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How to Move Your Relationship Light Years Ahead

Keys to Healthy Relationships

My buddy, Deone from Releasing Me Today recently posted an article on forgiving yourself and freeing yourself from the negative influence of others.

At the beginning of the article, he talks about the assumptions we make and how they influence our relationships.

It made me think about the 2 most powerful keys that have drastically and permanently moved my own relationship forward, and I had to share.

In fact, I am convinced that without these two insights, I would still be struggling in the land of singleness or striving to hold an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship together to avoid loneliness.

Unlocking Connection and Clarity in Your Relationship

1. Make No Assumptions (or at least learn to recognize the ones you do make)
I learned this  from don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements. He expands on this principle in the follow-up book The Mastery of Love. (I recommend both)

We all make assumptions of our significant others.  We make assumptions about the roles each of us play in the relationship. We make assumptions about our partner’s personality, dreams and goals.  We assume a lot of shit.

The secret to unlocking connection and vulnerability in your relationship is to recognize the assumptions you’re making.  Once you recognize the assumptions (or judgments) you’re making, you can make a choice to change them.

Quick Tip: Here’s a quick tip to help you recognize an assumption/judgment you are making.  Look for absolutes–like when you think or say, “He/She always (or never) does ‘xyz’.”  Or “That’s just the way he/she is.”

Whenever you speak/think in absolutes of “always/never, etc.,” you are making assumptions.  They may be well-founded, but they are still assumptions, and they are damaging.

2. Unload Your Expectations
The second key to creating clarity and connection in your relationship has to do with the expectations you harbor within your relationship.

Expectations are interwoven with assumptions. Often, we assume a certain behavior and expect a certain outcome all in the same thought.

No one can live up to someone else’s expectations because we can’t even live up to our own expectations.  The truth is that you don’t even know what you expect.

You may think that you have clearly identified and communicated your expectations, but there are always hidden expectations that you carry through life.

In regard to assumptions, it’s helpful to learn to recognize them.  When it comes to expectations, don’t even try.

The best option is to just learn to live in a state of non-expectation as much as possible.

How the hell do you do that? You’re probably wondering.

So glad you asked.

“I Need Nothing”

Expectations grow from your need to control outcomes.  When you release that need, expectations diminish.

If you can embrace life in the present, as it is coming to you and not make any assumptions about what it means or doesn’t mean, then you can release a lot of the expectations you carry into your life.

Within relationships, the happiest place to be is the place of “I need nothing.”

This space is complete non-resistance and, at the same time, ultimate power.

When you exist in a place of needing nothing, you cannot be manipulated or controlled by external forces.

When you do not need approval or acceptance by others, you have freed yourself.

When you do not need your partner to do or be anything different than what he or she is, then you have freed your partner.

We fear letting go because we are deluded into believing we have control in the first place.

Your power (in relationships and in life) lies in your ability to be present and experience life as it is without expectation and without making assumptions.

What Do You Think?

Now the best part…your thoughts.

I know you’ll have agreements (and probably disagreements) with my thoughts on this.  Love to hear them all. Comment below.

Do you believe that a relationship must have expectations?  If so, why?

Do you think that some assumptions are healthy or necessary?  Let me know what you think.

Photo Credit: Tekke

How have making assumptions or carrying expectations helped or hurt your relationships?

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • This is so very Taoist, Steve. I love it! I think that letting go of control and expectations is a brilliant way to approach relationships. Thanks for writing this.

    • Thanks, Amy. It is really tough to admit that I can’t control my relationship, but once I give up the need to do so, I’ve found that it frees me to really invest in the things that are most important in the relationship, such as open communication and true connection. (A byproduct of which is greater stability in the relationship).

      So it is very enigmatic…giving up perceived security tends to increase the actual stability in the relationship.

  • Hi Steve,

    This was a very powerful post, with a spiritual undertone. As a Hindu, within our scriptures, one of the main ways to achieve freedom from the bondages of the world is to go about our daily lives, including relating to others without any expectation whatsoever.

    • That’s a deeply profound truth that seems to transcend all religions. It has been so liberating for me in a very practical way to try to let go of those expectations that I hold. Thanks for adding your perspective. I love learning how these fundamental truths bridge across other cultures and religious traditions as well. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  • I agree with you and Amy, Steve. I really enjoyed reading your insights here. You clearly defined what has the potential of taking place, if we allowed ourselves to let go of controlling others in our lives. I believe the same would happen if we relinquished that same type of control in our own lives, as well. What I’ve found to be absolutely awakening is how my other relationships improve drastically when I improve the relationship I have with myself, first. This lesson has been life changing for me, and I thank you for shedding an even brighter light on the topic. Thank you also for sharing how my thoughts contributed to this article. I really appreciate the support. 🙂

    • That is a great point, Deone. I have noticed this too. When I improved my self-respect and learned better ways of communicating, my partner improved his methods of communication. The whole relationship improved…not by focusing on what *he* should change, but on improving my own communication skills.

      You certainly sparked a great discussion, and I appreciate the insight.