“Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.”
Relationships can meaningful, enjoyable, and absolutely loving. They can also be destructive, unpleasant, and hateful. Romantic relationships are often the most impactful and profound accords you will engage in. They are often the cause of much joy and/or pain.
Whether or not you experience a blissful romantic relationship or a torrid one, they are challenging. It is often difficult for people to adjust to sharing their life with someone else. As humans, we seek to obtain romantic partnerships during our lives, but we have the tendency of coming into conflict with one another.
Some romantic relationships are able to overcome this conflict and continue to flourish for long periods of time. Others are unable to last. Often couples are simply not right for each other for one reason or another. People change, and amidst this change, romantic partnerships become increasingly difficult to maintain.
But why do so many romantic relationships fail? It is not necessarily unfavorable when relationships end. Often they end for a very good reason and both parties are better off because they gained new perspective from the experience.
Despite the benefits that result from a broken relationship, most people would agree breakups are quite difficult and painful. So how do you build for your next relationship or how do you strengthen the current relationship you are in? What are the pitfalls of romantic relationships that cause unnecessary strife and misery?
1. Unrealistic Expectations for Yourself
You have to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. In spite of your desire to believe otherwise, you are not a relationship superman or superwoman. You have to have realistic expectations for yourself throughout the relationship, just as you have for all aspects of your life.Advertising
The more pressure you put on yourself to be the “perfect” partner, the more likely you are going to come up short. Trying too hard is only going to put strain on you, your partner, and the relationship. A healthy relationship will flow naturally, expectations will be realistic, and the connection is not forced.
If you are in a relationship, and you notice yourself trying so hard to make everything just right for your partner, but at the end of the day you still don’t feel worthy enough or you feel your partner doesn’t find you worthy enough, you are setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
I’m not suggesting you don’t make an effort to be a wonderful partner, but there are limits to what you can do in the relationship. Understand those limits for yourself and simply enjoy being with your partner. You can only make yourself happy in the relationship—no one else.
2. Unrealistic Expectations for Your Partner
Don’t have unrealistic expectations for your partner. You expect that your partner is going to respect you, care for you, love you, and not hurt you. These are realistic expectations anyone who is in a romantic relationship doesn’t even think about because they are straightforward. There might be more expectations you can add to this list, but this list shouldn’t be excessively long.
Often people get into relationships for the wrong reasons. They expect their partner to make them happy or they expect their partner to be a personal servant. These are examples of unrealistic expectations that can be detrimental to any relationship, especially a romantic relationship.
If you embark into a relationship with gaudy expectations for your partner, prepare to be disappointed. Unless your partner is so in love with you that he or she is blinded, the chances of this kind of relationship lasting and being fulfilling for both people, are very slim.
3. The Need to Be Right
Let go of the need to be right. This one simple change will bring you much more satisfaction in your personal life. It is especially important for the foundation of a strong relationship.
When you are in a romantic relationship you are going to experience conflict and disagreements. You are going to know when you are right and you are going to know when you are wrong. If you and your partner both surrender the need to be right, there will be less arguing and more resolving of problematic situations because you are both looking out for what is best for the relationship—not what is best for the individual.Advertising
Just because you let go of the need to be right doesn’t make you a pushover or a weak human being. You will know when to stand up for yourself and speak your mind on important issues. Letting go of the need to be right suggests that you are comfortable with yourself and your partner, and you have complete respect for the relationship.
4. Jealousy and Other Fear-Based Emotions
Jealousy, anger, fear, insecurity, unhappiness, selfishness, control destroy romantic relationships. When you are jealous you don’t trust your partner. If you don’t trust your partner, than how are you supposed to build a long-lasting relationship together?
Jealousy can come in many forms, but it is rooted in fear: fear that your partner is going to cheat on you; fear that your partner doesn’t love you enough; fear that your partner is going to leave you; fear that you aren’t good enough for your partner.
