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10 Things You Should Not Give Up For A Relationship

10 Things You Should Not Give Up For A Relationship

1. Your self-esteem / confidence / self-belief

Some relationships bring out the best in us, others leave us feeling unworthy and unsure of ourselves. If you find you are full of self-doubt and are less confident than you were at the beginning of the relationship it might be time to analyze where this decrease has come from. A healthy relationship should provide a solid base from which to explore the world and achieve the best you possibly can. If your relationship is keeping you ‘small’ and diluting your strengths it’s a warning sign to take notice of.

2. Your independence – personal and financial

Being in a relationship can be a wonderful, loving experience. It’s always important to maintain your independence and resist morphing into one mutual identity. See your friends; enjoy interests that don’t always include your partner and keep a separate bank account for yourself. Independence is healthy and always helps you feel you are in the relationship because you want to be not because you need to be.

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3. Your right to decide for yourself – freedom of choice

Never give up your opinions and freedom of choice to keep another person happy. Compromise is important and a win-win situation is the ideal outcome, but be wary of partners that try to control you. Whether it involves negative comments about the way you dress, the way you cook and/or clean the house or the friends you have – choose for yourself and do not be manipulated into doing things you don’t agree with in order to keep the peace.

4. Your right to be you

Protect your fundamental characteristics and personality traits and never give up the ‘essential you.’ We all change to a certain degree in relationships but be careful that you don’t try too hard and end up losing yourself in the process. Those who love you will adore the real you and all your imperfections. Constantly trying to change yourself will erode your confidence and self-esteem and it can be demoralizing.

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5. Your happiness

There are times when our fear of being lonely is bigger than our wish for genuine happiness. As a result we remain in relationships that don’t bring out the best in us. We stay in lack-luster relationships because we fear the unknown and ultimately do ourselves a huge disservice. You only have one life – try not to waste it in a relationship that makes you miserable. Give up a relationship that undermines your sense of happiness and fulfillment during a long-term basis. If you feel unappreciated and unhappy, ask yourself why and assess whether the relationship you are in has anything to do with your sadness.

6. Your dreams and goals

Never give up your dreams for the sake of a relationship. A relationship should be a spring board from which to chase your dreams rather than a place that keeps you chained and disillusioned. Jealous and/or insecure partners try to stifle a creative, passionate mind and keep their talented partner where they feel they can maintain control. If this sounds like your relationship, realize this is unhealthy. Happy relationships encourage adventure and help the people in it to move forward and progress rather than stagnate.

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7. Existing relationships that are important to you

Good friends can be hard to find and if you have a few wonderful and loyal friends, never give them up for a relationship. Any partner that expects you to give up friendships for him or her is selfish and likely controlling. A healthy relationship allows friends and family to happily co-exist alongside it. See it as a warning sign if your partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family.

8. Your self-respect

In our pursuit of love we can sometimes cross self-respecting boundaries that we wouldn’t normally consider crossing. Whether it involves engaging in behaviors that you find demeaning or whether you allow yourself to be treated in a disrespectful way, this is another sign that the relationship is not good for you. Never give up your right to be treated with respect and decency. If someone crosses this line you should get rid of him or her right away. If you allow this treatment to continue it will become worse and you will end up despising yourself for allowing it.

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9. Your identity – don’t morph into your partner too much and lose yourself in the process

When we immerse ourselves in a relationship, we tend to take on the interests and habits of our partners. There is nothing wrong with this process as ‘mirroring’ helps us to bond and feel more in tune. The problem comes in when we do not have a strong sense of self to begin with and we take on too many characteristics of our partner instead of developing our own identity. If we are too influenced by our partners we may stop making decisions for ourselves and veer off the path of true self-discovery.

10. Your decision-making power

Think of decision making as a muscle that weakens if you don’t use it often. The more we don’t defer in decisions from our partners the less likely we will be to make future decisions and think for ourselves. This doesn’t mean you have to make every decision alone but be aware of habits you may have of double checking with your partner before making a decision – especially if it is for something fairly inane, such as a small household purchase. Think for yourself and keep making decisions, no matter how small. This helps to maintain your sense of individuality as well as your ability to stand on your own two feet.

Relationships can be heaven but they can also be hell. Take regular health checks on your relationship and use the above pointers to guide you through the process of assessing how happy and healthy your relationship is.

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Mandy Kloppers

Counsellor

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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