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5 Ways To Redefine Any Relationship

By Dr. Tracy Thomas
Updated September 19, 2015

Relationships are never static—they are a dynamic dance based on the lives of each individual.

What I have found in my practice is that everybody is STARVING for connection. From family ties to love affairs, people are unhappy in all types of relationships because we operate and define them by someone’s ability to meet our internal expectations instead of approaching them based on individual understanding, humanity, and compassion.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression that you can’t be happy in a relationship if you aren’t happy with yourself and I am here to tell you that is 100% true.

This comes down to two questions:

Are you approaching your relationship in a way that you are giving from an abundance of self-contained love?
Are you reacting in your relationship in a way that you are trying to extract love from someone else in order to fill something inside of you?

The reality is, we aren’t very good as a society of meeting our own needs and because of that people tend to fall into the later category of relationships—trying to pull from others instead of serve from your own abundance. Here are five ways to redefine your relationships by looking at both yourself and your partner with the lens of genuine humanity.

1. Meet Your Own Needs.

The truth is most of us aren’t putting our relationship with our SELF first and foremost. Before we can be truly satisfied with a partner, we have to be satisfied independently by meeting our own needs. Otherwise we project our own feeling of lack onto the relationship.

The key is, in order to meet your own needs, you have to be connected to what you want and who you are—two questions many of my clients are afraid to ask. The ultimate goal here is to be fulfilled enough that we give love to others based on an overflow of what we have within us instead of trying to extract love from others in order to fill the areas where there is a deficit.

Healthy relationships come from giving abundance not pulling to fill spaces of lack.

2. Become An Expert On Yourself.

If you aren’t an expert on yourself, don’t expect other people to be an expert on you. If you can’t articulate what you want and don’t want in a relationship, other people will not be able to know what you are expecting. We give love in the way that we like to receive it and we assume that other people want what we want—or even worse should know what we want.

Each person thinks in very distinct ways and has been shaped by a combination of their experiences. It is impossible for your partner to show up exactly the way you want without clear communication, direction, and feedback.

3. Know Your Expectations And Show Up For Yourself.

Here is a big question of self exploration—what do you expect from others in your relationships? An unhappy relationship usually has a big disconnect between expectations and reality. One or more of the parties have expectations that aren’t being met.

The most important thing when it comes to expectations in relationships is understanding whether or not you are actually showing up for yourself in the same way you are expecting others to show up for you. Are you asking someone to do something that you are not willing to do for yourself?

Do you give yourself unconditional love and compassion when you make mistakes? Do you ask yourself how you are feeling every day and check in? Are you curious about what is going on in your own life?

There are two reasons why this is very important. First, it is really important to understand how much we actually expect from other people and whether or not it is realistic for them to deliver on those expectations. Secondly, if you understand your expectations and where they come from, you can better cultivate and care for yourself which eliminates the need for someone else to do it for you.

4. Lead By Example Without Expecting A Payout.

Are you showing up for others in the same way you are expecting them to show up for you? If you want a more loving, compassionate, and understanding relationship—become more loving, compassionate, and understanding.

When we focus on what we want in a relationship without changing our behavior we only increase our unhappiness without seeking to create a solution. If you want to cultivate something in your relationship be the one to lead. If you want to promote intimate sharing, then open up and share your truths, don’t sit back and wait for others to do the work.

5. Focus On The Facts And Seek To Understand.

Often in relationships we get upset over how the other person shows up and we put subjective meaning behind words and actions that they don’t actually say. We take a fact like “they didn’t take out the trash” and we spin stories in our minds like “They didn’t take out the trash. Since I asked them to do it and they didn’t, they don’t care about my feelings or appreciate the work I do around the house”. The reality is, there could be 100 reasons why “they” didn’t take out the trash and it honestly probably has nothing to do with how “they” actually feel about you.

We judge people in relationships based on how we would like them to act or react (expectations) versus how they actually act and react. The reality is, you can’t control someone else’s behavior, Pin It actions, or thoughts but you can control your own.

So I challenge you to only focus on the fact that you know “they didn’t take out the trash” and then seek to understand how you can better communicate your expectations so they are received and understood.

Everyone is uniquely human and operating under different mindsets. By bringing a little bit more self-awareness, compassion, understanding, and most importantly ownership into our daily relationships we have the opportunity to redefine the way we experience others in our lives.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Tracy Thomas
Dr. Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. works with top executives, leaders, celebrities, couples, groups and families equipping them with the internal resources needed to lead their lives intuitively, strategically and with purpose. She has over 20 years experience in the subject of people development. Dr Tracy brings an original mix of skills and thoughts, as well as humor, fun and a real zest for life into her work.

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