Here are two questions you may have contemplated about while attempting to develop an intimate relationship:
* What are the “best” personal qualities which enable you to develop a successful intimate relationship?
* What characterizes people who are successful in developing such a relationship?
Different personal coaches and therapists might give you different answers. There are those who believe that communication skills are the key for a satisfying bond; others believe that mutual give & take is the answer; others say that empathy is the most important skill; yet others believe that most important is the ability to compromise. All these – and many other beliefs – might be true.
Yet the question is: how does one learn to communicate? How does one learn to compromise? To be emphatic? How does one learn to engage in a mutual give & take?
It is not only a matter of learning “techniques”; it is rather a matter of learning to know yourself: to understand what makes you the person you are; what makes you react and behave in relationships the way you do; what makes you believe or not believe in the value of communication, give & take, empathy and compromise.
And more than that; it is a matter of:
* Understanding what enables you to communicate clearly or not (do you know how to express emotions? Do you know how to accept your others’ view point?);
* Understanding your own belief-system about give & take in relationship (do you think men and women have “equal rights” in a relationship? Do you think that men & women should be engaged in give & take similarly or differently?);
* Understanding your position regarding compromise (do you always need to compromise? Do women need to compromise more than men? Are there issues over which you should never compromise?).
In order to understand your stand on these – and other – issues, you need to be able to look inwards; to observe yourself; to look at and reflect upon your patterns of thought, reactions and behaviors which repeat themselves throughout all your relationships.
Such reflection is a great way to understand and realize how you might have harmed your relationships until now; what mistakes you might have done in your relationships and what you may want to change.
Such reflection is actually a process of awareness: You become aware of the ways in which you come across to others; of the ways in which you handle yourself in relationships; of the ways in which you might sabotage your attempts.
Regardless of how many relationship tips you have come across; how may “techniques” you might have learned, the crucial and most important key to being able to develop and maintain a successful intimacy is becoming Self-Aware. That means, becoming aware of:
* Messages you might have internalized at a young age which control your reactions and behaviors and drive you to sabotage your relationships without you even knowing (such as: “I need to always be in control”; “I always need to be on my guard”; “Never trust anybody!”; “Work or education come before intimacy” and other such messages).
* Fears which might control you without you being aware of them (such as: fear of being alone which drives you to always jump with whoever asks you out; fear of commitment which drives you to leave one relationship after another, and so on).
* Needs you might exert power over you which drive you to behave in unhealthy and unproductive ways – causing others to abandon you time and again (such as: an uncontrolled need for love which makes you too submissive and therefore your partners lose respect for you; neediness which make you behave in ways which suffocate your partners, and so on).
* Expectations you are unaware of (such as: expecting your partner to be there 100% for you at all times; expecting the other to stop seeing old friends – which is part of jealousy; expecting the other to behave according to your rules and demands, all of which are unrealistic and harm the relationship.
* Many other factors you are unaware of which make you react and behave in self-sabotaging ways with your partners – or cause you to stay single.
Self-Awareness, therefore, is a personal quality that not many master. Yet it is a key quality which will enable you to become aware of what has driven you to sabotage your attempts at relationships until now, de-activate the power this has exerted over you, make the necessary changes and become empowered to develop the relationship you desire.
Doron Gil, Ph.D., is a Self-Awareness and Relationships Expert, with 30 year experience as a university teacher, workshop leader, counsellor and consultant. Dr. Gil has taught classes to thousands of students, has written numerous articles on the subject ( http://bit.ly/om4y1k ) and is the author of: “The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship”. http://amzn.to/eAmMmH
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