I found this over the summer, and have gone back a few times to read it. I think they are spot on, and there are probably other “guidelines” I am not thinking of, but these are good for any type of relationship. I am in the process of yet again redefining what I want and need in a relationship. I had this type of honesty once, and I tell people that I want and need that, but until this year, I hadn’t met anyone that I felt that could happen with. If it can’t happen with John, perhaps someday I will again be able to enjoy that type of openness on more than a friend level.
It would be easier if we had a manual.
Like lemmings going over a cliff, salmon swimming upstream, and other seemingly irrational and impossible phenomena of nature, we all tend to pair up at various points in our lives. Sometimes it seems as though we find the same person time and time and again and proclaim; “Are there no princes or princesses out there among the frogs I keep on kissing!”
The process would be much simpler if we had a care and handling manual to exchange with every person we meet. I mean, even a ten-dollar electric clock comes with a do’s and don’ts list. In the absence of such a guidebook, it’s hoped that the following information will provide some help as you negotiate that sometimes treacherous process called “relationship development.”
Twenty Do’s and Don’ts of a Functional Relationship – by Eve Bernshaw
1. Who you think you are is important. Like attracts like. Do you like who you are?
2. What you want in a relationship is important, and when you are willing to ask for it, you will be able to create it. But only ask for what you want when you are clear about what it is. Until then, don’t go around demanding things you just think you should have.
3. We get exactly what we focus on. The problem or the solution. We make a choice between them with every decision we make.
4. Tell yourself the truth about what you want, not what others (family, friends, spouse) say you should have.
5. Tell everyone else your truth about what you want. Don’t be afraid to share your vision and dreams with those you love.
6. You are not defined by your relationships unless you choose to be. Consider what it says about you if you deed over you soul to one.
7. Interdependent (two independent people) relationships are the only ones that work, long term.
8. Truth is the first thing necessary to create trust in our relationships. Respect is earned from trust, and love is earned from respect. Intimacy is the gift we get when we risk telling the truth.
9. Fear of intimacy is fear of the truth. Your truth is better for you than someone else’s. Just get to know what it is, so you can finally own it, and speak it..
10. If your relationship is not getting better, it is probable getting worse. Life is dynamic and nothing ever stays the same.
11. Every relationship is unique. It takes what it takes to work. If you want it to work, you have to work it. No shortcuts. No 50/50 deals.
12. It’s not your job to fix your mate, and it’s not his or her job to fix you. Take the relationship and what your mate says at face value and stop reading into it what you’d like to hear. We can work with what’s real. It’s impossible to deal with what’s not real.
13. Unconditional love is an inside job. If you haven’t gotten it by now, guess what…start working from within. When you can give it to yourself, you’ll be ready to give it to someone else. If you can give it to someone else, you’ll recognize it when it’s given to you.
14. If you both are committed to creating a functional relationship, agree to start doing it today, without any judgments about the past. Be willing to work in the solution and let go of your need to control the outcome, moment to moment, one day at a time. Joy can only be experienced in the present moment
15. Most of our fears about what may happen in this relationship are really fears we experienced in past relationships, and have nothing to do with this person. Come to grips with what’s real and what’s Memorex! .
16. When in an argument, ask yourself Does this really PASS THE SO WHAT TEST? For you to be right does the other person have to be wrong? Think about it. Life is short. Don’t waste it on arguments that have no meaning or purpose. You can always agree to disagree if you need to. Then laugh about it, and go on to the next thing. Start observing your need to argue as just another dysfunctional, immature habit that needs to be broken.
17. When we finally learn to say we are sorry (at 3 or 93) we get to finally hear we are O.K. To error is human, and there is great virtue in all forgiveness, ourselves included. The best way to teach our children this lesson is by watching us demonstrate it.
18. Any negative, hurtful or sarcastic remark is abusive. Like a sharp knife, each word will carve out a chunk of a loving relationship that can never grow back. Please consider the source and outcome of your remarks, before you open you mouth to tell your truth.
19. Never let a day go by without saying and showing how much your relationship and partner mean to you. Never take a moment for granted. Express how grateful you are for your good fortune, however meek or humble it may be. Appreciation and gratefulness have magic in them. It seems the more we express them, the more reasons we are given to say thank you.
20. To have a functional relationship you have to be willing to risk loosing it everyday, by telling your truth. If you don’t feel free to tell your truth, start asking yourself why you think it’s so important to stay, and what else you are willing to loose besides your self-esteem.
For starters, you can ask your mate to tell their truth, and be willing to accept it at face value, without judgment. Now you both get to finally know the truth, and, if you each want a relationship based on what’s real for both of you.
…..for optimum results, start doing this in the first five minutes of meeting anyone.