Advertising
Advertising

3 Relationship “Truths” That Are Actually Dangerous Lies

3 Relationship “Truths” That Are Actually Dangerous Lies

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of another good relationship breathing it’s dying breath. And your relationship could be next. People everywhere are believing popular advice that’s killing their relationships. Thankfully, you can protect yourself with a few changes in your thinking. If you’re ready to give your relationship a fighting chance, read on. These three dangerous but common lies get passed off as wisdom online and in-print.

Lie #1: Love yourself and everything else will fall into place

The lie is that you need to focus more on loving yourself in order to love others well and attract good things into your life.

The truth is there is no lack of self-love in our world. You don’t lack self-love and neither do I . The idea of loving your neighbour as yourself is not a directive to love yourself more. If our relationships are going to work, we actually have to focus less on ourselves. We need to be others-focused. The concept is simple but is hard for many to comprehend because it involves changing your way of thinking. Think about it — even when you are focused on your own inadequacies, you’re still focused on and loving yourself (in a way).

Advertising

The flip side of lesson number one – the truth that actually works – is: Focus on providing the best relationship for your spouse that you can. This doesn’t mean you should be a martyr. Sometimes, loving someone well means letting them see that being self-centered doesn’t make them happy either.

Lie #2: Confront your problems

The lie is that problems get solved by talking about them at all times. The lie teaches you that you should learn conflict resolution skills and improve your ability to tell your spouse what you’re unhappy with.

On the other side of the lie is the truth — “You have to make 1000 positive deposits into your spouse’s bank account before you can make one negative comment or criticism.” That means, if you’re fighting all the time, you likely don’t have the credit with your spouse to be commenting on things you don’t like.

If I’m doing 1000 (give or take) nice, caring things for my spouse before telling him that I don’t like one thing that he’s doing, I’m betting he will be a happier man.I’m betting that a happier man will do nicer things.

Here’s the truth; the flip side of lesson number two: You reap what you sow. If you want care and kindness to grow, you have to do things that sow care and kindness.

It’s really easy for me to forget the truth that I reap what I sow. Sometimes, I find myself operating on the ‘You reap what you tell your spouse needs to change about them’ principle.

Advertising

Yup. That works as well as you think it would.

There are people, though, who have made whole careers out of telling couples to set their marriage problems aside and put their energy into trying to connect. They teach to build goodwill and top up your relationship bank accounts before dealing with your problems. Here’s the best part: a bunch of your problems will go away on their own if you’re sowing good things into your spouse’s life.

Lie #3: Follow your heart

Conventional wisdom says to follow your heart, meaning decide based on how you feel. But that is just wrong because feelings are not your operating manual.

In fact, feelings are reactions to past situations more than reflections of your value system. Are you sure you want to make major life decisions based on a past heartbreak?  Or would you rather decide based on what you want to create in your future? Following your heart actually makes you a victim of your emotions.

Advertising

Instead of giving in to emotions and following your heart as it leads you to disaster, seek wisdom from sources you can trust. Allow your brain to absorb whatever information you are taking in before you react and then make a wise choice after considering your options.

So the flip side of lie number three – the truth that really works – is to use your instinct and intellect to rationally make decisions based on what you know, not what you feel.

The best relationship test ever

I dug up a blog article called The List that Saved My Marriage where author Becky Zerbe’s Mom hits a marriage advice homerun. In short, the author had decided her marriage was over and went to her parents for support. While committing to support her daughter, the mom asked her to complete one exercise first.

She said to take a blank piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. On the left, she was to write all bad things about her husband; the reasons she wanted to leave. The wife easily completed the list.

Then, the mom told her daughter to write her own corresponding behaviors on the right side of the page. For example, next to the complaint that “He doesn’t tell me when he’s going to be late home from work” the wife had to write, “I sulk and give him the silent treatment”. Finally, the mom took the paper, cut it down the middle and threw away the list of her son-in-law’s failings. Handing her daughter’s list of behaviors back to her, she sent her home to reconsider.

Advertising

I would fail

How would you fare if you had to consider an honest list of how you’ve handled yourself in your marriage? Would you feel as ready to give up on your relationship? I know I would be humbled. Consider your own behaviors and weed out the relationship lies from your thinking. Instead, replace them with truths that lead you toward trust, love, and honesty.

Featured photo credit: IMG_5060-Editar_mini/Nicolas Fuentes via flickr.com

More by this author

Proof you have more positive relationship power than you think 3 Relationship “Truths” That Are Actually Dangerous Lies 4 Vital Ways Your Friends Make You a Better Spouse 10 Sympathy Cards That Don’t Suck

Trending in Communication

1 How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often 2 How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Ways to Get Back on Track 4 8 Ways to Change Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors 5 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Advertising

Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

Advertising

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Advertising

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

Advertising

6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

More Self-Care Tips

Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

Read Next