A satisfying, loving relationship doesn’t have to be hard, but there are components that need to be included in this type of relationship in order for things to work out well. This is part 2 of a 2-part episode where we talk about the last 5 components.
If you’re still not satisfied with your relationships after listening to part 1, then this episode should wrap things up quite nicely.
*Thank you to our sponsor Levels For Guitar for helping us bring this show to you! Get a month’s access to an entire library of guitar lessons for free now: levelsforguitar.com/brain
Today’s quote is by Anjelica Huston and it’s this:
“I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to go into relationships as a needy person. Better to go in with a full deck.”
This quote is really loaded. In fact, it could substitute much of what I’m going to talk about today. So if you really absorb this quote, you can stop the show right now and improve your relationships tenfold.
But, if you want some more details, keep listening! This is part 2 of a two part episode called “The 10 Components That Make Up a Satisfying, Loving Relationship” (click here for part 1). In this episode, we’ll cover the second 5 components, giving you a bigger picture to help you adopt a general philosophy on what makes up strong, healthy relationships. They can be friends and family, or intimate, romantic relationships.
Either way, all of these apply to most types of relationships so you’re sure to learn something today.
We’ll get to next 5 components momentarily.
In part 1, we went over the first 5 components that make up a satisfying, loving relationship. Remember, these don’t necessarily have to be intimate, romantic relationships only. Before we talk about 6 through 10, here’s a reminder of the first 5. They are:
- Both people must have well defined boundaries of what’s acceptable, and what’s not.
What better way to be in a relationship when you know exactly what the other person stands for, and what they care about. When you’re able to honor someone else’s boundaries while still honoring your own, you create amazing synergy and connection.
- Reciprocation must be as close to equal as possible.
Fairness and equality in a relationship is one of the keys to longevity. After all, if one person is more on the giving side and the other is on the taking side, resentment can build.
It’s not always the case of course, because sometimes you have people that always want to give more than they receive. But you’ll know when it’s unfair because you’ll feel resentment if there’s neglect in any way.
Reciprocation prevents resentment. Resentment prevents love.
- There must be an attempt at understanding each other’s difficulties in life.
What pains and struggles does the other person face? When you know these things, you will be able to empathize more and perceive their world through their eyes.
When you know their pain points, you can do what you can to make their life easier. You may not have all the answers, and you may not be able to solve their problems, but you can find small ways to help them so that life just isn’t so hard for them.
- You must realize that everything “wrong” with the other person is really just a reflection of your own struggle with acceptance.
When you want someone to change because of something they do that you don’t like, you are focused on the wrong person. You wanting them to change is a reflection of where you are in life.
If they start smoking and you don’t like smoking, and they don’t want to stop, are you going to hang around and complain the entire time, or are you going to leave?
Honoring your boundaries involves doing what’s right for you, not focusing on their problems and how what they do affects you.
This is a tough one because we want others to change, but others don’t like to be told they have to change, so the issue becomes a point of argument and hurt feelings.
- Without some alone time, you will develop resentment.
Yup, alone time is something that many people don’t get. Of course, there are others who say, “I’m alone all the time, what are you talking about?”
If you give most of yourself to other people but rarely give yourself the time and attention you need to unwind and relax a while, you’re not going to be the best company to have around.
I’m not saying that’s always true, but you do feel better after getting an opportunity to be alone with your own thoughts for a while, right?
I call that a system reset. Alone time lets you process repetitive or worrisome thoughts, and gives you an opportunity to refresh the brain and reset where you are with everything going on in your mind.
Having a fresh perspective always makes life a little easier. And if you do feel like you have too much alone time, then find other people to balance things out.
Join meetup groups and do activities that get you around other like-minded people. I recently joined a group and we’ll be going bowling soon. This is something I probably wouldn’t do by myself, but with a group, I would definitely go bowling!
Anyway, let’s move right into the number 6 component that makes up a satisfying, loving relationship:
- Trying new things
This sounds simple at first, “Just try new things, and you’ll be happy!” But what’s really going on here is that so many people are comfortable living in their box. If something new comes along, they’d rather stay in their box because they know their box.
