Each of our relationships exists in three places. If we modify or alter a relationship in any of these 3 places, the relationship will be impacted.
Mostly, we're unintentional about our relationships in these three places.
Our relationships exist in our thinking about the relationship
I’m thinking about my relationship with my wife, my two boys, my parents, my siblings, my dog, some of my students, some of my colleagues, and some of my former colleagues.
Right now, I’m sitting at my computer typing this blog out. These people aren’t in the room with me, yet my relationships with them exist right here.
They exist in my thinking about them.
My relationship with my 14 year old had been a bit strained early last year. My thoughts about it: He should clean up after himself. He should talk with me as much as he used to. He shouldn't be so much more interested in his friends than he is in me.
I then had a new thought: "Oh, his teenager-hood isn’t just about him growing and changing as a boy. It’s also about me growing and changing as a dad too."
This new thought altered my relationship with him. I felt more positive when I thought about him. I felt more gratitude and love for him and for us.
When I changed my thinking about my relationship with him, the relationship itself changed.
💬 Change how you think about a relationship, and the relationship will be impacted.
Our relationships exist in how we talk about the relationship
When someone tells us about a relationship, we can’t help but form a mental image or imprint of the relationship in our minds. How we talk about our relationships create images and imprints in the minds of others.
How we talk about our relationships literally creates the relationship in the minds of others.
What kind of imprint do you want to leave in the minds of others? An imprint of a complaint, or an imprint of a possibility. An imprint of a judgment, or an imprint of a commitment?
Most of us know someone who only has complaints about their marriage, their boss, their parent, or their child. These complaints affect us. It may make us feel better about our own relationships, it may open up old wounds, or it may leave us feeling sad for this person. Their relationship, as they've described it, leads us to feeling this way.
Their relationship exists in how they talk about it, and it impacts us.
If we’re struggling in a relationship, we can talk about it like it’s a fixed entity - like the other person is a fixed and unchanging person and that we are a fixed reaction to however the other person is showing up.
Or we can create it differently.
"My wife and I are struggling to connect right now, but we’re committed to getting both our needs met.”
"I find myself so frustrated with my wife sometimes. I’m working on being a better partner and loving her for who she is and not simply how I want her to be."
"My boss can be so demanding! I’m grappling with how to do my best despite the pressure I sometimes feel that I’m under. I'm going to talk with her about it."
We sometimes struggle in relationships. We’re sometimes challenged by the people we have a relationship with. We sometimes blame the other person. We sometimes blame ourselves. Regardless how we feel about it, how we talk about a relationship creates the relationship in the listening of another person.
🗣️ Change how you talk about a relationship, and the relationship will be impacted.
Our relationships exist in who we’re being with the other person.
We are human beings. We’re always being something. And when we’re engaging with someone else in the moment, our being is the foundation for the relationship.
Being judgmental, defensive, or selfish.
Being expressed, withholding, or afraid.
Being alone, righteous, or impatient.
Being conditional, bossy, or demanding.
Being loving, generous, or compassionate.
Being patient, gentle, or understanding.
Being unconditional, unlimited, or creative.
Being present, engaged, or supportive.
We show up those ways in our relationships, and it becomes our experience of the relationship. We become that for the other person.
We always have a say in who we are being in our relationships.
Owning who we’ve been, who we could be, and who we’re committed to being in our relationships determines the nature, quality, and experience of our relationships for ourselves and others.
Mostly we’re unintentional in our relationships. We go with the default way of being. The self-interested, judgmental, fear-based, or desire-based versions of ourselves.
Our relationships are worth more than this. Our relationships are worth our intentionality. If we can be intentional in our relationships, why not be?
🕺 Change who you are being when you're with the other person, and the relationship will be impacted.
Intentionality: the access to extraordinary relationships
Perhaps the level of our intentionality in our relationships is everything about the relationship.
For myself, being unintentional in my relationships allows my judgments and conditions to take the wheel and steer my relationships to the default destination. But my relationships can be so much more than simply where the winds of my conditioning might blow them.
Being intentional is my access to being in the driver’s seat when it comes to my relationships.
I invite you to be intentional about your relationships too - how you think about them, what you say about them, and who you are being in them.
Thank you so much for engaging with my work. 🙏❤️
P.S. I help clients break through their limitations and feel amazing. If you're interested in exploring what working with me might look like, schedule a conversation with me today. 💌