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Whether you‘re aware of it or not, your relationships influence how happy and satisfied you are in your life.  And, we‘re not only speaking in terms of romantic relationships, but, rather, all of the relationships we have in our lives.  

Each person we interact with contributes a vital role in how we interpret ourselves and the world around us, so you can see how essential it must be to care for and nurture your relationships. Perhaps, you‘re happy in your president situation, or maybe you‘re struggling. In any case, we know that the greatest relationships can always get better. Keep reading to learn 10 vital keys that will improve every relationship in your life.

Key One: Know What You Value Most  

Before you can begin to improving a thing about your relationships, you must know what is most important to you. Discovering this involve you to go deep inside and identify what you value most in a relationship.  

Understand that values aren’t the same thing as strategies. Strategies have to do with very specific information (I’m going to being in a committed relationship in the next six months); while values are much broader in scope (I value caring and consideration.) Once you identify what it is that you value, you’ll be clear enough to start getting those things from your relationships.

Key Two: Know What You Do Want Instead of What You Don't Want

Frequently, people focus primarily on the things that they “Don’t” want in a relationship. This kind of thinking produces ideas such as, “I don’t want my significant other all his time at work” or “I don’t want my mother to put me down about everything I do.” While not wanting these things is reasonable, it’s very hard to get results when you‘re dealing with all the things that you don’t want.  

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Instead, think about what it is that you “DO” want. Maybe what you really want is to spend more time with your spouse and to receive more appreciation from your mother.  Clearly understanding what you want is the only way to start getting the things that you want in a relationship.

Key Three: Don't Take It to Heart  

Getting the door to open with this key is difficult for many people because, as humans, we seem to react emotionally to situations where we feel hurt, or helpless. In order to learn how to stop taking things personally, it's important that we understand that everything people say or do are driven by a desire to meet their own needs, or to support something that they value.  

In other words, while it may seem to you that they‘re launching a personal attack, what’s really happening is that something they need or value is missing from the situation.  Once we understand that their actions are all about them—not us—it’s easier to move forward and solve the problem instead of reacting to it.

Key Four: The Gift of Presence  

Key number four is all about putting your own judgments and opinions aside and really listening to what your partner has to say. So much of our communication is clouded with our own feelings, desires, and agendas; it’s easy to miss important clues about what the other partner really needs to make the relationship work. Giving the gift of your presence to someone else shows that you truly care about making a deep and lasting connection.  

Key Five: Now It's Their Turn  

After you’ve discovered what’s most important to you, it’s time to explore your partners values. it’s just as important that you identify very clearly what the other person would ideally like to have in your relationship – what they value most and want to experience. Once you and your partner have an understanding about what you both want from your relationship, you can move forward and open the next door.  

Key Six – Sharing the Vision  

The next key for improving your relationships is the ability to create a shared vision. Instead of working independently toward your own goal, try finding common goals that you share with your partner. When you have a shared vision about what you want for the relationship, making agreements and accomplishing results happens much more easily. This key opens the door to greater success and mutual satisfaction.

Key Seven: Line It up

Once you’ve identified what you want and value, and you’ve given your presence to your partner and come to an understanding about what they want and value, it’s time to have a very clear, conscious conversation about what you each want to create in your relationship. Do you want to spend more time together?  Do you want to be more appreciative of each other?  

The alignment conversation is your time to formulate a blueprint for the actions you and your partner agree to take to insure that both of you get what you need.

Key Eight: Take It Easy on Yourself  

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the keys you need turn to be there for your partner.  Throughout the process, it’s also important to take care of yourself.  It’s common for alignment conversations to bring up past pain and resentments as you focus on how to change the present situation. When you start to feel any discomfort, or irritated the conversation may bring up – STOP.  Give yourself a breather and take the time to look at the causes underneath the feelings you are experiencing.  

As we mentioned before, everything that everyone says or does is motivated by a value that isn’t being experienced, and this includes the voice inside your head.  Figure out what may be stimulating your emotions before moving on with the conversation.

Key Nine: Learning the Negotiation Dance  

Once you’ve created an alignment with your partner, you’ll need to make some concrete agreements about how to reach your goals for the relationship.  For example, if you both agree that you would like to create more trust, perhaps you’ll create an agreement about checking in with each when you need more information.  

The best way to reach these agreements is through negotiation with your partner. Negotiation is a lot like dancing:  you step forward, your partner steps back, you turn around and then meet in the middle. Perfecting this dance takes some practice, but once you start actively doing the dance, it will get easier and easier.

Key Ten: Believe in the Process  

The last, but certainly not least of the keys is learning to trust the process. In order for these keys to open the doors and then keep them open, it’s imperative that you trust the process. Things may not go exactly as you imagine, but that doesn’t mean that your efforts aren’t making a shift.  

Trusting the process means putting the brakes on your cynicism, refusing to give in to futile thoughts that may come up, and have faith that it’s really and actually possible for everyone to be satisfied with the end results. The easiest way to truly have faith in the process is to become an Explorer. An Explorer has faith that there is something to discover, they have made a pledge to discover it, and they are taking action to create strategies that will fulfill that pledge.

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Each tip offers practical advice for creating success in your relationships and in your life.

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