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10 Lessons I Learned From My Past Relationships That Make Me A Better Lover Today

10 Lessons I Learned From My Past Relationships That Make Me A Better Lover Today

Love is like a never ending story with unpredictable plot twists sprinkled throughout. That might sound dramatic (guilty as charged) but it’s how I look at my past relationships. Let me be clear: I’m not perfect. I was a guilty party in some of the situations that inspired the lessons below. So save yourself some trouble by realizing the following 10 lessons.

1. Life happens.

Don’t desperately search for meaning where there is none. Most relationships don’t end because one partner did something “wrong.” More often, their life paths split in opposite directions. One half gets a promotion that requires traveling to a big city. The other prefers a small town life. One half gets accepted to an out-of-state college.The other attends a local university. Being compatible initially doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay that way. Know when to move on.

2. Own your quirks.

Don’t feel self-conscious about your freckles, giggle, or eye twitch. Your quirks make you unique. There is only one appropriate response to a compliment: “Thank you.” And if your partner tells you how beautiful you smile (or how handsome your mustacheis) a hundred times, he or she is probably being genuine. Don’t cause a scene. Smile and say thanks.

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3. It’s not all about you.

Don’t assume your partner’s world revolves around you. What looks like a lack of interest might be nothing more than exhaustion in disguise. Emotions are drained by stressful things outside of our relationships. If your partner doesn’t want to go out, don’t jump to the conclusion that it has something to do with you. They’re probably just sleepy.

4. Your partner isn’t a mind-reader.

Don’t act like nothing is wrong when you’re clearly upset. For starters, you’re not kidding anybody, and it’s silly to hold a grudge over something that you’re not willing to confront yourself. If it turns out your mind is creating a bigger problem than actually exists, forget about it. But if something is wrong, say so.

5. Texts can and will be misinterpreted.

Don’t have a fit over an honest mistake. I’m too embarrassed to admit how many arguments with my ex were a direct result of miscommunication. Let’s just say I’ve learned that sarcasm doesn’t always translate well in a text format. If you find yourself typing away in a fit of anger, call a “time-out” and save the conversation for an in-person setting.

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6. No one is ever 100% “right” or “wrong.”

Don’t fear disagreement. It’s a natural part of any relationship. Be willing to compromise. Thinking you’re “right” doesn’t mean you get to trample over your partner’s feelings. If you want your relationship to be successful, treat it like a democracy (not a dictatorship).

7. Love is beautiful. Obsession is unhealthy.

Don’t cling to a sinking ship. It’s nice to be intensely attracted to a person but if you find yourself enamored with a person who doesn’t return your feelings, it’s best to move on. And if you find yourself in a relationship where there is a clear imbalance in level of commitment (often reflected in things like one partner craving more physical contact or time together than the other), then you might have a problem.

8. Save big discussions for an appropriate setting.

Don’t confront your partner about a topic that will upset them at a bad time. I know this might sound strange since I told you to speak up about things that are bothering you in #4 but don’t be inappropriate about it. If your partner had a really hard day at work, be courteous enough to let them relax for a little while before confronting them about a problem. Funny personal example: one time, I received a break-up text while I was at the dentist’s office, waiting to have my teeth cleaned. My dental hygienist walked in before I even had time to react. That was one of the most awkward hours of my life .

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9. Boredom is a threat (that you can easily avoid).

Don’t fall into the trap of monotony. Life can get dull in a hurry if you do the same stuff every day. If your partner is hinting about how nice it would be to go on a trip, this could be a sign that they are getting bored. And if your date nights are exact duplicates of each other, can you blame them?

10. Seeking revenge will only make a bad situation worse.

Don’t let hurt feelings inspire vindictive behavior. You’ll only regret it later. Even if you believe you were treated badly, lashing out in anger won’t make you feel any better. Find a friend to talk to. Distance yourself from the issue to calm down before responding. Forgive them if you can. Walk away if you can’t.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Tell us about a love lesson one of your past relationships taught you in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Bicycles! (Film)/Nicki Varkevisser via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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