Talk To, Not About

One area that I get asked for assistance the most is in relationships. As a matter of fact, most of the problems that I see people facing are, in one way or another, a relationship problem. Some of these problems are the result of people projecting their needs onto other people. Yes, we expect others to provide something for us--such as love, happiness, entertainment, money, career advancement, and more--but then when they come up short, we experience an emotional tantrum. This tantrum can occur either in silence or in an outburst. A very high percentage of these types of problems come down to people having trouble relating to others.

In this article I would like to share with you what I consider one the "worst-kept" secrets that exist about developing and maintaining strong relationships. It is such common sense that I marvel how rarely we put it into practice. Here it is: When dealing with problems at work, in business, or in your personal life, it is key that we talk TO people, not ABOUT them.

How often do you get upset with your significant other, friend, boss, teacher, or business partner but never say a word about it to them? Many times, we may let a problem go as being something trivial but then as soon as we are alone with friends or coworkers we start complaining and running down the person who upset us.

People, if a problem is big enough to talk to others about, it is important enough to bring before the only person who can actually help you resolve the issue. Who is that person? The person who allegedly upset you! Talking to other people will only accomplish one thing: growing the problem and driving it deeper into your heart and mind.

Here is another secret that you may not realize: All those people to whom you are crying and complaining either don't really care or are enjoying your pain. In many cases, they are happy it is you and not them--so don't be their entertainment! Whatever you do, when you hear the words "If I were you", close your ears as well as your mouth because somebody is fixing to drag you into some really deep water just to watch you drown. These, even well-intended, advice-givers have but a small clue about the inner dynamics of you and your relationships.

Relationships are built on trust, right? No! Relationships are more often built on consistency of action that makes us feel connected. These connections are built through open communication and the ability to share your thoughts then listen to honest responses, ultimately leading to mutually-beneficial behaviors.

Here is another tidbit for free: Listen with a mind to understand instead of to respond. From understanding comes wisdom and a clearer vision.

My challenge for you this week:

Dedicate yourself to the following activities and see if they don't make a big difference in your life:

  1. Talk to the people that you have issues with and try to understand their perspective of the situation.

  2. Ask them for clarification to make sure you have comprehended their perspective.

  3. Based on their response, are you placing unrealistic expectations on them? Are you asking them to do something that is not their responsibility?

  4. Be sure to restrain your ego from its need to be right.

  5. Focus totally on your true desire to build the relationship by looking for ways both parties can connect and then agree on a path forward.

In any relationship scenario, before you speak or take action, ask yourself: Will my words or actions build up or break down this relationship? Think and then grow closer!

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