And, when you know what to expect, you feel safe. A good example of this is when I was married. I preferred only going to the restaurants I knew and doing things I was already familiar with.
There were occasions that we’d try something new, but it would just be an alternate form of something we were already familiar with.
Then one night, we went to an 80s retro dance, and suddenly I was thrown into a world of uncomfortableness! This type of thing was not in my box o’ comfort so I was completely out of my element.
When she introduced the concept of going dancing, my first reaction was “no way!” But I realized that it was a chance for me to explore why I feared it. I mean, I knew I was a terrible dancer, but why did I care so much?
The obvious answer is that I didn’t want to be judged. But, I thought about it and decided that I didn’t want to go, I had to go.
I had to treat this as an experiment about me. We ended up going, and I felt absolutely foolish… for the first 10 minutes or so. Then I finally figured out what to do with my arms and legs.
I was still a terrible dancer, but I was dancing. In fact, no one looked at me funny which really surprised me.
I even thought, “Why isn’t anyone looking at me, I must look like an idiot!”
I soon realized why everyone wasn’t looking at me: They didn’t care.
Furthermore, they were all dancing and too preoccupied with themselves and the people they were with to even consider judging my incredibly uncoordinated dance moves.
Not only that, I realized something else even more important. Most of the club had bad dancers just like me. I’m willing to bet a good number of them, especially men, felt just as awkward.
I thought, “At least I’m not alone in my awkwardness.“
And that felt better actually. Knowing that I was one of many bad dancers that night, many of whom were probably also wondering if they were being stared at. It made me feel so much more comfortable.
Not only that, I found great relief knowing that only the really, really good dancers were being watched. That made perfect sense! When people go dancing, they’re probably more likely to watch the good dancers than the bad ones like me!
By the time the evening was over, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to dance even more! But my wife had to drag me out of there. I started the evening not wanting to go, and ended up not wanting to leave.
What this experience did was expand my courage and increase my flexibility. After that, if my wife wanted to do anything new, I wanted to try it out. And now, my automatic response to things I’ve never tried is “yes”.
I said “yes” to a baseball game last night, in fact. I’ve never been to a baseball game because I thought they were the most boring thing to have ever graced a television screen.
Then we went to the game and it was nothing like TV and entirely stimulating and fun. TV only shows you a tiny view of what goes on at a game. And if you care about the technicalities of the game, the TV will help you analyze those.
But if you want the emotion and visceral experience of being with a crowd, getting served food and feeling the positive energy of connecting with friends, then a baseball game becomes an adventure. I had no idea there were fireworks and mini shows and so many other experiential events that go on.
I’m still not a fan of baseball, but I’m now a fan of going to baseball games.
This is the difference. You don’t have to like something, but don’t judge it until you’ve been there and had the sensory experience of doing it and being a part of it.
It’s the difference between looking at a picture of a waterfall, and being there at the base getting sprayed by the crashing water while the sun warms your face.
My girlfriend tells me that’s one of the things she loves about me, that I say “yes” to new experiences. She’ll suggest we do something I’ve never tried and never wanted to try in the past, like line dancing for example, and I’ll say “Sure!”.
This has brought us closer, and it takes me out of that box I’ve been so comfortable in for the longest time.
I still hesitate when she suggests things now and then, but I almost always end up with a “yes” nowadays.
The reason being open to trying new things is on this list is because when you get out of that comfort zone box you’re in and open your mind, the act of newness with the people you love will build stronger bonds and generate more laughter and satisfaction overall.
I used to love only chain restaurants. Now I’ll try places that look like a dive, and find out the food is great. I’m even trying foods I’ve refused to eat since I was a child simply because I want to know if I’m just carrying around old programming.
Opening your mind to new things expands who you are, and gives you a lot more to talk about and bond over. If you’re typically a closed person, open up and see where it takes you.
