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A Super-Short Guide to Better Relationships

Much of the pain we have in our relationships is based on expectations.

“I expect him to help me with the house.”

“I expect her to clean her room.”

“I expect him to call once in awhile.”

“I expect her to accept me the way I am.”

Sometimes, we follow those phrases with, “especially because I’ve TOLD him/her over and over again how important that is to me…”

The only story we’re telling when we say, “I told him/her over and over again and she’s not getting it” is that we aren’t getting it.

Here’s a very similar story: “I keep doing the same thing expecting HIM to change!”

“I keep doing the same thing and it’s NOT WORKING!”

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein

The very resistance you’re feeling is causing not only your own bad feelings, it’s creating resistance in the other person.

“The heart rhythm of one person shows up in the brain wave pattern of another.” -Dr. Deborah Rozman, Ph.D

The mere fact that you’re interacting with someone in a frustrated, resistant, angry, or annoyed way is showing up in their brainwaves- and causing them to respond to you in the same way.

The more anger, annoyance, frustration, fear, and struggle you put out there, the worse the situation is going to get. Sure, the other person might eventually do the thing you want them to do, just to get you off their back, but the energy will be the same- you’ll still be bitter they took so long, and they won’t appreciate it that you were so ugly in your interactions with them.

So how do we turn those situations around?
1. Release the need to control.
As Byron Katie says, there’s My business, Your business, and God’s business. Stay in your business (and be really honest about where your business stops.) If you’re worrying about something that’s not your business, take a deep breath and release it to the universe. Know that it can only get better without your frustrated energy tied to it.
2. Change the way you feel about the situation.
When you change the way you feel, you change what you’re putting out there in a very physical way. They’ve proven this through science- but I know that seeing the results in your loved ones will be proof enough.Remember, at any given moment you can decide how you want to feel about anything- so decide that instead of feeling frustrated, angry, out-of-control, or annoyed, imagine how you would feel if the relationship were perfect. By feeling that now, you begin to create that perfect relationship. (It’ll never be what you think it should be by fighting it with negative feelings, no matter how long you feel them.)
3. Decide how you’re going to treat that person, no matter what.
AKA unconditional love, so many of us treat those close to us very conditionally. “I won’t get mad at you if you clean your room.” “I’ll be a kinder wife if you help me around the house.” Instead, decide that you’re going to be a loving person no matter what. Not only will your life and stress level improve drastically, but you’ll be surprised at the effect this has on their behavior, as well.

“Love draws forth love.” -Saint Teresa of Àvila

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13 comments… add one
  • That’s all right on, Belle. I can attest to it, having been married to an alcoholic that I expected to do lots of stuff… Until I found Al-Anon and stopped being insane. My energy change shifted everything. I eventually decided to leave, and now just have to remember to apply those same principles in my new marriage! Thanks.

    • Belle

      Thank you for sharing this, Lisa! I’ve heard good things about Al-anon, with the letting go of the need to control the alcoholic, which is huge for some people! I’m so grateful you were able to “stop being insane” (I love that!) Our thoughts can be so insane sometimes, and we get caught in the cycle of believing them!
      To mental freedom! =)

  • My friend Carl says, “expectations are pre-meditated resentments”
    That is such a true statement and your article is true to the heart. Will print and share (I am happily ensconced in the hardcopy community!) with others who will benefit.

    • Belle

      So, so true! Any expectation is deciding what the future should hold before we even get there. Thank you so much for sharing this with others- I have such a passion for helping others release their pain and live full, beautiful, happy lives NOW.

  • Rose Rilling

    I love your quotes. They are always perfect. When I am making my sales calls and not feeling light, bright, I can often see the reaction in the conversation. It’s not good and not what I hope for. As far as personal relationships, it is a little more difficult to change how we feel; sometimes, I believe, I want to stick with the negative. Safe I guess. Love does attract love, I truly believe it.
    Love you Lots

    • Belle

      It’s so interesting how our closest relationships can cause us the most pain. And, I think, so unnecessary. When we treat those closest to us with the most love, we begin to see the exponential power of love so much faster- it’s truly incredible. I’ll have to write about that more, since we have such a block with it it seems.
      Thank you Rose!
      Love you,

  • Thank you, Belle. Just what I needed to read today, applies to several important relationships. At a gathering of men and one woman tonight, we were talking about also the compulsion to try to manage others’ feelings, rather than let the other person feel her/his own feelings. Just saying the truth and letting it sit. Awfully hard and then being afraid of how the other will feel/react even before we said the thing we must. There is a better way which you show admirably. :)

    • Belle

      I love that whole conversation- I forget sometimes that I used to live in a world (in my head) where I cared about what other people thought, and wanted to control their thoughts and feelings! It’s so pointless and ridiculous, now when it pops up it’s like, “seriously? what am I thinking?” I love that whole topic- Byron Katie simplifies it best when she says, “there’s my business, your business and God’s business” and what everyone else thinks is 100% their business.
      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!

  • beth

    Last night I wrote about this very thing in my “morning pages” (not much of a morning person, have more time and reflection at night!). It’s really all about ego, most troubles come from an ego-centered place. The tighter we hold on to a thing the worse it becomes. The only person you can control is yourself and there isn’t anyone in the world like you. As much as we think we would like all of us to think alike and act alike that would make for a VERY boring world!!! It has taken me a lifetime to figure this out and believe me it is a daily practice!

    • Belle

      It really is all about the ego! You nailed it! What’s so ironic is that when we let go of the ego and act in love, we have more power, attract more good things, live better lives… and when we try to control, the ego is trying to convince us that by being controlling we’ll have these things! The ego is a sly little guy;)
      Thank you for your thoughts, Beth, so true!

  • More good stuff! THANK YOU:)

    • Belle

      Thank you, gorgeous friend!!

  • Margaret

    there is a book titled:
    “What You Think Of Me, Is Nond Of My Business.”

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