Monthly Archives: August 2017

Applying Multiple Z.I.P. Into the Relationship

Relationships are really what makes the world go ’round, aren’t they? I
mean, good, positive, healthy and meaningful relationships provide us with the richest experiences we have here on this old earth of ours. Your loving
spouse who shares everything with you; that best friend who connects with you like few others do; the people at work who appreciate you and help you
to become the best that you can be; This is what brings joy to life!But… relationships can also be the bane of our existence! What really brings
more pain in this life than a broken relationship, especially when it isn’t
just broken but downright ugly!

So, it behooves us to do all that we can to keep our relationships zipping
right along, doesn’t it? If we put our very best into our relationships we
can almost guarantee getting the very best out of our relationships!

Through the years I have spent hundreds of hours working with people in
their relationships: Marriages, friendships, working relationships and
social relationships. Through it all I have seen some wonderful things and
some terrible things. It truly is the good, the bad and the ugly!

But I have been able to find three core elements of successful
relationships. These are things that, when done over time, begin to create
for you the kinds of relationships that you truly desire. They are the kinds
of relationships you have always dreamed of.

The key to remembering these three items is the acronym Z.I.P. Z.I.P. stands
for three things you can do – and begin to do immediately – to improve any
and all of your relationships. They are:

Put some ZEST into your relationships.
Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.
Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three:

Put some ZEST into your relationships.
By Zest, I primarily mean fun. Relationships were meant to be fun! We wouldn
‘t have been made with the capacity to have fun if relationships weren’t
supposed to have a little zest in them!

Think about it: Don’t you usually start out most healthy relationships with
a lot of fun times. Whether it is going out to dinner or a ballgame, or
spending time playing a game or even just a lively talk, you usually have
fun as a major part of the relationship. Fun is some of the glue that bonds
the relationship.

But as life goes on, specifically in a marriage, but in all relationships
really, the fun starts to go by the wayside. More and more it is about
getting the job done, whatever the job may be.

To restore the relationship, to put a little zip into it, we need to
reintroduce the idea of “zest.”

What about you? Have you lost the zest? What can you do to get it back?
Think of a specific relationship you have: What were the fun things you did
at the beginning of the relationship that acted as the glue that bonded you
together? Now, commit to doing those again and see if your relationship
doesn’t begin to soar again! If you can, develop new fun things to do
together so you can both start an adventure of fun together!

Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.

First a couple of clarifications: One, I don’t just mean intimacy in the
currently common understanding, that is, sexual intimacy. I mean for all
intents and purposes, taking your relationship to a deeper level. Second, I
don’t mean that you have to start doing group hugs with your workmates or
having revelation sessions where the tissue flows freely.

What I do mean is that every relationship that is mutually satisfying has a
level of depth to it that provides meaning. This is really what the search
is for in our relationships: meaning.

Remember when you first started your relationship, whether with your spouse
or friend. All of that time was spent opening up, telling who you are, where
you were from, what your likes and dislikes are. There was a deep sense of
satisfaction with the relationship – that is why it continued. You liked who
they were and you enjoyed being known by them.

But then something happens. We get to a certain level and the pursuit of
depth ends. We stop sharing feeling, likes, and dislikes. We stop sharing
joys and dreams and fears. Instead, we settle into routine. The daily grind
takes over and we stop knowing one another and we simply exist together. Now
don’t get me wrong, every time you get together doesn’t have to be deep.
Remember, I am the one who advocates in the previous paragraphs just having
plain old fun sometimes. But there is a need for regular times of intimate
connection where we go deeper with others.

This is particularly hard for many of the male species like myself but it is
not only possible but healthy and needed! If we want to have the kinds of
relationship we were made to have, we have to open ourselves up to having
others know us and for us to know others.

True meaningful relationships come when we are loved and accepted for whom
we are at our core, not simply for acting the right way in our relationships
so as to keep the other person in it.