- Appreciating how they treat other people
One thing I learned quite recently has to do with how the people in your relationships treat other people besides you.
When I met my girlfriend, she said that she thought I was pretty trustworthy right away because she saw how I treated my mother.
She said, “A guy who is nice to his mother will be nice to women in general.”
I thought that was an interesting observation. I never thought about how I treat my mom, because I’ve always treated her the way I treat her. I’m kind and loving towards her but I never think about it because it’s always been the way it is.
Well, my girlfriend noticed, because she was scoping me out and trying to figure out what kind of person I was. Fortunately, I passed her tests!
But she did teach me that the way the people in your life treat other people besides you will be the way they eventually, if not already, treat you.
She said, “When they’re mean to the waiters, they’ll eventually be mean to you because it’s in them.”
This turns out to be true more times than not, and I’ll tell you why. When you are in an emotional reaction, what’s coming out of you is what’s buried under the surface.
That buried stuff is all the repressed emotions you don’t typically show the world until you are reacting to something. Since emotional outbursts are typically reactions, an emotional trigger of some sort, then why would your reaction be any different with people close to you or people you don’t know.
In other words, if what’s buried comes out when you’re yelling at a waiter, why wouldn’t that same buried, repressed negativity come out of you when you react to your loved ones.
A lot of relationships start off with the honeymoon phase. Even friendships. This is the time when you are more careful to show bits of pieces of you until you get to know the other person better.
You are more controlling of what comes out of you, because you really want to show your best side. But if there’s a darker side underneath, that may not come out for months.
Then maybe you’ll see that person yelling at their parents or the waiter or doing something unexpected and offensive. It comes out, people and feelings get hurt, then it goes back in, getting repressed to lie dormant until the next episode.
When you see how the people you’re with treat other people, that’s really what’s going on inside of them. And it’s possible they’ll treat you fine, but because it’s in them, you never know.
This is more true in intimate relationships, but I’ve seen it happen in both family and platonic situations.
If you can look at the person you’re in a relationship with and be completely comfortable with how they treat other people, that’s a bonus. When you’re fearful or concerned about how the person you’re with will treat someone else, it’s completely uncomfortable.
It’s living in fear and uncertainty. I used to feel bad for the waitresses that waited on my stepfather. As soon as he got intoxicated enough, he would start saying inappropriate things to them, and they would just act friendly, if not really awkward.
But that’s what was going on underneath his conscious thoughts. And that’s how he talked to people when he was drunk. It was certainly hard for others to be around him when he was drinking, but I wonder how hard it must have been for my mom who was married to him for so long?
Some people saw the real him, others didn’t. I guarantee that she did not appreciate how he treated other people, or her.
How do you treat others? How do the people in your life treat other people? If you’re at all nervous when other people get near the people that are close to you, then it’s going to be difficult to maintain a good relationship.
After all, how can you relax knowing that the person next to you has the capability of changing before your eyes?
Appreciating how the people you love treat other people is a wonderful gift, when it’s available. When it’s not, the only thing you appreciate is finding a way out.
If you have this component in your relationship, where you can really appreciate how they treat other people, there’ll be no concerns about how they treat you.
Sounds like a simple concept, right?
How someone treats their friends, family and others shows what’s inside them. And if you’re with someone who loves and respects you, you may never see that side of them.
But wait until you do something they don’t like. Who do you think comes out – the person that loves and respects you no matter what? Or, the person you saw come out before when someone else did something they didn’t like.
Who they come out as in front of other people will likely be how they come out in front of you. This isn’t always the case, but you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat other people.
I know a girl who, when she was dating and looking for Mr. Right, found a guy that was super friendly, quite well off, and overall kind and considerate.
She thought ‘this could be the guy that might make a great husband and a loving dad.’ Then he said something about his ex-wife.
They were driving along, and he was telling her how much he was going to screw over his ex-wife. It didn’t take her long to realize what kind of person he was inside, and that what she was seeing was when he’s on his best behavior.
