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What’s Wrong With My Relationship? Ask These 7 Questions To Know.

What’s Wrong With My Relationship? Ask These 7 Questions To Know.

“What’s wrong with my relationship?”

I can still remember asking this question over and over again when I was having a really big argument with my boyfriend one year ago. At that time, it seemed that all one could do was to cry, waiting for things to get better, or worse.

But is there a way out? If yes, how can we find it?

In his groundbreaking work “On Becoming a Person”, the American psychologist Carl Rogers raised many questions for readers to evaluate their relationships. Here I have picked 7 key questions that may be useful.

Even though we may not know where we are going, it helps at least to know where we are in our relationships.

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1. Am I being myself? Or am I acting as though I were something that I am not?

“Do I accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which I would like to function?”

Sometimes we have the pressure to live up to someone else’s standard, to fulfil a certain social ideal. Sometimes it feels as if, if we do not perform, we will let people down, and things will start to fall apart.

If you are having this feeling, then perhaps it is time for you to pull away from your relationship, take a rest and ask yourself, “Who am I?”

It is easy to act according to someone else’s expectation for a while, but trust me, you cannot pretend forever.

2. Can I be expressive enough as a person that what I am will be communicated unambiguously?

“When I am experiencing an attitude of annoyance toward another person but am unaware of it, then my communication contains contradictory messages. My words are giving one message, but I am also in subtle ways communicating the annoyance I feel and this confuses the other person and makes him distrustful, though he too may be unaware of what is causing the difficulty.”

We have all experienced that struggle: something is not right in the relationship, but we don’t want to talk about it directly. Nevertheless, telling the other person how you feel does not necessarily mean that you would hurt the other person. In fact, when you are looking forward to a long-lasting relationship, it is important for you to build consensus, to know the likes and dislikes of each other.

So perhaps it is time for you to truly ask yourself, “What do I really want?”

3. Can I be strong enough as a person to be separate from the other?

“Can I own and, if need be, express my own feelings as something belonging to me and separate from his feelings? Am I strong enough in my own separateness that I will not be downcast by his depression, frightened by his fear, nor engulfed by his dependency?… When I can freely feel this strength of being a separate person, then I find that I can let myself go much more deeply in understanding and accepting him because I am not fearful of losing myself.”

People all say that two becomes one in relationship: It is in relationship that we complete and depend on each other. But is that true?

The fact is, if both persons depend completely on each other without finding their own passion and meaning of life, then the relationship would start to become stagnant, weak and hollow, and both persons would gradually drain each other of their strength and energy. So two doesn’t become one in relationship. Two cannot become one in relationship. It is precisely because of love that we have to be independent and strong to support each other.

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4. Can I fully accept the other person as who he is?

“Can I be acceptant of each facet of this other person which he presents to me? Or can I only receive him conditionally, acceptant of some aspects of his feelings and silently or openly disapproving all other aspects?… Do I feel that he should follow my advice, or remain somewhat dependent on me, or mold himself after me?”

If you are asking, waiting, hoping for the other person to change lately, would you still accept him as who he is even if he doesn’t change?

5. Can I step into his private world so completely that I lose all desire to evaluate or judge it?

“Can I let myself enter fully into the world of his feelings and personal meanings and see these as he does?… Can I enter it so sensitively that I can move about in it freely, without trampling on meanings which are precious to him?”

Understanding is risky. If we let ourselves really understand another person, we might be changed by that understanding. And we all fear change. Do you then have the courage to put down yourself and to truly embrace the one you love?

6. Is my relationship static? Am I afraid of change?

“Real relationships have an exciting way of being vital and meaningful… I can also accept the changed experience and the changed feelings which are then likely to occur in me and in him. Real relationships tend to change rather than to remain static.”

Are you facing changes in your life? Has your relationship changed because your partner has a new hobby? A new job? A new plan for his life? What are the things that hinder you from facing those changes?

7. Can I meet this other individual as a person who is in the process of becoming, or will I be bound by his past and by my past?

“As I try to listen to myself and the experiencing going on in me, and the more I try to extend that same listening attitude to another person, the more respect I feel for the complex processes of life. So, I become less and less inclined to hurry in to fix things, to set goals, to mold people, to manipulate and push them in the way that I would like them to go. I am much more content simply to be myself and to let another person be himself.”

All in all, we are imperfect. Love is between imperfect people.

So take a rest, pull yourself out from the relationship for a while, spend time with yourself, sleepover at your old friends’.

The future may not be clear to you. But in time you will know.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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