We all want—and deserve—good, healthy relationships. But it seems that the “magic formula” to getting there is elusive at best. When things become challenging, we typically fall back on old habits, take any random advice we are given (regardless of the source) or simply do nothing and wait for the storm clouds to pass. Ultimately, we look for ways to produce results from little to no effort on our part.
How’s that working for you?
If you are serious about improving your relationships, I’ve put together four easy steps you can take to get there. They might fly in the face of some of your current tactics, but if what you’ve been doing so far isn’t producing results, maybe it’s time to change your strategy.
The key word here is “easy”. These are things you can do today that will help immediately.
1. STOP believing conventional wis-dumb
Conventional wis-dumb. It’s been around for eons. If it were any good, we’d all have great relationships by now. So your first order of business is to disregard the so-called experts and stop trying to tinker with concepts that simply don’t work.
By conventional, I mean ordinary. Typical, traditional, common. Generic, even.
You are not typical. Your situation is not ordinary. The other people in your relationships are anything but traditional.
If you, it, or they, were any of those things—typical, ordinary or traditional—you wouldn’t have these questions in the first place.
Think about it. The only reason that you have these questions is because you are facing something that is not typical, not ordinary, not traditional.
No one concept can apply to everyone. There will always be exceptions. The fact of the matter is that conventional wis-dumb applies to no one. It’s too general, too generic to be useful. It’s grossly over-simplistic to the point of being irrelevant.
Ask yourself: where did this conventional wis-dumb originate? Where did it come from in the first place?
I’ve done the research. You’d be surprised.
For the most part, it is nothing more than some other person’s fiction, fantasy or imagination. It’s about their hopes and dreams. It has nothing to do with reality and is not based on or grounded in any sort of practicality.
2. STOP asking others for advice
What makes you think that other people know more than you? Especially about you and your relationships?
What makes them such experts? What makes you revere them for their all-encompassing wis-dumb?
“If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them, you know, not me.”
– Cat Stevens, “Father and Son”
If you’re doing what someone else is telling you to do, is it your relationship anymore? Isn’t it just their relationship, once-removed?
And another thing – do these people ever follow their own advice? Or is it more along the lines of “do as I say, not as I do”.
If their advice isn’t good enough for them, why do you think it will be any good for you?
3. START being active, not passive, in your relationships
Is it really your relationship, or even a relationship, if you aren’t an active participant?
A relationship implies more than one moving part, working together to produce something new entirely. If you are not active in your relationship, you shouldn’t complain about how it’s treating you.
Can you claim to be steering the car if you aren’t behind the wheel? You’re just along for the ride. You’re a passenger. You have no say or input as to the route you take, the speed at which you’re traveling or the destination you’re headed to.
The car – that is, the relationship – will arrive at its destination—come to a conclusion—with or without you. The view will remain the same if you are forever following and never leading the way – or at least contributing in some way, shape or form.
4. START taking the time, expending the effort, and making the sacrifices that it takes to learn about relationships
Know before you go. It’s a simple adage.
Know what a relationship is, its parts and pieces. Know how those parts and pieces fit together. Know how those parts and pieces work, how they function, together. And, maybe, more importantly, know why you want a relationship, why you want this relationship.
Question. Listen. Evaluate.
Many people ask questions, few people actually listen to the answers. Fewer still actually take the time and expend the effort to evaluate the answers.
Learn what questions to ask. Asking the wrong questions guarantees the wrong answers.
Listen carefully to the answers. You can’t apply answers that you didn’t get.
Evaluate the answers you get in this way:
I. Did they actually answer your question?
II. Maybe they misunderstood your question?
III. Maybe they focused on the wrong part of the question?
IV. Maybe they only gave you part of the answer and there are key elements missing in their answer?
V. Maybe their answer didn’t make sense to you?
VI. Maybe their answer didn’t apply to your particular situation?
VII. Maybe they didn’t want to look foolish and simply say “I don’t know” and so, they gave you an answer that either isn’t relevant or is incorrect?
VIII. Validate their answers with other sources. Don’t just take their answers for granted. If the question was important enough for you to go out in search of an answer, do your due diligence and get a second opinion.
IX. Remember that there is always more than one answer to any question. There is always more than one perspective to view any situation from.
So, don’t just take the first answer that is given. After all, you don’t just want any answer, you want the answer that is right for you.
What is GoodTogether?
At GoodTogether, I debunk conventional wis-dumb. It isn’t enough to point out what is incorrect with the existing information that is being peddled, it is important to replace that worn-out, tired old crap with what is correct.
At GoodTogether, I don’t give advice. How could I? You, your background, your objective, and your situation – these are all unique to you; and so, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to tell you what to do.
At GoodTogether, I encourage you to – and show you how to – apply yourself to your relationships. I show you how to have your relationship and not just be in a relationship or a part of someone else’s relationship.
At GoodTogether, I show you:
What a relationship is and is not.
What the parts and pieces of relationships are, how they fit together, and how they function together.
What questions to ask, so you can get meaningful answers.
What the answers are that you can expect from those questions.
And, I will show you how to evaluate those answers in order to determine what to do next.
Good Together: your guide to healthy, happy relationships
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