I’ve been doing a ton of work on relationships lately, and I want to share everything with you so you can create more fulfilling relationships in your life.
One point that I want to start with is what I’m going to talk about today, which is two huge problems I see from my clients and students and exactly how to solve them so you can have better relationships as soon as today.
Before we go into the problem and solution, I want to define what a relationship even is for you…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Separation Vs. Connection.
How To Have Better Relationships
A relationship is made up of three components:
- Your thoughts about the other person
- Their thoughts about you
- What you think the other person’s thoughts are about you
Relationships exists in your head.
This is why you can think you have the most loving relationship with someone only to find out later that your partner was leading a double life, having an affair.
This happens all the time.
From time to time, I often find in my money mindset courses that how people relate to money is how they relate to other relationships. This makes complete sense because your relationships are simply your thoughts. Your brain is in the habit of thinking certain thoughts regardless of whether it’s with respect to money or people or something else.
Studies show that being involved in any social relationship will improve your health. More on that here.
There are two main problems I see the most with respect to relationships…
- Related: Your Relationship With The World (podcast)
The Problem: We Hand Over Our Emotional Life And Create Separation
My students come to me with two recurring problems in their relationships:
- Their partner isn’t making them happy anymore (or they don’t love him anymore)
- They don’t feel connected to their friends or family members anymore, now that they’re on this personal development journey
I can relate to these problems SO MUCH.
I’ve been there.
Here’s a closer look at each problem…
Problem 1: We Hand Over Our Emotional Life
The first problem I see over and over with relationships is the expectation that someone else is responsible for your happiness and mental health.
Reminder: you are the only one who can make you happy. No relationship whether it be friends, family, or a romantic relationship can make you happy.
Your thoughts create your feelings. Always.
Not only when you’re single.
All the time.
This means that your “better half” isn’t causing you pain.
Someone did something that is 100% neutral, and you had a thought about it. That thought created the feeling. Studies like this show the science behind having happy relationships and it might not be what you think.
This doesn’t mean you won’t want to be upset, mad, or frustrated.
It does mean YOU are responsible for feeling that way. You can feel loved in any relationship if you think the right thoughts.
And you can always leave. Leave from abundance. Stay from abundance. Pay attention to your reason for wanting to leave or stay and like your reasoning.
Do not think that you can control anyone. It never works. Having a good, healthy relationship means not controlling each other.
Here are the best resources for you to bookmark for happiness:
- How To Stop Negative Self Talk (blog post)
- How To Create A Personal Growth Plan (blog post)
- What is FOMO? (podcast)
Here are the best resources to save on mindset:
- What Is A Mindset Journal? (blog post)
- How To Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind (blog post)
- Mindset Hacks (podcast)
- How To Improve Your Mindset (blog post)
- How To Coach Yourself (podcast)
- Cleaning Out Your Brain (podcast)
Problem 2: We look for separation
The next problem that I see not only from people I work with but also from my friends and family is that we’re constantly scanning for separation.
This isn’t just them either. I say we on purpose.
I am guilty of this, too.
Once I noticed this, I found it fascinating and knew I had to study it more.
Turns out that our brain is wired for this.
Your brain is constantly scanning for what is wrong in an effort to keep you alive. This means it will find what’s different immediately.
When it comes to the humans (as I like to say), you don’t need to be on high alert and notice differences, generally speaking.
You’re safe and sound and simply interacting with another imperfect human.
When we constantly look for the differences, we find them.
I heard Jay Z say once that separation comes from fear. I love this. It just further exemplifies how it’s your lower, more primitive brain at work.
When you immediately notice how something is wrong with another person—whether it’s that they complain too much, that they’re not into personal development, or that they’re not supportive enough—it’s just your brain looking for separation.
The truth is that you can redirect this part of your brain.
You can talk to your brain more than you listen to it.
- Related: 7 Tools To Manage Anxiety (free course)
The Solution: Remove Expectations And Look For Connection
So, wondering how to have better relationships and solve these problems? Whether you’re looking to improve your marriage and family or relationship with friends, these solutions will work for you.
There are two solutions to these relationship problems…
Solution 1: Remove All Expectations
The first solution is to remove your expectations from the relationship.
This sounds kind of weird at first.
But it’s nothing short than life changing.
Instead of expecting the other person to be there to “meet your needs” or “make you happy” what if you met your own needs and made yourself happy?
This is where the magic happens.
The only expectation is for the other person to just be them.
So on your next date night, night out with friends, get together with family whatever it is, don’t have any expectations.
You can love that person for who they are, faults and all. Spending more quality time with someone because you truly enjoy their company for who they are.
They don’t need to do anything.
This doesn’t mean you stay and that every relationship lasts forever. In fact, you may want to leave (read this post on leaving when you’re happy for more on this). Relationships end and that’s a good thing. Falling in love is great, and it doesn’t just have to happen once.
But end your relationships from a place of contentment. Be in them from a place of love.
Stop expecting all the things from everyone.
Most people can’t take care of themselves, let alone someone else.
Solution 2: Look For The Connection
The second solution is something that has truly made a huge difference in my life.
Instead of looking for the separation, look for the connection. You can make a connection with someone through eye contact, body language, holding hands, spending quality time with them, really anything.
Ask, “where can I find the connection with this person?”
This works with your neighbor, spouse, sister, friend, coworkers, the clerk at the bank… with everyone.
Whenever I’m working at a coffee shop and a family comes in with kids, I used to immediately think, “OH NO. They’re going to be loud, and I’m not going to be able to work.” (Side note: I love kids.)
Now, I notice the fear. I redirect my brain. I ask, “where can I find the connection?”
This is truly a magical tool.
Try it today. With everyone. I promise it will benefit you long term.
Look for the connection instead of the separation.
A Final Note!
If you are just starting on this journey, I know it can be tempting to want everyone in your life to do it with you.
But what if you just let them be them?
You be you. They get to be them.
And you can love them anyway.
This is super fun.