After years of self-reflection, I truly feel like I’ve found the holy grail of relationship mindset.
These four rules encapsulate so much of what I believe to be true in relationships (intimate or otherwise) that I wanted to refine them into their simplest possible form before I made them public. Well, I’m finally happy with them… and so I have decided to put them in writing.
Here are what I believe to be the four ultimate relationships rules to live by. Strive to weave each of these into all of your relationships and I promise you your entire life will benefit.
Your relationship to others always starts with your relationship to yourself.
If you are stingy with your love towards yourself, you will be stingy with your love towards others.
Make it an absolutely non-negotiable fact in your life that you will make your own happiness and fulfillment your #1 priority. If you aren’t brimming with love and fulfillment then you will only be a small fraction of your usual self and your love will merely be an imitation.
It’s so easy to let life get in the way and tell ourselves that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. But this is the same thing as saying “I’m too busy driving to stop for gas.” Eventually you’re going to burn out on the side of the road (and the repairs will be much more expensive compared to if you had just done your regular maintenance).
Do whatever is necessary to keep yourself happy and balanced. Take down time. Get a massage. Eat clean and sleep well. Cuddle. Decompress. Read fiction books before bed to let your mind wind down from your work day. Just do it.
If you can’t easily answer the question “how was I self-loving today?” at the end of each day, then you might need some serious restructuring of how you run your days.
2. See And Hear People
Every single person in the world wants to feel seen, heard, loved, and understood.
Go the extra mile in helping people feel seen and heard in your daily life. Whether it’s something as small as actually being fully present and engaged with the person bagging your groceries, or listening to your partner with undivided attention when they tell you about how their day went… letting people feel seen and heard is vitally important.
It also helps you feel happier, more connected, and more emotionally fulfilled. How much more enjoyable is a social exchange when you actually look the person in the eyes and make a real effort to hear about them and their lives? Intentionally seeing and hearing people in your life makes them feel more special, and takes you out of the often repetitive nature of just going through the motions.
So listen hard. Make real eye contact when you hear people. Remove the distracting TV/cell phone/earbuds and give people your full attention. Show up in your life and give people the focused love and attention that they deserve.
3. “How Am I Like That?”
Has anyone ever really annoyed you? Trick question! Of course they have.
People cut you off in traffic. People show up late for meetings. People do stupid stuff that isn’t good for them.
Whatever irritates us about other people (especially the things that consistently make us angry/upset/frustrated) always point back to us.
When someone does something and we assume that they’re doing it for a specific reason, we are projecting our own shit on to them and their lives. It’s an assumption that doesn’t serve us… Unless we listen to it.
You can follow down the emotional trigger (of being angry/upset/mad/frustrated/hurt/etc.) when someone does something that you don’t like, by asking yourself the question “How am I like that?”
When you do this exercise you A) realize what the root of your emotional suffering is, and B) you employ one of the most powerful forces in the entire world… compassion.
You’re frustrated that your friend showed up late for dinner with you because you used to show up late to things all of the time and you still haven’t forgiven yourself. You hate that your friend is a smoker because you aren’t proud of all of the self-destructive numbing behaviours that you engage in during your own life. You’re angry that your friend is using Tinder to find dates because you know that you sometimes also engage in surface level relationships with people who you’re not that excited about.
Whatever the emotional trigger is that someone else brings up in you, ask yourself “How am I like that?” and you will get an extremely valuable window into how you show up in the world.
All of the tricks, hacks, and tips in the world wouldn’t do a damn thing to help you connect with others unless you courageously chose to be vulnerable with the people in your life.
Vulnerability isn’t weakness… it takes the ultimate courage.
Vulnerability is about taking off your armour and letting people know that you don’t have it all figured out. It’s telling people that you struggle sometimes and you’re often afraid. It’s about being honest and real with the people in your life who deserve to know the truest version of you that you can show.
Vulnerability is about knowing how to apologize. It’s about telling your partner/spouse/friend that you messed up and not needing to follow it up with a “but…”. It’s about letting people see you for the beautifully flawed human you are.
Vulnerability takes real mental and emotional strength. And for every ounce of vulnerability that you deploy out to the world you get equal amounts of emotional connection in return.
The Four Relationship Rules
That’s it. Self-love, see and hear people, ‘how am I like that?’, and vulnerability.
Try these out in your intimate relationship one at a time and see how your life transforms over night.
You, your partner, your family, and your extended social network will all benefit from your journey towards becoming a more loving an compassionate human being.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com
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