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The One Thing That Makes Love Work

The One Thing That Makes Love Work

Love - you've got to be ready to let go

    You can’t walk down the street at this time of year without seeing a schmaltzy couple draped over each other or a window full of love hearts.  Whether you like it or not, the trappings of St Valentines Day can be seen everywhere.

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    Now, I’ll put my hands up right now and tell you that I’ve screwed up my fair share of relationships.  I still get tongue-tied when I see a beautiful woman, I’ve pushed people away to protect myself and I’ve run round and round in circles wondering how things ’should’ be done.

    Despite that, there’s a heap of things I do know about relationships.  I know that it’s important to know what you really need from one; I know that you need to be in a place where you feel ready to be in a partnership with someone; I know you need to open up your baggage so that it doesn’t weigh you down or steer things in the wrong direction; I know that relationships aren’t about blaming someone else for what’s wrong or needing to be right and I know that the things you like and love about your partner are what matter, not what you don’t like.

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    But what I’ve also learned is that all of that stuff is useless without one, simple thing:

    You have to be ready to let go and make it up as you go along.

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    I call this act of letting go “freefall”, because there’s a point where you just have to let yourself go; a point where you have to loosen your grip and let gravity take its course.

    Love isn’t about game playing and it isn’t about logic, and all the relationship tips, advice, checks and balances mean nothing unless you agree to do this one thing.

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    Loving someone is scary, confusing and unpredictable, and the catalyst to making a choice to freefall is a big bag full of courage.  You have to trust yourself to feel your way through and you have to forget about the old rules you’ve set and all the “should’s” and “ought’s” that set you spinning.

    Be willing to make it up as you go along.  Be willing to let your heart play a bigger role.  Be willing to admit that you don’t know what you’re doing and be willing to take a chance.

    As far as love goes, we’re all in the same boat. Play from the heart.

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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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