Building and maintaining a healthy relationship is an ongoing work in progress. In our world of social networking it can become even more challenging not to fall into the trap of online illusion and fantasy. Online access and instant gratification have become the new norm and although it may have its pros, it also has its cons, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining healthy relationships. In this world of instant change, many relationships and marriages have fallen to the waste side only to find the grass was not as green on the other side as they had first imagined.
So what can we do to ensure that we find alignment and fulfillment in our relationships? How do we compete with the rampant online seduction and prevent distrust and jealousy from destroying not only our own relationships, but our mental health?
First, we must have a complete understanding and acceptance of the fact that we cannot control another’s actions, thoughts, behaviors or otherwise. We only have dominion over ourselves, and even that is a skill developed through consistent effort. However, while we cannot control another human being (nor should we want to) we can greatly influence how another thinks, feels and responds to our own thoughts and actions. For example, if you were to approach your employer and call him or her a heartless dictator, there is a large possibility that you may not have a job by the day’s end. Now, had you made a better choice you would likely still have your job at the end of the day. Let’s take it one step further; had you approached your employer and offered to work extra hours when needed or shown some other form of enthusiasm toward your work, you may have even inspired him or her to give you a promotion.
So although we do not have ultimate control over others, what we say and do carries an enormous amount of influence.
According to one of the world’s most sought after speakers and life coaches, Tony Robbins, there are six basic human needs that need to be met.
We each rank these needs differently in order of priority and two of them we value above the others. For some love/connection and certainty may be valued the most and for another significance and growth may be at the top of the list. So where does this connect to influence?
Pay attention to your partner and identify what human needs they seem to value most. Do they require a lot of attention and if so, do you give it? (Love/connection) Do they remind you of their accomplishments often or seem to seek some sort of recognition and if so, do you give it to them? (Significance) Do they seem their happiest when all of the bills are paid and there’s extra money in the bank and if so, how well do you contribute to financial security? Or if not financially, how sure do you make your partner feel that no matter what, you are there for them? Do you threaten to leave when things get rough? (Certainty) Is your relationship growing or is it the same as it was when you first met? Do you still argue over the same things or are you learning to listen and compromise? (Growth) These are all things that should be evaluated.
Transform your relationships
Once you’ve identified your partners most valued human needs, and where you stand in relation to those needs, spend the next several weeks doing whatever you can to fulfill them. But do not stop there, include the other four needs as well. Bring that scale up to a 10 across the board. Do this without expectation of return for 60 to 90 days. After that time, re-evaluate your relationship. Has it transformed? My guess is yes, completely.
If your first thought upon reading this is “what about my needs?” then you’re going to have a difficult time making any of your relationships work for you and you may have some self-work to do before attempting to create and maintain a healthy relationship with anyone else. By no means am I suggesting that relationships are all give and no take or that you should deprive yourself of your own needs and only give to the needs of another. Not at all. What I am suggesting is that if you give loving energy to the human needs of another, in most circumstances they will return that effort and as a result, a healthy and happy relationship will emerge. Of course, there will always be challenges in every relationship. As I stated in the beginning, relationships are an ongoing work in progress. The difference is that now there is a mutual willingness to contribute to the other’s needs, and from that a strong, healthy foundation can be built and maintained.
This method can be applied to any relationship, not only with a partner or spouse. Identifying and giving loving energy to the needs of another will almost always transform or greatly improve any relationship. It could be your relationship with your siblings, parents, boss, best friend, banker… you name it.
Now, as with everything there are exceptions. Indeed, there will be those few who do not return the effort and if that is your case, you may need to make a hard decision. Is this really the type of relationship that you want? No relationship can be healthy if only one person is committed or contributing.
Use your life energy to create positive influence first in your own life, and then in the lives of others. You will then be in alignment with your relationships, which will express themselves fully and beautifully. Don’t take my word for it, take the challenge.