Think about the relationships you would like to see improvement in. Take
some time in the coming weeks and months to spend time just talking and
getting to a deeper level in your relationship. Specifically, let the other
person deeper into your world. You can’t force the other person to be more
intimate and you certainly can’t say, “Let’s get together and have an
intimate conversation,” because that would be too contrived. But you can
make a decision for yourself that you will let others into your world.
Perhaps this will be the catalyst for them doing the same.

You can guard yourself from intimacy but then you won’t go much deeper and
you will feel a longing in your heart for more, or you can begin the
deepening process and see your relationships change for the better.

Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.

The most meaningful relationships we have are those that are held together
by a common purpose and vision for what the relationship can accomplish, not
only for those involved but also for a greater good.

Let’s face it, when people have a common purpose they feel like they are
part of a team and they feel bound together in that relationship. Even when
people may be disappointed in the people they are in relationship with, if
they have a purpose, such as raising the children, they are much more likely
to stick it out. Purpose creates bonds.

So what happens if we are proactively involved in seeking out a common
purpose with those who we want to have a relationship with or those who we
already have a relationship with but we would like to see it go deeper with?
Well, it gets better and stronger.

Think about your strongest relationships. Aren’t they centered around at
least one area of purpose or a common goal?

What about a relationship that has cooled? Think back and see if perhaps you
used to have a common purpose but it has gone by the wayside.

And what of your desire to see a relationship grow? Take some time to begin
to cultivate a common purpose. Sit down with that person and tell them that
you would like to have some common goals, some purposes that you pursue
together. As you develop these, you will see your relationship strengthen in
ways you never imagined!

Let’s recap: You want your relationships to show a little “zip?” Then put a
little Z.I.P. in them:

Put some ZEST into your relationships.
Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.
Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.

Chris Widener is an Internationally recognized speaker, author and radio host. He has authored over 450 articles and nine books, including a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-seller. He has produced over 85 CDs and DVDs on leadership, motivation and success In addition to being a featured contributing editor to the Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan, Chris is a regular guest speaker receiving rave reviews! Chris demonstrates a style that is engaging and versatile while providing life-changing principles of leadership, motivation and success.

How to Decide When to end a Long-term Relationship

Relationships are among of the most complex aspects of our lives, particularly long-term relationships such as marriage. Your relationships can elevate you to new heights or drag you down into the dumps.

But what if you’re somewhere in the middle?

What if your relationship is pretty good, like a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10? Should you stay, openly committing to that relationship for life? Or should you leave and look for something better, something that could become even better?

This is the dreadful state of ambivalence. You simply aren’t sure one way or the other. Maybe what you have is good enough and you’d be a fool to abandon it in search of a new relationship you may never find. Or maybe you’re seriously holding yourself back from finding a truly fulfilling relationship that would serve you well the rest of your life. Tough call.

Fortunately, there’s an excellent book that provides an intelligent process for overcoming relationship ambivalence. It’s called Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum. I read this book many years ago, and it completely changed how I think about long-term relationships.

First, the book points out the wrong way to make this decision. The wrong way is to use a balance-scale approach, attempting to weigh the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. Of course, that’s what everyone does. Weighing the pros and cons seems logical, but it doesn’t provide you with the right kind of information you need to make this decision. There will be pros and cons in every relationship, so how do you know if yours are fatal or tolerable or even wonderful? The cons tell you to leave, while the pros tell you to stay. Plus you’re required to predict future pros and cons, so how are you going to predict the future of your relationship? Who’s to say if your problems are temporary or permanent?

Kirshenbaum’s solution is to dump the balance-scale approach and use a diagnostic approach instead. Diagnose the true status of your relationship instead of trying to weigh it on a scale. This will provide you the information you need to make an intelligent decision and to know precisely why you’re making it. If you’re ambivalent, it means your relationship is sick. So discovering the precise nature of the disease seems an intelligent place to begin.