But knowing that he had it in him to make his ex-wife’s life miserable, and had no problem throwing lots of money at lawyers to bankrupt her, this girl got out of the relationship really quick. After all, she saw what was possible and what could happen to her.
Sometimes you think that the person you’re with might be one way to certain people, but never to you.
Hopefully, you’re right. But all you need to do is look at the trend. If there’s a wake of destruction behind someone, how will it look for you when things don’t go their way?
Appreciating how they treat other people is the same as saying that you appreciate how they treat you, even when things don’t go their way.
It’s the basics of job interviews right? They tell you never to talk bad about your former bosses, because that’s how you’ll eventually behave towards them, in theory of course.
Well, if you know someone who tends to treat people in a bad way, eventually, that behavior will come into your relationship.
Again, this isn’t always true so I don’t want to discourage you. But you do want to look for the red flags when all goes badly.
- Wanting them to be happy, even if it costs the relationship
This is the most surprising one to people because it involves letting go on your part so that the one you love can be happy.
There’s a somewhat complex set of variables here, but I’ll do my best to explain what I mean by this particular component. If you really love someone, does your love come from a strong need to be loved or a strong desire to see the person you love happy?
I’ve had this concept wrong for most of my life. Before my 40s, my idea of a loving relationship was when I depended on someone to love me back.
My idea of a happy relationship was when both of us longed for each other, and we felt empty when neither of us weren’t around. This is in my romantic relationships at least.
But I truly believed that in order for me to be happy, it meant that I depended on the girl in my life to make me happy. When she wanted to be with me, it made me feel whole and fulfilled.
And the same went for her. I believed that in order for her to be happy, she would want me to be dependent on her and wanting to be with her.
That’s how we defined happiness in our relationship.
But this is dysfunctional.
If you long for someone and you are dependent on them for your happiness, you are setting yourself up for a lot of stress and pain. And, if you really want them to be happy, are you willing to allow them to leave the relationship to make that happen?
This is a touchy subject, I realize, but think about what you want for someone else. Think about a friend of yours… What if they really wanted to move out of the country, you’d never see them again, but they said it was “their calling”? Would you be sad, but support them anyway knowing it would make them happy?
How about if it was your romantic partner or spouse? Would you be just as supportive?
Now I know that kind of decision certainly has more attachments to it. You could have bills or kids or other connections that aren’t easy to close. But, what if none of that mattered, or everything was taken care of otherwise?
What if your partner said, “I don’t love you anymore, and I want to pursue my dream in another country?”
Of course, you’d probably have a long conversation. It would be painful, and you’d likely recommend alternatives.
But what if they truly wanted to leave you? It’s painful, but at the same time, would you want them to stay knowing they would be unhappy?
It takes a really evolved conscious to wish someone well when they don’t want to be with you or even love you anymore.
I’m not saying you must reach this level of consciousness yourself, I’m just saying that when you really want someone else to be happy, you support their path. And by doing so, their happiness reveals itself.
Now, I’m going to bring you back to a better space with all this. Here’s where it gets a little complex, so pay close attention.
By loving and supporting them, you want them to be happy. If they know that you support them even if they chose to leave you, they will more likely want to stay with you than leave you.
It sounds like a little reverse psychology, I realize, but when you give someone freedom to do what they want so that they are happy, they are going to want to be with the person that gives them that freedom.
Think about it from the other side for a minute. If you were with someone who said, “I just want you to be happy, no matter what”, how would that feel?
You might think, “Yeah, right. As soon as I want to take a day off and do something with my friends, you’re going to complain or get angry or something.”
That could be true, depending on the relationships you’ve had or have now. But let’s just say that they really just wanted you to be happy. And you were free to do anything that allowed you to be happy.
And when you tested them, they passed. In other words, you pursued something you knew would make you happy and they supported you.
Do you really want to leave someone who gives you that kind of space and freedom? I wouldn’t, for sure!
