The Most Common Relationship Mistake

Hey Friends, I’m just going to give it to you straight, but with a chaser.   I am going to share with you what I believe is the most common mistake we make in relationships.  Even better, I’m going to give you some suggestions to help you have better relationship experiences.

Here is the big mistake: Making someone else responsible for your well-being.

Well, aren’t they, you might be asking?  After all, I am with them.  Isn’t that what they are there for – to make my life pleasant?  Dah, it follows just as sure as night follows day.  That’s what I’m talking about – a common mistake!  We expect to be the center of the universe to our loved ones!

And perhaps we are, in a sense. But, that doesn’t mean we have to extract blood on a daily basis!


Selflessness Is Way Overrated

There’s just a teeny little problem with this belief. Most people are by nature self-serving – and by the way, that is not a bad thing.  We all have our own interests at heart and that is healthy, contrary to what we may have been taught.  It is delusional to think that you are more important to someone than they are to themselves!

The selfless thing doesn’t fly here.  Selflessness is way overrated.  If we don’t take care of our own wants and needs, we are not having a fun life.  And there is nothing wrong with wanting to have a good life.  We’re not talking narcissism here, folks.  That’s the extreme.

In fact, it is our unwillingness to take care of ourselves that results in expecting others to be responsible for us.  It indicates a lack of healthy self-esteem.

As children, we need to be taken care of.  As adults, the story is a little different.  I just cringe when I hear an adult say they were “abandoned”.  Children are abandoned – adults are left. Sometimes, though, if the wounds are deep enough, we can be like children walking around in an adult body.

A Precarious Position

If we think it is someone else’s job to make us happy, what happens when they don’t come through?   Big bummer.  We’re not too pleased with them for slacking in their responsibilities – the number one being to take care of us!

Imagine how exhausting it is when we have several people we make responsible for our having a good hair day – and life.  When several of these darned critters don’t come through we are likely to come unglued!   How could they be so thoughtless, we ask ourselves with a smug air of superiority?

The thing is, believing this makes us vulnerable to the whims of others.  Anytime someone doesn’t come through for us, as we believe they should, we have a bad day. Now, that’s not very fun, is it?  And believe me, there are going to be plenty of times this happens.  Why?  Because people are busy taking care of themselves.  Imagine that!

If It IS Broke, Do Fix It

The problem is we are starting with a broken assumption, (that our loved ones are responsible for our well-being) and because of that, it is like living in a house without a solid foundation.

We may be subject to it all coming tumbling down at any moment.  Even if it does not, and we hold to these expectations of one another, there are bound to be resentments and frustrations.  At least part of the reason for the resentment is that most of us don’t feel good when someone dumps this type of responsibility upon us.

In fact, we may even rebel, openly or passively.  NOTE: Read passively as passive-aggressive!

Entitlement Kills Desire

Entitlement: the belief that we have an inherent right to expect what we do, tends to kill the genuine desire we may have to want to do nice things for those we love.

As a matter of fact, it kills desire itself!  It places a heavy burden on those who love us, especially if we ignore that they have their own desires, wants, and needs.

And there is another high price to pay:  We disempower ourselves by expecting others to be responsible for us.  If you don’t believe me, pay attention to how you feel the next time someone doesn’t come through for you.   You’re not exactly feeling the warm fuzzies, now are you?

Embracing Paradox Is A Sign Of Mental Health

Now, I am going to say something that may appear to be the opposite of what I have been saying so far.  But, hang with me friends and we will wind our way through this – and hopefully be a bit happier because of it!

It does matter how we are treated and how we treat others in relationships. I’m not implying that we have a free-for-all and see how inconsiderate we can be.  The intent here isn’t to suggest an attitude of: I’m not responsible for your well-being so take care of it yourself!  No, no, no, that’s not the point at all.

It’s give and take here, the ability to hold true to our own desires, as well as an intention toward holding a space for the well-being of the other in our hearts.  Not because we have to, but because we choose to.

We are talking balance here people! Life is filled with paradoxes so wrap your mind around it.  Embracing paradox is a sign of mental health.

Part of leading a balanced life involves assessing your relationships and weighing whether the benefits outweigh the shortcomings. For example, if you find that your significant other rarely attends to anything that matters to you, (or you them) well, then you have some serious soul-searching to do.

3 Ways To Kiss The Boo Boo & Make It Better

The following are a few suggestions for how you can begin to improve your relationships relative to this problem:

  1. Recognize It & Take An Action: Examine your relationships and honestly acknowledge to yourself whether you are holding this expectation.  If so, realize you’re not alone.  Entertain what you might do to take more responsibility for your own well-being.
    • For example, if your partner wants to go do something with friends, find an activity that you can enjoy and do it!  If you do this without resentment, it may create a tremendous breakthrough in your relationship – that equals more genuine love!
    • When you feel like you can’t hang with this, a little self-soothing is in order.   In other words, learn to do some nice things for yourself – and talk yourself off the ledge.  Encourage yourself with your words by telling yourself you can do this.
  2. Instead of Criticizing, Appreciate: Rather than criticize – which often comes from a place of feeling entitled – tell your significant other what you do appreciate.  When they do something nice, let them know how good it feels to you.  This indicates that rather than feeling entitled, you get it that the person is choosing to do something nice for you.  You will be surprised at how much this can improve your relationship.
  3. Ask for 100% of What You Want & Be Willing to Hear No! Be direct and take responsibility for what you want. Manipulating, hinting, or expecting the person to figure it out and then getting upset when they don’t, is not cool.   Tell your partner what you would like.
    • Being willing to hear no implies that there are times when your partner or lover may have their own want or need that supersedes yours.  Consider that their desires, wants, and needs are as important as your own.  Stretch a little and make room for them!

Please do let me know how these steps work out for you.  Feel free to add to this list and share with us what has worked for you.

Be well, and may you experience the best relationships ever!

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