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I believe we’ve lost touch on the value of our relationships. People seem to spend more time and money on their hair, toys, and possessions than they do on their relationships. I’m not sure when we crossed over into the land of disconnect but it saddens me that we’ve become a society obsessed with instant gratification, magical solutions, constant stimulation, ten second attention spans, and never ending to-do lists. Our need to get more, do more, and have more, has outweighed our basic human need for connection, centeredness, and cooperation. We have lost touch with the value of connection and the art of relationship building and the time has come to wake up and get our lives back in balance.
My work has been dedicated to helping others learn how to create authentic and intimate relationships. It is through our relationships that we heal, transform, and thrive. In fact, it is only within the context of our relationships that we are able to exist. My request is that you take the time to examine your relationships this week. Put time and energy toward the people you relate to on a daily or weekly basis. Be willing to invest yourself and your resources into nurturing your relationships.
To assist you with this quest, I have put together Ten Commandments on Relationships. No, I didn’t get them from atop a mountain or from a burning bush. They are part of The Pathway to Love Model and they provide a context from which to begin a paradigm shift. It’s my attempt to swing the pendulum back to a position where we can heal as a community. So here it goes…
- See your relationships as your most powerful teachers. No matter how good or bad your relationships are with the people in your life, there is always more to learn. Never get complacent and never think you know or have it all. Life will humble you if you do.
- Spend time everyday nurturing your most important relationships. Quality is what counts, not quantity. Don’t get lazy. If you forget to eat, drink, or maintain your personal health, you will eventually wither and die. The same goes for your relationships. They require daily attention and care.
- Don’t expect instant gratification, magic, or constant affirmation from your relationships. Relationships have a life cycle just like human beings. Just like you don’t feel and perform a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the time, nor will your relationships. Give them a break and appreciate the long-term view.
- Remember, we are interdependent beings. You need others and others need you. We will not thrive as a species if we live in the ‘survival of the fittest’ game. Pay it back, forward, and sideways. Give freely and without expectations. If we all do this, we all win.
- Develop the skills you need in order to create healthy relationships. While we are hard wired to develop language, we are not hard wired to automatically know how to manage our emotions and communicate effectively. You took the time to learn how to write, do arithmetic, and acquire a trade. Put in at least the same amount of time, attention, money, and effort in learning how to do relationships. Read books, find role models, get coaching, counseling, or therapy. Either way, get educated.
- Don’t expect perfection—from yourself and from others. You are human. You will always be a work in progress. Be willing to admit your mistakes and learn from them. Be willing to forgive others for theirs.
- Tell people what you want and need. Don’t expect anyone to be a mind reader. Learn how to communicate in a way that is clear, direct, and kind.
- Everyone has their own perspective on things. Don’t expect everyone to agree with yours. Be willing to accept others’ perspectives as being true for them.
- Being human means you will feel happy, sad, hurt, scared, lonely, angry, excited, content, bored, etc. Emotions flow along with the changing circumstances of your life. Get comfortable with all your emotions. When you do, you will not feel compelled to find ways to deny, repress, suppress, mask, and project them onto others. I promise, no one ever died from having an emotion. They are what enable you to create intimate relationships with others.
- Your relationships are the most important assets you have in your life. Act accordingly.
The time has come for us to get back to each other and back to community. Take the time to learn how. I offer many ways from which to get started. Get ready to assess your relationship, transform your relationship at home, thrive with expert coaching, or ask Julie a question.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am committed to your success.
Remember, your best relationship starts here and now!
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
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