Now of course, there are still boundaries that define the relationship. If you want someone to be happy, and their definition of happy is betraying your love or cheating or defying your friendship, you still have personal boundaries to honor.
You both have personal boundaries, and you also have the boundaries of the relationship. Just because you have a free pass doesn’t mean you go outside the boundaries of the relationship.
Of course, you may have very loose boundaries and that’s your choice, but if you’ve made your boundaries clear, you both can still pursue happiness without crossing the line and stepping out of the boundaries.
Does that make sense?
In other words, you are free to do what you want, but if you really want to step out of the boundaries of the relationship, then you are threatening the existence of the relationship.
That means breaking up or getting divorced, or getting counseling or something! You want to give people space and freedom, but they also have to respect your expectations in the relationship.
I apologize if this sounds a little complex, but if you’re getting this, it can really free you from a lot of stress in relating to people.
I’ll give you an example of supporting someone’s happiness. My first long-term girlfriend got a giant tattoo on her back. Honestly, I didn’t want her to get it. But, she did, so I had a choice to either complain about it, or accept it and support her.
I decided to accept what was and support her. In fact, there was a time we were going to a get together with friends and strangers, and she was debating on wearing a backless dress because of what people might think.
If I wasn’t accepting and supportive, I would have said, “Yeah, cover that up, you don’t want to be embarrassed.”
But, because I chose to accept and support her, I said, “Screw them! You can wear anything you want. Show it off proudly!”
I think she liked that answer, because that’s exactly what she did.
She did something I didn’t necessarily want her to do (get a very large tattoo on her back), and at the same time, I was evolved enough (though, I had much more growing to do back then), that I knew I would struggle if I chose to be upset.
I just accepted what was, and decided to support her happiness.
This component, “Wanting them to be happy, even if it costs the relationship” isn’t so much a hard and fast rule, it’s more of a philosophy.
Develop the philosophy that no matter what, you are there to support their happiness above almost everything. If that means they want to leave you, that’s what it means.
I’m not saying that will happen, I’m saying that by conveying this in your words, behavior and overall energy, a happier person they will be.
And happy people usually like to be with those who give them the space to be that way.
We’re almost done. Number 9 is next.
- Turning off your judgment so that they feel safe enough to tell you anything
If you listened to the episode on judgment, you already know this one by heart. This is another component that, when you master it, they’ll want to be your friend, family or lover for the rest of your life!
I know, that’s a tall promise, but let me tell you why I believe this:
When you give someone the space to do or say what they want, without you speaking a judgmental word or giving them a judgmental look, you make them feel safe.
When someone doesn’t feel safe, they distance themselves from what and who makes them feel that way.
In every one of my relationships except the one I’m in now, the girl I was with didn’t feel safe. The reason was because of my judgment issues.
I judged what they ate, how much they exercised, if they went out with their friends, all kinds of things. I was the best judger I knew, and I was very good at it.
I’m not proud of it, of course, but being in those shoes at one time taught me a lot about what happens when you judge people.
Judging others makes them feel unsafe.
You hear it from anxious people all the time, “I don’t want to go because people might judge me.”
If you are experiencing any lack in self-esteem or self-worth, then you will feel judgment hard. It will hurt and you will feel unsafe.
Many people do have a lack in self-esteem and self-worth which is why judgment is so scary for them. But even if you feel on top of the world, sometimes judgment is hard to swallow.
Recently, I had a professional review of this show and the person reviewing it said all kinds of things that were either wrong or not good for a podcast.
My chest tightened and I felt like, “Who is he to judge, this show is very successful!” but I caught myself getting tense so I stepped away from that feeling for a minute to analyze what was going on inside of me.
Here’s a perfect stranger whose opinion I can choose to accept or not telling me what’s wrong with a show I’ve been tweaking and perfecting for years, and here I am getting offended by what he’s saying.
I thought, “Wow, I’m really affected here. What’s going on with me? Am I lacking confidence in my abilities or my show? Why am I so concerned?”
Turns out I did have some doubts about some aspects of this show, and he highlighted those, along with other things I didn’t even think about.
