and actually expect any lasting results. Do you?
Seek a coach who is knowledgeable about HOW to improve your relationship – somebody who can give you the tools to dig out what’s bugging you from your past, and the skill to move through those issues in the present.
Seek a coach who will work with you compassionately. Dr. Phil is funny with his no-nonsense style of coaching (“Get over it!”). But there’s nothing like some compassion and empathy for where you’re at now – for your beautiful desire to improve things – even if your current strategies aren’t working.
Empathy goes a long way toward healing those old wounds. Start today.