By Paula O’Sullivan
Photo courtesy of pexels.com
I wish I’d been aware of the concept of a relationship bank account in my early years of relationships, it would have saved everyone concerned so much pain.
It was after reading Steven Covey’s book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ that I raised my awareness. I had been accused on many occasions over the years of ‘keeping score’, but in all honesty, I could see that things weren’t balanced. I was giving way more in my relationships and feeling more than a tad resentful. But there isn’t any blame in my mind now, I see that I didn’t have the confidence or the sense of worthiness to actually ask for what I wanted. I was caught up in my childhood conditioning of how I thought things were meant to be, based on the ways I saw relationships playing out around me. See my article ‘It’s a Generational Thing – Part 20’.
Healthy relationships aim to meet each other’s needs. If you consider the concept of ‘Evolve or Die’, all things must continue to grow, or they die. Ideas evolve or grow into plans and actions, or else they die as unfulfilled wishes. In the same way, relationships and friendships evolve with the building of trust, honesty, communication, clear expectations, integrity, little kindnesses, courtesies, and sincerity. A healthy relationship is about giving and receiving. If we don’t have these little things, we can develop anger, resentment, bitterness, mistrust and conflict. We must put more deposits into the relationship bank to enable it to flourish, and aim to make fewer withdrawals. If you’re wondering why you would bother, then ask yourself why you are staying in that relationship to begin with. Check out my article called ‘Meeting Your Unmet Needs – Part 22’.
So how do we make a deposit? How do we make our relationships better and happier? How do we evolve?
It’s really essential that we try to understand the other person’s point of view. Most of us are trying to get our view understood first. We are all reacting based on our own experiences, which may be different from another person’s. If we ask questions to find out how the other person feels, we will maybe understand their perspective and perhaps see how our actions may or may not have contributed. Most of us have a basic need to be listened to, to feel that what we are expressing is valid. You’ll make a serious withdrawal if you invalidate what someone says they are feeling, because it’s real for them. Sometimes we have subconscious scripts playing in our minds based on how unworthy we feel etc. and this can colour our perceptions, but if you want your relationship to blossom, it’s worth taking the time to listen to each other and try to understand where they might be coming from.
Most of our thoughts and feelings of hurt and frustration happen when someone’s behaviour doesn’t meet our expectations. The most difficult thing for most of us, is to actually ask the other person what they expect from us, and to tell them what we expect from them. We prefer to mind read instead – it’s much less confrontational – there’s much less chance of being rejected! But this can drive you batshit crazy, because you start making up a lot of stories in your head, which may not be the full truth of the situation at all! When expectations aren’t met, people fall out, become distant, argue a lot and sometimes have affairs and or leave.
Here’s a rather open-minded question based on a perspective I reached from my own personal experiences with this. If you’re not meeting someone’s needs and they have an affair, who’s cheating who? Just something to ponder on.
Keeping your promises
Do what you say you will do. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, if you want to keep a healthy relationship balance. This will build trust, and trust is hugely important. It’s also very imperative that you keep your promises to yourself also, otherwise, you’ll probably spend the rest of your life mentally beating yourself up, and metaphysically you’ll start attracting those people who will emotionally abuse you. I know, because this is what happened to me until I changed things.
Mutual appreciation, admiration and gratitude are real relationship builders. It’s the little daily genuine compliments, concern, kindnesses, courtesies, the wanting the very best for the other, that creates a healthy relationship balance.
Admit and apologize sincerely when you fuck up. We all do it at some stage, we’re busy, we’re careless, we have our pride, we don’t ask for what we want. If you break the trust you have between you, it’s like smashing a plate and glueing it back together. The cracks will still be there, you’ve weakened your relationship, and you’ve made a withdrawal. If you were depositing regularly your relationship might survive this, if you weren’t, it may not.
Part 25 – Victim or Victor – Dropping the Stories.
Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Life Coach / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com