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Brutal Truths You Need To Know For Having A Healthy Relationship

Brutal Truths You Need To Know For Having A Healthy Relationship

OK, I know what you’re thinking… who are you to tell me about healthy relationships? Are you some kind of expert or something? No, I’m not an expert on healthy relationships. But, I have been married for 20 years (to the same person) and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about the realities of making it work. These points may come across as harsh but sometimes the truth hurts, especially when it’s worth hearing. So here goes…

You’re not perfect, Superstar

We all have to get to know ourselves in order to function healthfully in our relationships, and part of that is owning our crap. None of us are perfect. I’m not and you’re not. So let’s get over ourselves, admit our flaws, and make a commitment to try to be better.

And neither is your partner

See above. If you’re not willing to be held to a standard of perfection, then you can’t expect your partner to be either.

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Relationships take work

Because you’re not perfect, you’re going to screw up and so is your partner. You are going to get cranky and take it out on each other. You’re going to forget to pay the bills on time and they will leave dirty socks on the floor because it’s just not a priority to pick them up. What should be a priority is loving and appreciating each other for who you are and what you each bring to the relationship. When you do this, you can expect the same from each other in return. Then you work together to find mutually agreeable solutions to the other stuff.

It’s a give and take, but it’s not always going to be 50/50. Get used to it

Relationships have a rhythm. There will be times when you need extra support from your partner and times when your partner needs extra from you. If you both truly love and care about each other, you’ll each want to give more than you receive. On the other hand, when the ratio of give to take is perpetually unbalanced, it’s time to re-evaluate the health of the relationship.

Communication is key; because mind reading is unreliable

As much as you want may them to be, your partner is not a mind reader and shouldn’t be expected to “just know” anything about you, what you want, or how you feel. So start talking… and listening because you’re not a mind reader, either. As author don Miguel Ruiz stated in The Four Agreements, “Don’t Make Assumptions.” When you communicate clearly with each other you avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. When you assume, you make as ass out of… well, you know.

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You will fight. If you don’t ever fight, then neither of you is invested enough in the relationship to make it last

Because we only spend time and energy on things we care about. If you passed anger and hurt feelings miles ago and have entered Apathy-town… then do yourself and your partner a favor and end it so that you can each move on.

If you are thinking about leaving the relationship, chances are your partner is too

If you (or your partner) feel “blindsided” by an admission of unhappiness in the relationship, then you probably aren’t paying enough attention to the relationship and need to re-evaluate your commitment to each other.

What your partner doesn’t know CAN and most likely WILL hurt them (Because they are going to find out. Oh, yes they will.)

We are living in the social media age in a town called Selfie-ville… Take my advice and live your life as if Every. Single. Thing. you do is going to be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Whether it’s your page or your friend’s or your friend’s friends’, it’s going to get out and your partner is going to find out and be hurt, humiliated, and quite probably plotting revenge by the time you get home.

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Comparing your partner to others is a sure way to kill your relationship fast

Oh yeah? If that person over there is so great, then why aren’t you with them or trying to get with them? Listen, if someone else is so far superior to your partner that you need to make comparisons, then please by all means take a hike over to the greener grass… and let your partner be free to find someone who appreciates them for who they are and what they bring to the relationship.

The relationships we have with our caregivers in childhood may drive how we behave in our adult relationships

Psychoanalyst John Bowlby (1907-1990) theorized that children form attachments with their caregivers from infant-hood, and the quality of those attachments drive instinctive behaviors that can follow us into adulthood (1969, 1980). For example, if your partner’s mother (or other primary caregiver) was cold and distant, or inconsistent in caring for their needs, then they may have developed an innate sense of insecurity and mistrust that could be driving their adult behaviors like clinging, insecurity in the relationship, or defensiveness, to name a few. So…much of what your partner does may have very little to do with you and more to do with the relationship they had to their primary caregiver as a child. (And vice versa, just in case you were wondering…)

You won’t change them and continuously trying to do so is unfair and can become abusive

Constantly picking at someone to make them change erodes self-confidence and self-image. You may think you’re doing it “to help them” or “because you care sooooo much” about them. You’re not. You’re trying to change someone you don’t really like into someone that you can love and neither of you are going to be better for it. So either accept the person for who they are and work on understanding them “as is”, or let them go and move on to someone who doesn’t need so much of your “fixing.”

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Speaking of… if you only take one thing away from this article at all please let it be this:

Abusive partners DO NOT change

Whether they are verbally, emotionally, mentally, or physically abusive, they will not see the error of their ways and learn to treat you better. They will not grow out of it. And they will do it again… and again… and again. They will continue to abuse you. Your only option is to get out of the relationship any way you can; get help to pick up the pieces and find yourself again; and learn to recognize the signs so you can avoid those people in the future.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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