He brought out some unresolved fears I’ve had ever since I started this show. Isn’t that interesting? When you are affected by someone’s judgment, you are essentially uncovering some unresolved concerns or worries in your life.
Judgment only works on you if there’s a part of you that believes it’s true.
So there was a part of me that believed what he was saying. That part needed some work, so I’m glad I was judged!
That’s a bonus about getting judged by the way: Your deepest fears and upsets reveal themselves.
I know, that doesn’t sound like much of a bonus, but be grateful they are revealed because it gives you a chance to process and release them. Or, you could always repress them back to where they were, which I don’t advise but I know does happen.
The people you are in relationships with want a safe place to express themselves. When they get this, they open up. They feel good knowing you aren’t going to attack them or ridicule them.
Just imagine having the space to say anything you want without fear. Imagine you have shame, guilt or embarrassment that you want to talk about, and you have someone safe to do that with!
When you can be truly honest and authentic with someone because they give you a safe place to express, you will want that relationship to last. You will want to keep that person in your life.
I realize that being completely nonjudgmental is difficult, because you may still have emotional triggers yourself. I mean, just imagine giving someone a safe place to express themselves, and they said something about you. Would you be able to handle it okay?
There is something I do which I’ll teach you now, and it’s called dissociation. Dissociation is when you get out of your personal attachment to a person and be there for them almost like a stranger.
I sometimes call this jumping into a coaching or therapy mode, but it’s not quite accurate. It’s more like letting go of your attachment to yourself.
When you are not connected to “you” and are speaking to the other person from a merely observational space, you can talk about almost anything without them causing a reaction in you.
You won’t get mad or offended when they say things about you, and you’ll actually be there for them, listening with a compassionate ear.
How do you do this? How can you really detach from yourself?
Here’s the trick: Know that everything they’re saying isn’t truth, it’s the verbal release of emotional energy.
I know, that sounds kind of matter of fact, but that’s the point. When someone is emoting to you and maybe crying and upset, that’s just emotional release. The words don’t matter.
Repeat after me, The Words Don’t Matter.
What ever they say isn’t the point, it’s the fact that they’re saying it and likely releasing it because they feel safe enough to say it.
If they’ve developed a lot of fear or anger about you but you give them a safe place to express all of that, all the emotional energy behind it will get drained.
You react and respond. Once you react and respond, you cause them to repress some or all of that emotional energy again, forcing them to go on the defensive. They’ll no longer feel safe, and they won’t share with you anymore because you reacted.
But you have to remember, their words are only thoughts and emotions transformed. Instead of screaming their emotions out, they’re using words like hate and hurt and pain and sometimes they’re cursing at you and blaming you for everything.
But how do you become the nonjudgmental observer? You focus on the fact that they are releasing negative energy from their body in the form of words. Sure, those words may seem hurtful but it doesn’t matter. They need this space to say anything they have to say.
And your job is to go, “Alright, what else? What else is in there? You hate me? Alright, what else is in there. I’m listening.”
This shows them that you’re not going to strike back, and that you are there for them no matter what they have to say.
I learned to do this while I was married. I dissociated and focused on them having the space and freedom to release that emotional energy no matter how the words came out.
The first time I did this, she said everything she had to say, and she was done. And relieved. And, she felt better. And later on, she even said that she really didn’t mean most of the stuff she said about me.
Well, she meant some of it, but the more intense things she said she no longer felt. Those feelings were gone.
You need to remember when people are venting like this, it’s momentary. It could have been stored inside of them for a long time, but once it’s out, it no longer has the energy to back it up anymore, so they really don’t feel the same they did when you were letting them release it.
Sometimes they do though, and that just means there are more unresolved issues to release. It all depends on what they’re upset about.
Regardless, when you give them the space, and you prove that you are a safe person to express to, even if it’s about you, you create massive trust and bonding.
Well, unless you did something completely unforgivable, then they may not bond with you. They may be thankful you gave them the space, but if you crossed the relationship boundaries, they may hold a grudge for a while.