In order to perform a relationship diagnosis, the author offers a series of 36 yes/no questions to ask yourself. Each question is explained very thoroughly with several pages of text. In fact, the diagnostic procedure is essentially the whole book.

Each question is like passing your relationship through a filter. If you pass the filter, you proceed to the next question. If you don’t pass the filter, then the recommendation is that you end your relationship. In order to achieve the recommendation that you should stay together, you must pass through all 36 filters. If even one filter snags you, the recommendation is to leave.

This isn’t as brutal as it sounds though because most of these filters will be very easy for you to pass. My guess is that out of the 36 questions, less than a third will require much thought. Hopefully you can pass filters like, “Does your partner beat you?” and “Is your partner leaving the country for good without you?” without much trouble. If not, you don’t need a book to tell you your relationship is going downhill.

The author’s recommendations are based on observing the post-decision experiences of multiple couples who either stayed together or broke up after suffering from a state of ambivalence related to one of the 36 questions. The author then watched how those relationships turned out in the long run. Did the person making the stay-or-leave decision feel s/he made the correct choice years later? If the couple stayed together, did the relationship blossom into something great or decline into resentment? And if they broke up, did they find new happiness or experience everlasting regret over leaving?

I found this concept extremely valuable, like being able to turn the page of time to see what might happen. The recommendations are based on the author’s observations and her professional opinion, so I don’t recommend you take her advice blindly. However, I personally found all of her conclusions utterly sensible and didn’t find any surprises. I doubt you’ll be terribly surprised to read that a relationship with a drug user is virtually doomed to failure. But what about a relationship with someone you don’t respect? What about a long-distance relationship? Or a relationship with a workaholic who makes 10x your income? Would you like to know how such relationships tend to work out if the couple stays together vs. if they break up?

Kirshenbaum explains that where a break-up is recommended, it’s because most people who chose to stay together in that situation were unhappy, while most people who left were happier for it. So long-term happiness is the key criteria used, meaning the happiness of the individual making the stay-or-leave decision, not the (ex-)partner.

If you’re facing a “too good to leave, too bad to stay” dilemma, I highly recommend this book. You’ll breeze through most of the filters, but you’ll probably hit a few that snag you and really make you think. But I recommend this book not just for people who aren’t sure about the status of their relationship but also those with healthy relationships who want to make it even better. This book will help you diagnose the weak points of your relationship that could lead to break-up and allow you to consciously attend to them.

Here are some diagnostic points from the book you may find valuable (these are my summaries, not the author’s exact words):

1. If God or some divine being told you it was OK to leave your relationship, would you feel relieved that you could finally leave? If your religion is the only reason you’re still together, your relationship is already long dead. Drop the self-torturing beliefs and choose happiness. Living together physically but not in your heart isn’t going to fool any divine being anyway, nor is it likely to fool anyone else around you. Leave the hypocrisy behind, and take off.

2. Are you able to get your needs met in the relationship without too much difficulty? If it takes too much effort to get your needs met, then your relationship is doing you more harm than good. Leave.

3. Do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to genuinely like you? If you don’t mutually like each other, you don’t belong together.

4. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner? If there’s no spark, there’s no point in staying.

5. Does your partner exhibit any behavior that makes the relationship too difficult for you to stay in, and do you find your partner is either unwilling or incapable of changing? Results matter far more than intentions. If your partner behaves in a way that’s intolerable to you, then permanent change is a must, or you need to leave. Example: “Quit smoking for good in 30 days, or I’m gone.” Trying to tolerate the intolerable will only erode your self-esteem, and you’ll see yourself as stronger in the past than in the present.

6. Do you see yourself when you look in your partner’s eyes? A metaphor… if you don’t sense a strong compatibility with your partner, you’re better off with someone else.

7. Do you and your partner each respect each other as individuals? No mutual respect = time to leave.

8. Does your partner serve as an important resource for you in a way that you care about? If your partner does little to enhance your life and you wouldn’t lose anything important to you by leaving, then leave. You’ll break even by being on your own and gain tremendously by finding someone else who is a resource to you.

