How to Create Authentic Relationships
February 5th, 2009
“You can’t stop loving or wanting to love because when its right, it’s the best thing in the world. When you’re in a relationship and it’s good, even if nothing else in your life is right, you feel like your whole world is complete. -Keith Sweat
I want you to take a moment and think about your current relationships.
Are they empowering to everyone involved?
Are they based on trust, love, and compassion?
Are they genuine or misleading?
Unfortunately, many relationships today have become superficial and end up doing more harm then good.
Behind many of these superficial connections lie selfish intentions, ones in which sometimes we are not even consciously aware. Relationships have become all about “I” and not “we.” What’s worse is we continue to remain in emotionally abusive relationships because we are afraid of leaving the “security” to which we have become accustomed. We feel obligated to stay in touch with individuals who do nothing but bring us down, thus hindering our ability to live our life to the fullest.
Why is this? Why are so many of today’s relationships so unfulfilling?
Human relationships are what make our journey as humans so incredibly beautiful–we posses the ability to literally connect with billions of people around the globe. We have the ability to laugh, to smile, and to love anyone that we choose. Authentic relationships are essential for growth; without heart to heart connections, our soul suffers. Unfortunately, authentic relationships have become rare.
5 Essentials in Creating and Maintaining Genuine Relationships
Have Expectations (Standards)
Expect Bumps In The Road (Flexibility)
TECHE for short
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”-George MacDonald
Trust. This should be the foundation of all human relationships. Without trust, empowering relationships simply cannot exist. Trust is a plant’s water–without water a plant withers up and dies.
I’m sure you can recall a time in which you were lied to or mislead. And I’m also sure you can recall lying or purposely misleading someone.
One of the many reasons relationships are so superficial these days is because of the simple fact that most are built upon a foundation of lies.
Here’s a solution I guarantee will instantly improve your current relationships.
Look, I know you’re human. I know that simple white lies appear as if they can get us out of loads of trouble, but not so, this is simply an illusion. Every time you lie, you’re failing to water the plant.
Obviously this solution is overly simplistic. Considering that we always lie, it would be easier to live with the fact, right?
Whether every word you say is a lie or you are one of those one-in-a-million types who lie only once a year (come on, be honest), you can always improve the trust in your current relationships.
If you’re looking to create empowering and genuine connections, begin with watering your relationships with trust.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”- Joseph Campell
Personally, this is a huge weakness of mine, and something I hope to improve upon as the year progresses.
Many people go into relationships hoping to make a particular person more like themselves, to sway their opinions and to change their habits. All this does however, is create resentment, and blocks the relationship from reaching its fullest potential.
Believe me, I know.
The quickest way to a crappy relationship is to try to change the person whom you have a relationship with.
The only person you should want to change is yourself.
Relationships aren’t meant for forced change.
They are meant to help us grow, but how we grow is up to the person facing the path of growth.
After dedicating myself to a path of personal development I unfortunately, developed the my-way-is-right-yours-is-not attitude. This hindered my ability to create empowering relationships. I went into relationships thinking that because it worked for me it had to work for everyone else. What I failed to do was appreciate the individuality of the people whom I had relationships with.
I ridiculed my family and my girlfriend’s personal perspective in attempts to “enlighten them.”
The personal development “guru” became a know-it-all-jerk.
Don’t look to change anyone but yourself; otherwise you’re wasting your time. Learn to understand people’s uniqueness. Immerse yourself in different perspectives. It’s okay if you don’t always agree. Relationships would be stale and boring if that was the case.
Once you begin to appreciate the uniqueness of others you will soon begin to grow and even appreciate your own uniqueness more.
Communication leads to community, that is to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.- Rollo May
If you wish to live a life rich in wonderful relationships, it is an absolute must that you learn to communicate effectively. Doing so will substantially decrease the amount of arguments you have. Many of the fights we find ourselves in today can be avoided by simply communicating effectively.
How do you communicate effectively, you may ask?
Communicating effectively requires that you convey your message in a straightforward manner that can be easily understood. So often we load our communication with false devices in order to mask our true intentions.
If you have a problem with something, say it, don’t hint. When you hint you leave your thoughts and feelings up to interpretation and we all know how that turns out. Be straightforward and honest. Remember that your point of view is simply that—your perspective. It doesn’t mean you’re right or wrong.
Often times when we get upset or offended we put up a defensive shield in order to protect our ego, this only prevents genuine communication from taking place.
I can recall numerous times in which I stopped listening merely because I was afraid to admit I was wrong. We must learn to take our ego out of our communication and let our soul speak instead.
Soul to soul communication can only occur when we consciously choose to put our shields down and allow ourselves to receive.
Looking to communicate better?
Put down your shield, instead love and embrace.
“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Brain Tracy
If you want to get the most out of your relationships (and you would be silly not to), it is imperative that you have some sort of expectations of what you wish to give and receive in a particular relationship.
So often our relationships remain unfulfilled simply because we don’t know what we want out of them.
When I say want, I’m not referring to being selfish and wanting things to satisfy you ego. I’m referring to understanding the purpose of the relationship.
So often we have relationships just for the sake of having them. Unfortunately this leaves us with many relationships that do not provide value for anyone involved.
It is important to know what you want out of a relationship. What are your motivations? Are you looking for friendship? A soul mate? What value do you wish to give and receive? Ask yourself these questions.
Never, ever subject yourself to a relationship you don’t want to be in. If you have a feeling of obligation, this is a sure sign that you need to break things off. Yes, it may be difficult, but staying in one just because you’re afraid or feel bad is going against what true relationships are meant to be about.
Share your expectations openly and honestly. You will be amazed at how similar your intentions might be.
Want a great relationship?
Expect Bumps in the Road
“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”
In a perfect world, we would never fight and never argue; yet this world remains far from perfect. Relationships won’t always be easy. Don’t kid yourself in thinking so.
There are going to be times when your relationships are put to the test. These tests serve a purpose. If your relationship is authentic then these tests will do nothing but strengthen it. However, these tests also serve to weed out relationships that are doing more harm then good.
When you hit a bump in a road, don’t fret—things can get better. Keep a positive attitude, continuing to be honest and sincere, and don’t forget to communicate effectively.
Don’t look at bumps in the road as bad things; instead, look how they will improve your relationships. Allow these bumps to pass and don’t look back. When you hit a bump you’re doing just that—you’re hitting a bump. Only when we allow our negative chatter to roam free do we begin to hit larger bumps, perhaps even running into a roadblock.
If you are responsible for a particular bump in the road, own up, admit it, and then forgive. If it’s the other way around, don’t forget to forgive as well.
There’s no better feeling than making up after a long-fought battle.
There is absolutely no reason you can’t be living the life of your dreams. Looking to take your life to next level?
What are you waiting for?
Start creating authentic relationships today.
I agree with you Bud. Relationships are supposed to make you happy and not frustrated all the time. They're supposed to teach you lessons, so that the next time you hit a bump on the road, it won't be as bad. One important thing also is committing to them! Great post!