The point is, allowing space to release and speak whatever’s on their mind gives them the feeling of safety. Turning off your judgments is a matter of focusing on the person getting well by allowing them to release all that negative energy.
Just be there and listen. And tell them you’re there to let them get it all out. You’ll be surprised what happens. There could be a lot of yelling and it could last a while. But eventually, it will stop.
People get tired and they eventually stop venting. When they stop, thank them. Thank them for trusting you to say everything they said.
They might actually be shocked. But just thank them and don’t respond to anything they were venting about. Don’t retaliate or ask questions. Only talk about what they said if they ask you to. And if that happens, tell them you’re going to need the same space you gave them so that you can now speak your mind without interruption.
They may not like that idea so much, but if you get the chance and you have someone that will do that for you, it’s a great opportunity to release a lot of repressed emotion.
We’re now going on to the last component of what makes up a satisfying, loving relationship coming up next.
- A relationship can never be its potential if you have not built a foundation of trust
This last component is the very first step in creating a relationship that will satisfy you, that you’ll love, and that will last. Everything you do with someone else boils down to trust.
When you have a solid foundation of trust, you can survive almost anything because you know that person is someone of integrity and honor.
The most satisfying relationships will be built on trust.
Trust is intertwined with every component we’ve talked about so far. You have to have someone that you can trust to honor your boundaries, treat you fairly, understand your challenges, and try new things with. Trust is a part of all of the other components in some way.
The foundation you build with someone is how the relationship stands on its own. When the trust is there, suspicions don’t exist, worrying about what someone else might think doesn’t exist, judgments don’t exist. Really, if you had 100% trust between you, you wouldn’t have to work on too many other things.
Trust is letting the people in your life into your space without fear. Trust is being allowed to say anything you want, and be yourself. Trust is not giving in to temptations.
Trust really is hard to build sometimes, because many of us have been burned. And if you get burned enough times, you stop trusting completely. You back off and watch for warning signs, sometimes throughout the entire relationship.
Trust is earned through repeated behavior over and over again. It’s a level of predictability that provides security.
You might have to do something a hundred times before you are completely trusted. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.
But most people don’t have 100% trust, and this is completely normal, and smart. You should have enough trust that has built up to a level you’re comfortable with, but keep your eyes open.
Not just because other people might do bad things, but so that you don’t get so trusting you are gullible. Remember, your instincts play a role too, so keep that in mind when you are being trusting.
My stepfather falls for those internet scams. He’s sent so much money to scammers outside the country, I think they built a statue in his honor. I’m only kidding about the statue part, but the rest is true!
He trusts the stories he reads in the emails he gets and sends them bank account numbers and money orders. It’s crazy and he cannot be convinced otherwise.
Anyway, he trusts strangers over the internet and ignores the red flags. Why? Because he wants to believe the stories so badly, that just in case they’re true, it’s worth the risk.
This happens in relationships when you stop trusting your instinct. You instinctively know something is up, but just in case it isn’t true, it’s worth the risk of ignoring your instinct.
I realize I’m talking about distrust now, but trust is built on how much you don’t distrust someone else.
It’s true, you never know what someone else is capable of until they reveal what they’re capable of. So should you be 100% trusting of someone, ever? I think you can be for sure. But I also think you can have a backup plan too.
If you give all of your money to someone you trust and have nothing left, that’s not much of a backup plan. But if you keep a $100 under your pillow just in case, that’s something!
Building trust involves decreasing your distrust to the point where you no longer distrust, if that makes sense.
I do believe as people are able to alleviate your fears and silence your suspicious thoughts, trust builds.
We are all skeptical about something in life, so we need evidence to prove that what we’re skeptical about is truth. When we don’t get evidence, we keep one eye open until we realize it’s not a threat or as bad as we think.
Then finally, we’ve seen nothing bad over and over again, and we decide to fully trust. I think this is a healthy approach. When you can fully trust because you gave something so many chances to prove itself, there’s not much more you can do.