9. Does your relationship have the demonstrated capacity for forgiveness? If you can’t forgive each other’s transgressions, then resentment will gradually replace love. Leave.

10. Do you and your partner have fun together? A relationship that’s no fun is dead. Leave.

11. Do you and your partner have mutual goals and dreams for your future together? If you aren’t planning to spend your future together, something’s terribly wrong. Take off.

These questions drive home the point that a relationship should enhance your life, not drain it. At the very least, you should be happier in the relationship than outside it. Even if a break-up leads to a messy divorce with complex custody arrangements, Kirshenbaum points out that in many situations, that can still lead to long-term happiness whereas staying in a defunct relationship almost surely prevents it.

Some of the diagnostic points might seem overly harsh in terms of recommending leaving in situations you might find salvageable. A relationship, however, requires the effort and commitment of both partners. One person can’t carry it alone. Even though you might come through with a miraculous save (such as by turning around an abusive relationship), such attempts are usually doomed to failure, and even where they succeed, they may take such a tremendous toll that you ultimately feel they weren’t worth the effort. You could be much happier in a new relationship (or living alone) instead of investing so much time trying to save a relationship that’s dragging you down. You’ll do a lot more good giving yourself to someone who’s more receptive to what you have to offer and who genuinely appreciates you for it. If you’re spending your relationship fighting resistance more than sharing love, you’re probably better off letting it go and embracing a relationship that will provide greater mutual rewards for less work.

You may find it revealing to apply these diagnostic questions to a broader set of human relationships, such as your relationships with your boss and co-workers. Perhaps you can skip the sexual attraction one… but mutual respect, fun, shared goals, tolerable behavior, getting your needs met, etc. all apply perfectly well to career-oriented relationships. For example, if your boss avoids you when you try to discuss your future with the company, I’d say that’s a very bad sign for one of you.

Don’t confuse the question of whether or not you should leave your current relationship with how you might find a new relationship. If it’s clear that your current relationship should end, then end it. Once you’re on your own again, then you can (re)develop the skills needed to attract a new partner. It’s unlikely you’ll be in a place to assess your chances of entering a new relationship while you’re still in one. For one, everyone around you will perceive you as unavailable while you’re still in a relationship, so you won’t be able to get a clear sense of where you stand until you’re free of that.

A proper diagnosis may also convince you that your relationship is indeed too good to leave. That situation may last your entire life, or it may change at some point. You can’t control all the variables. But at least you’ll have a method for deciding if you can commit to your relationship in the present moment or if you should be making plans to end it.

Balancing Men and Women in Relationships

Which of us hasn’t dreamed of finally finding and keeping our perfect relationship? What if we are in a partnership that is confusing and always changing? How do we cope with the loss and heartache relationships can sometimes bring? What if we don’t seem to be attracting any kind of intimate interactions at all?

The working dynamics of good relationships are for many of us one of the greatest mysteries of life. It is a secret each of us seeks to unravel from the day we are aware there is more than one of us around. Why do interpersonal interactions — something we are all engaged in every day, every minute, every second of our lives — sometimes seem so challenging, complicated, confusing, difficult, and mysterious?

The quality of our partnerships with others actually reflects the quality of the relationships we have with ourselves. Do we know who we are, and do we like who that is? Do we believe we are worthy and deserve unconditional love? While we may know how we would like someone to love us, do we love ourselves that way already? Do we trust and accept all parts of ourselves? The bottom line for most all of us is we simply would like to be loved and accepted for who we are, for our real selves.

MALE AND FEMALE TEMPLATES

As we change our inner definition or template of our male and female selves to a place of balance and self-acceptance, we are able to attract someone who is more reflective of our true counterpart. Even if we are balanced with our inner masculine reflection, if we do not like our own femininity, we would be unable to create a truly balanced relationship for ourselves.