Quite often these fears are self-created. Your mind plays out scenarios and you believe them. Perhaps you were hurt or wronged in past relationships so you decide to carry fear based emotions into your next relationship. Especially when there is no basis for the fear than you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you have sound reason to believe your partner is cheating on you or mistreating you in some way than speak with your partner or end the relationship. It is not worth putting yourself through emotional hell by being jealous and afraid.
A romantic relationship is a partnership. In order for a partnership to work and be successful both sides have to be willing to share with one another. Both sides have to be willing to be selfless to the other person.
Many romantic relationships fail because people are too selfish. Being selfish is not beneficial for anyone much less someone in a relationship. Selfish people are generally viewed as difficult, and often they isolate themselves from others. People don’t want to be around people who only take but never give.
It is important to keep yourself in check when you are in a relationship. Ask yourself what you can do for your partner today to help him or her. Hopefully serving your partner in this way is pleasurable for you.Advertising
I think people sometimes develop the misconception that being in a relationship means you abdicate your freedom or independence. I disagree with this because I think it is constructive for partners to be independent people while also maintaining their relationship status. Partners don’t have to be attached at the hip.
Being independent in a relationship doesn’t make you selfish. Independent people are comfortable on their own, but also relish spending time with their partners. Selfish people use their partners for their own personal gain or profit, as they do most people they encounter in life.
6. Defensive Attitude
Has your partner ever asked you to do something, for example, help more around the house and you immediately go on the defensive? You refute your partner’s claims that you aren’t helping enough by describing examples of all those times you were helpful. Instead of listening to what your partner is saying you create stories in your mind that your partner doesn’t appreciate you.
I have been there and done that. I was the best defender in my past relationships because I couldn’t put my ego aside, and listen to what my partner was saying. Instead of trying to understand what she wanted, and discovering how I could be more helpful in the relationship, I shifted into defensive mode. Many people do this in romantic relationships because they interpret a criticism from their partner as an insult and a personal attack.
There is a tendency for partners to take each other too seriously. Conflict is created when partners take what each other says and does very personally. Taking things personally from your partner, someone whom loves you and doesn’t want to hurt you, is quite frankly, toxic for a relationship. You will know when words and actions from your partner are harmful, and require you to respond in a stern manner. Until that moment try to let the minute stuff go.
It is noxious in any relationship to hold grudges. Don’t hold grudges with your romantic partner unless you want to experience loads and loads of negative emotion.
Your partner is going to make mistakes. He or she might get agitated with you or say something that you don’t agree with. Learning to forgive and forget will strengthen your relationship. It will build a foundation that will give you the tools to conquer any adversity that confronts your relationship.
If your partner does something truly destructive that you are unable to overcome then perhaps ending the relationship is best for the both of you. Even in these instances forgiveness is the best medicine for you to move on.Advertising
Grudges are wasted energy in a relationship. It takes more physical, mental, and emotional energy to hold onto a grudge than forgiving your partner and releasing the pent up anger. As I said previously, your partner is not trying to hurt you so try your best to move on.
8. Conditional Love
Conditional love implies there are fulfillments required from your partner in order for him or her to receive your love. This is a recipe for an unhappy and unloving relationship.
Love your partner freely because you enjoy loving him or her. Don’t love your partner with expectations that he or she does something for you. This will lead to destructive behaviors and consistent arguing.
Unconditional love is the key to making a romantic relationships blossom. Love your partner despite his or her flaws because no one is perfect. This begins with acceptance of your partner no matter what. If you can’t accept your partner, you can’t love your partner unconditionally. Love your partner for no reason at all just as you love yourself and be grateful he or she is in your life.
Enjoy your romantic relationship. Being in love is one of the great experiences of life so give yourself and your partner a chance to savor this experience. Let go of the very controllable pitfalls that obstruct long lasting and joyful relationships. Resolve issues in the relationship together as a team. Don’t hold onto negative emotions, rather communicate openly with your partner. Love and be loved!
Featured photo credit: Happy Young Couple in Winter Park having fun.Family Outdoors. love via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on April 6, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tips About Making Influence
- 20 Powerful Books to Win You Friends and Influence More People
- How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com