What happens in many relationships however is that the mistrust never decreases, it’s just always there. And any mistrust decreases love and satisfaction. Even a small amount can be enough to make someone uncomfortable in the relationship.
But trust is where everything begins. If you don’t have that, what have you got to build on? What’s left? You won’t feel safe with them, but I guess you can still hang out.
Trust is so important, which is why deception and betrayal are such relationship destroyers.
There are those that have cheated on their partners. They gave into temptation, and things happened. So when that happens, the trust goes away. Sometimes for a long time, and sometimes forever.
When you have a solid foundation of trust, don’t do anything to shake that foundation because you’ll likely never get it back. If you truly want a satisfying, loving relationship, do nothing to shake that trust foundation because it’s so hard to rebuild!
Knocking down the walls of trust is like starting over, except this time the equipment is a lot heavier, you have less help, and the job of rebuilding the walls is probably going to last years.
And if you’ve already knocked down the walls of trust, all you can do is keep showing up. Keep showing up and showing up, showing the other person that you know you screwed up, but you’re going to keep showing up no matter how long it takes.
And if and when you rebuild that trust, never let it crumble again.
When you know you have trust, the rest of the components that make up a satisfying, loving relationship come a lot easier.
And don’t you want your relationships to be just a bit easier overall? I think that’s a great goal to have. So apply these components to your relationship, show the people in your life that you are trustworthy by your actions, not your words, and make your relationships last so that you have a solid network of people that surround you with love and satisfaction.
That wraps it up for the 10 components that make up a satisfying, loving relationship. I hope at least one of them changes the relationships you have for the better.
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Well, we’ve reached the end of part 2 of the 10 components that make up a satisfying, loving relationship.
What are your unanswered questions? I know one thing I didn’t touch on too much and that’s this: What if the person I want a relationship with doesn’t follow this criteria? What if I’m all about opening up to them and being their non-judgmental ear, but they can’t possibly do the same back for me?
What if they don’t believe in all this crap and just want to be who they are?
If this is your question, there’s absolutely nothing you can do. And I would suggest that you either accept who they are and be happy with what you have, or don’t accept it and look for alternatives to your current situation.
If you choose to stick around someone who you don’t accept, that’s really you causing your own suffering.
If you feel stuck in the situation you’re in, and you really believe you can’t get out of it, you can at least accept that’s how it’s going to be unless things change.
And by accepting things won’t change, you clear your mind of the suffering. You’ll find other things to suffer about I’m sure, but at least you’ll be able to stop asking yourself, “Why won’t they change? Why is this happening?” and other similar questions.
I teach this in the Problem Escape Plan workbook. Do you remember I talked about this a couple episodes back?
Here it is:
Think of a problem you have, let’s say the person you’re with won’t change.
Can you accept this problem? If not, solve it.
Can you solve this problem? If not, adapt to it.
Can you adapt to this problem? If not, walk away from it.
Can you walk away from this problem? If not, accept it.
Then just repeat these four questions until the suffering ends, OR until you realize that unless you follow at least one of these, your suffering will never end.
That’s what I call the Problem Escape Plan. There’s a lot more to it in the workbook of course, but really you can run any problem through that line of questions.
If you don’t want to do any of those steps, then what’s causing your suffering is you. The problem may not be your fault, but how you choose to deal with having it is very much your responsibility.
So if you’re with someone who won’t change, doesn’t care about this show or what I teach, and thinks you’re the one with all the issues, tell them this:
“You’re right, I do have all the issues. And you can see that I’m suffering. And because I know you love me, I know that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help me feel better. So will you try this out for me just so that I’m convinced that I’m not totally crazy?”
This guides them to focus on your suffering, not whether this stuff works or not. Anyone who really loves and supports you will try things to help you feel better just because they love you.
And if they don’t want to try supporting you, well that’s when hard decisions may have to be made.
No matter what though, I want you to step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions, so that you can create the life you want. When you do this, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.