One aspect many people do not give much thought to is that we look to our partners to reflect aspects of ourselves back to us. For example, if we are a woman, our partner is holding a place for us so we can better understand the feminine part of ourselves. If we are a male, our partner is holding a place for us to understand the masculine part of ourselves. Although this may be the opposite way most people view their relationships, how, if we were a woman, would we be better able to understand what type of woman we were unless someone could reflect it back to us as we interact with them?

THE TASK OF ANY RELATIONSHIP

The task of any relationship is always to find ourselves, to understand ourselves, to be the complete and natural selves we already are. The only true relationship we ever really have is the one we have with ourselves. Everything else, every other interaction, whether we might realize it or not, is simply a reflection. As long as we resist being our natural, balanced selves, the real us, we continue to always attract relationships that will serve to remind us of what and who we are not. Resisting who we are will, therefore, usually attracts relationships that are unfulfilling, or ones where we have to work very hard. By being fully and completely who we are, we then attract relationships that reflect back to us the fullness of our creative being. It is the age old adage: What we put out is what we get back.

FUNCTIONING HALF COMPLETE

Many of us function as if we are only half complete. If we project the vibration of half of an individual, looking around for someone else to complete us, we attract an incomplete relationship. The resulting interaction with anyone attracted in this manner will usually come up short of what we ideally desire. Entering into any interaction from the viewpoint we need the relationship to feel complete, results in the relationship continuing to reflect and remind us of our belief in our incompleteness. What we will have is a partnership made up of two half people, truly satisfying to neither person. When we know we are a relationship unto ourselves, complete and sufficient within ourselves, we set up a vibration that attracts someone with those same qualities and assurance. Too many times people make out long, wonderful lists of all the attributes they wish their perfect partner to have. The question to ask is, are we all those things? Do we have all those attributes? Unless we are able to reflect the type of vibrational being we choose to attract, how will we ever be seen and recognized by someone who does?

WHAT DO WE ATTRACT IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS?

We always attract our definition of what we think we are capable of attracting, no matter what may be on our wish list. The first question we should ask ourselves (the most basic question for any relationship) is: What do we get out of it? What do we get out of having a relationship with so and so? Secondly, what did we learn about ourselves by being in that relationship? We primarily attract situations to ourselves that create interactions, allowing us to continue to accelerate, serve, and learn who we are. We can do this with ease, grace, love, and joy, or through the school of hard knocks. The choice is always ours.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE

The reason for relating to someone else is for the opportunity to share who we are. Approaching a relationship as an opportunity to share attracts individuals who reflect our belief in our own completeness. When our relationships are set up this way, we are able to interact with the other person as two complete individuals coming together to share experiences. We will both know and experience the idea of personal fulfillment.

THE RESULTS OF EXPECTATIONS AND JUDGMENTS

When we put expectations or value judgments on the outcome of our relationships, we never actually get to experience the real reason we created the particular interaction in the first place. For this reason, it is important to accept relationships for what they are. If we invalidate what we have drawn into our lives, we are really invalidating ourselves.

BALANCED RELATIONSHIPS

It is important to understand why we have drawn certain individuals into our lives. We usually have attracted others to allow ourselves the opportunity to grow and to give us more information about who we are. The idea is not to become like each other. The idea is to allow each individual to be the strongest, healthiest, most balanced individual they can possibly be. Sometimes we might forget this because we think unity is the product of conformity. Unity is the product of granting and allowing equality to uniqueness and diversity. In a balanced relationship, we do not lose our individuality — just the opposite occurs. We each become stronger reflections for each other of all that is possible for each of us. The purpose of any relationship is to allow us to be more of who we choose to be. It is like looking into a mirror and seeing another aspect of ourselves. This does not mean our relationships will be an exact 1-1 reflection of who we each are. Rather, our relationships become a reflection of what the two of us have agreed to learn and teach each other.

