It is important and helpful to become aware of the agendas we have in our relationships. First, I will explore how this impacts the development of a new relationship and then I will show you how it applies to all relationships.
Think about the early stages of dating or getting to know someone. In the beginning, she is checking him out (the genders are all interchangeable and apply across the board) to see if he meets her needs....
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Does he want to get married? Does he want children? Does he have a good job? Does he have too much baggage?
But while she is processing this data, is she really present? Can she really be open to knowing this man while she is calculating future outcomes? If she is focused on her agenda, how can she really see him or hear him? I'm not saying that we don't consider getting our needs met when forming a new relationship. I'm referring here to the idea that when it becomes an agenda, those thoughts can take over the process of how we create connection. Sometimes the voice inside our head directing these agendas is so loud that it takes us away from creating the intimacy we desire.
Another agenda might be to focus on how he will see her:
Will he think I'm attractive? Should I be more outgoing or reserved? Was his ex too needy? Maybe I should be more independent?
This agenda, focusing also takes her away from interacting with this person in an open, authentic and conscious manner. Does she want to know more about him? Is she showing interest? Is she interested in what is important to him?
You can't develop a true relationship with someone if you aren't interested in who they really are. If you are more focused on your own needs, you won't be available for the connection. If you aren't really looking at the other person, but instead wanting what you want, you are really looking to CONTROL the relationship. You are trying to feel some control over not being hurt.
If you want to create a healthy relationship, you have to be willing to give up control. The truth is that no matter how much you try, you cannot protect yourself from hurt or disappointment in relationships because it is a part of life. All love involves risk. But it's worth it.
So the question to explore is really about what motivates you to be in a relationship? If you want to create a healthy, emotionally intimate relationship, then you have to let go of your agendas.
What about relationships we are already in? Do we still have agendas about getting our needs met? I know that I have found myself guilty of this. What I have learned is to notice my 'agenda thoughts' and recognize that they usually come from a place of fear and wanting to control the outcome. Then I put them aside temporarily so I can be present and really pay attention to the other person. Where are they coming from? What are their needs? Then I ask the most important question:
Am I doing what I need to do to take care of my needs? If not, then I have work to do.
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Isn't it funny how it always comes back to that!
What are some of your agendas in your relationships?