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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

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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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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