How to Enjoy Relationships Without Hindrance

This article is about how you can learn from your regrets and use them to strategically build exceptional relationships . . . relationships that are so good you won’t have future regrets in your personal or professional life . . . relationships that will reward you with great happiness.

No Regret Relationships

I got the idea for “No Regret Relationships” from one of the hardest experiences of my life – a near death experience. As I lay in my hospital bed recovering from the tragic event that almost took my life, I realized the utter importance of relationships . . . and I suddenly understood I had never given my relationships enough attention . . .

Nor had I been as loving and caring as I wished.

So I developed a plan to enhance all my current relationships and to make the most of future relationships. While doing this, I developed a relationship coaching program to help my clients create the most satisfying and enjoyable relationships possible. The following brief ideas are taken from my no-regret relationship coaching program.

How To Conduct No Regret Relationships

1. Put your relationships first.

2. Live your life in such a way as you will not harm anyone. In other words, simply do no harm in your relationships. Conduct all relationships in a manner so you will do right by everyone, even if they are unkind to you.

Yes, this is harder than it sounds, but it’s possible . . . if you set this lofty but attainable goal, and really go after it, you can do it.

If you apply this idea to all forms of communication in your relationships, your relationships will become intensely more satisfying!

2. Accept responsibility for your actions, admit you are wrong, apologize and take swift and certain steps to make a bad relationship better. If you accidentally do harm or make a mistake in your relationships, fix it immediately.

3. Prevent regrets. That means you will actively care for your relationships and keep them in such good working order that you allow no regrets to occur.

You won’t put off relationship responsibilities.

You will enjoy remarkably healthy relationships that will bring you endless benefits when you do your best by each and every relationship in your life . . . and if your life suddenly ended, you would leave without regret . . . because all your relationships would be in tip-top shape. This would bring new meaning to the process of death and dying . . . and incredible peace of mind.

Think of it, all the people in your life would be better in some way because of you!

You would leave a legacy of excellent, loving relationships . . . and through those relationships you would leave the world a better place. Many ripples would go out from those relationships, ripples affecting many situations and people. Through your relationships, both more important and less important, you would make a significant impact upon the affairs of others.

Above all, you would leave a marvelous example of how to live and love and serve. You would be a relationship benefactor to many, whose loving acts would impact countless others.

Unquestionably your positive influence would live on long after you.

4. Inject a newfound generosity and kindness into your relationships, and think of every relationship as having the potential to change lives. Love and relationships are the pathways of our expression. Relationships are the means by which we express our love.

5. Listen with every ounce of your energy when people share themselves with you. Listening from your heart takes courage, will power and self-discipline, but it does wonders for people! And it will do wonders for you, if you listen to discover new ways you can contribute to your relationships.

Listening with great focus and energy allows you to explore ways you could not only give more to your relationships, but become more thoughtful and appreciative, or find small but creative ways to touch lives.

The beauty of the ideas behind No Regret Relationships is their simplicity and power. And they work! They’ve worked for many of my clients, and they’ll work for you, too.

My near death experience showed me just how important our relationships truly are . . . and how priceless! Also, it gave me a refreshing perspective on death and dying. One that has helped me to see relationships as precious and sacred cargo.

Give to your relationships and they will give to you unimaginable treasures.

Take these techniques for a test drive. What a favorable impact they’ll have on your relationships, great or small.

Richard Hamon is a dynamic coach and therapist with 30 years of professional experience. Richard helps people to solve their relationship problems, enjoy truly extraordinary marriages and find exceptional success in all areas of their lives.

You’ll find all kinds of articles on how to spice up your relationships and lead a happier life at Richard’s website, Happy-Relationships.com. Find out about personal coaching programs to assist you in quickly reaching your loftiest goals. Discover eBooks, relaxation CDs and other informative products, such as a free relationship quiz to help you assess your relationship.