By Gail: Honesty and understanding are key to any successful relationship. So many times, relationship dramas are caused by a lack of being honest about what we want and a lack of understanding what the other person wants. The biggest issues are that we are not honest with ourselves, and we only see our point of view. If the goal is a satisfying, uplifting, supportive relationship that fills our days with love, then that is what we must focus on and seek. Love grows when we celebrate it.
When you tell someone that you are fine with a casual relationship because you think that is what they want, but really you want exclusivity and commitment, you are in essence playing a game. Games can be fun and exciting but they also have winners and losers. Think about the long term consequences of the games you are playing, are you doing lasting damage to what could be something great? Are you doing lasting damage to yourself? Of course, casual relationships can have the potential to grow into something more, but only when you are both honest and make an effort to understand the other person.
Honesty starts with you. Awareness of what you truly desire is essential, and a willingness to admit the things that you seek will serve you well. True love is something to be shared, not hidden. Often what we love about another person is the way they make us feel – though in fact nobody “makes’ us feel anything, they trigger responses and feelings that already exist within us. Understanding yourself and how you feel is so important.
The feelings that we experience in any relationship all come from within us. Every relationship is special and unique in its own way. The qualities you feel are special and unique to you. Nobody gives you happiness, you feel happy when you are with a certain person; which means you can feel happy in yourself with or without this person. You experienced happiness before you met this person, and you can continue to experience happiness even when you are not together. The happiness you seek is in you, not in them. Understanding that your happiness lies within you is empowering and uplifting. It is also necessary when trying to come to terms with the notion that you cannot control the feelings or behavior of another person.
Clients often seek to understand what their partner wants from them, and yet they don’t know – or won’t say – what it is that they really want. Many people become transfixed on trying to please or control the other person and then wonder why they themselves are not finding pleasure. You cannot pretend to be something that you think they want and then be surprised that neither of you are fulfilled. The perfect relationship for you is one where you are loved and accepted exactly as you are, and one where you accept and love your partner without either of you trying to change the other.
Understanding any relationship or person requires you to understand your role and take responsibility for your own happiness. What do you love to do? What inspires you, lifts your mood, stirs feelings of happiness and gratitude? Focusing on ourselves and what we love brings positive changes into our lives as these are things we have control over. Focusing your energy onto another person is draining and unproductive. It can also push people away, no-one wants to hear that they are not good enough, people love to feel that they are awesome and worthy.
One of the most important things to remember about humans is that we all crave attention and affection. People love to hear that someone else finds them interesting and attractive and wants to spend time with them. Honestly telling someone how much you value them can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be, and it is rewarding. Nobody wants to hear all of the things they are doing wrong, all of the ways they are failing or falling short, nobody wants to feel not good enough. People respond best to positive encouragement, not negative feedback. This includes how we speak to ourselves too. How often do you tell yourself how amazing you are? How often do you recognize your own magnificence? Understanding and acknowledging your own positive attributes is vital in any relationship, whether it is with yourself or with someone else.
Saying things you don’t mean and not meaning the things you say are mind games. Not only do people not say what they want, they often say the complete opposite of that, and then wonder why they aren’t getting the results they want. Pretending you are not really that interested in someone hoping that it will make them more interested in you seldom makes the person chase you. People often say they don’t want a partner who plays games, and yet by not being honest that is exactly what they are doing. Saying things you don’t mean in an attempt to elicit a specific response from someone is playing a game, it is an attempt to manipulate another person. Other examples of games are giving someone the silent treatment or blocking someone that you really want to chase you. If you really don’t want to hear from someone that is one thing, but ignoring or blocking them in the hope that they will learn a lesson and change their behavior is a game that rarely results in lasting happiness. When we exhibit these sorts of behaviors we are also playing games with ourselves. You can deceive yourself you are winning, but in fact, you are also losing too. You are losing out on the exhilaration and satisfaction that comes from a truly loving relationship. Making your relationships about honesty and understanding creates situations where everyone benefits. Be honest about the values and attributes you are seeking in a relationship and understand your own behavior and motivation.
Unintentional game playing, fearing what you want, not saying what you truly mean; these are all learned behaviors and you can start to practice something new. The more you are honest the more other people will be honest with you. The more you understand yourself the more you will understand other people. When you learn to stop playing games with yourself about what you really want, you will stop playing games with other people, and as a result other people will stop playing games with you too. Honesty in relationships is refreshing and paves the way for growth and understanding. Acknowledge what you value and be honest with yourself and others, you may be surprised at how people will open up to you when you are just open and honest about yourself. True love requires truth, and that starts with you.
Love and Light,