Two secrets to have a good relationship with your partner, children or friends
People often are surprised that their relationship with someone close to them is not as good as they hoped. There is no connection, there is no trust, there is no intimacy, or support. They try things and nothing works. They feel lost and don’t know what to do.
After exploring many cases with many of the people I work with, we almost always reach the same conclusions. And I say “almost” because I always want to make it clear that every relationship is unique, and that is why may this not apply to any of yours in particular. It’s always better to specifically explore a relationship, to see how it is and what can be changed. So, in spite of the care that must be taken when generalizing and giving formulas for a issues as delicate and personal as relationships, I wanted to share this, hoping that it will help.
The two necessary ingredients to have a good connection with someone are:
- Shared values
I’ll explain a little more about what I mean by each one:
Think of a person you have a close, intimate relationship with. A person you feel comfortable sharing things with. When you open up to that person, how do you think they’re going to react? Judging you or accepting you? You may feel embarrassed or guilty or frustrated, but after talking with them, do you think that those feelings will have decreased or increased? If you do this simple exercise you’ll realize that we open up to people who make us feel good for being who we are, by having the thoughts and desires that we have, for doing what we do. The more confident and calm we feel about being who we really are in front of that person, the more comfortable we will find ourselves feeling with them.
I would say that acceptance is the essential condition that we need to feel comfortable sharing things that really affect us and are import to us. Sometimes that is enough. Sometimes we just need to share and be heard. And the acceptance from that person is enough to get relief… from our own judgment, which is, when all is said and done, what makes us feel bad. But there are times that we need something else. Sometimes we need guidance, a new perspective. They are times when we want to do something and don’t know exactly what. We want to change something in our life and don’t know how to do it. At those times, the opinion of a person close to us can be of great value for us. And also at those times, the connection with this person has to have an importance to us that we appreciate. The person has to have given us advice, suggestions, opinions, points of view that hadn’t occurred to us and that aren’t very out of line with our way of being. By this I mean, for example:
If I’m not at all religious, and whenever I refer to a problem of mine, you mention God, I’ll stop telling you my problems, even if you accept how I am.
This is what I mean by shared values.
We find relief from how we’re feeling by feeling accepted.
And, if we want to find a possible solution to the situation that causes us to be like that (sometimes we’re not looking for a solution but just emotional relief), we need to have values in common with the person who is trying to help us.
What do you think?
Does something like this happen with your parents or your children?
Or with your partner?