Love can be…tricky. We all want to feel loved and safe in our relationships and trust the people we surround ourselves with. But most of the time, this is just not the case. People don’t act the way we want them to – we mess up, say the wrong thing, get our feelings hurt & generally tend to muck up our apologies, our delicate conversations, and our feelings.
There is another way. What do love and leadership have in common? They are both about taking personal responsibility for how you act and listen. Now it’s your turn to learn how you can improve your relationships. Your closest people are in an ever-evolving dance of communication with you. Here’s how to make it better:
Don’t. Assume. Anything.
The root of all your life’s drama lies in the land of assumptions. When you assume something about another, you interpret what they do based on projections of your own reality. Your personal story gets in the way of what is true and real, and it’s messing with your life. When you follow your assumptions, it’s easy to make others wrong, blame them, and complain. When you take personal responsibility & recognize an assumption as yours, you can clear some space to ask “is that really true?”
Often we blame others because we don’t want to look at ourselves. But recognizing your own negative thoughts is a way to stop making these damaging assumptions. Once you recognize you have these thoughts, you can let them go. The next time you make assumptions about someone, simply recognize you have done that. Then ask yourself if that thought you just had is true (or real) and make a conscious decision to stop the drama and let it go.
“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama”
– Don Miguel Ruiz
Release Your Expectations
This might sound exactly like assumptions to the untrained eye, but it is different. When you have expectations, your inner control freak is expecting something to happen, and not making an assumption about another person. Expectations plague our daily lives, causing us irritation, disappointment, and disillusionment. Your relationship expectations about what a great marriage, relationship, or partnership might not measure up to what you really experience, and you might be struggling with your own inner expectations about what it means to be a partner/lover/friend.
When these expectations go unchecked, they can become all-powerful and cause suffering and damage to our most treasured relationships. So what can we do about our (often-towering) expectations? Become open to possibility instead. Instead of getting caught up in what you or your partner SHOULD be doing, be open to the possibility that priorities shift, needs change, and that you are both always evolving. Stay in a conversation with your partner about your expectations. If you aren’t ready to do that yet, try this: Take a sheet of paper and list all the expectations you have for yourself, others, and the world. Then rip it up and see how good that feels!
“The root of suffering is at attachment.”
– The Buddha
When was the last time you really appreciated, complimented, or cheered on your loved ones without wanting anything in return? Giving your kind & loving thoughts and words to your people is a truly generous act. Give your love freely to the people you care about, let them know, as often as you can, exactly what you love about them & why.
When you criticize your loved ones, you are giving in to your expectations & assumptions about how they should be, instead of truly appreciating the perfectly imperfect human being that is in front of you. Appreciate well, and often, and you will see the magic that your open-hearted compliments can bring. Expect nothing in return for this gratitude & appreciation, practice just finding joy in giving it freely – it really doesn’t cost you a thing!
Now that you have stopped making assumptions, freed your expectations, and flexed your appreciation muscles, you’re equipped to start loving others in a new way – awesome! You are one step closer to having the healthy relationships that you deserve. The personal development and self-awareness practices I’ve outlined above are crucial for developing your own communication skills – allowing you to have clean, connected & nourishing conversations with the people who matter to you.
If you want to work on this skill with me, your Leadership Coach, you are in luck! On February 21st, I am teaching a live online workshop called Design Your Love, where we will dig into these three skills and much more, starting you on a revelatory journey of renewed relationships in your life. Reserve your spot here: www.bit.ly/designyourlove
You deserve to have pristine, great-feeling, uplifting relationships in your life. They are yours if you are willing to claim personal responsibility and work on YOUR life, first 🙂 Here are some of my favorite books on being in relationship with other humans: