Learn it before you blow it
It is that time of the year, folks—Cupid’s day of shooting arrows, to create love-struck couples. It’s Valentine’s Day, a magical day where couples go through the anxiety of orchestrating the perfect celebration of their commitment to each other, while the singles go through a period of quiet, personal introspection of how to meet “the one.”
Whether any of the above is true for you, we can all agree that relationships—be it personal or professional—takes ongoing effort and commitment.
None of us are excluded from feeling the regular frustrations of being misunderstood or unsupported. It is often a challenge for me as well, to be both a pillar of support for others while supporting my own ambitions.
Do we give selfishly because the more we give the more we get? Or do we take on being ardent in spreading our energy only to those who matter? What does it take to really master relationships in a way that uplifts us? How do we enable actions that make our relationships an amazing resource of joy and inspiration?
In my effort to constantly add value to others as well as to strengthen my own relationships, here is a process that has helped many of my clients strike that balance of giving and receiving fulfilment in their relationships.
Laying the foundation
Our experiences, whether positive or negative, is bound by our subconscious mind by as much as 85%. The subconscious is made up of beliefs ingrained in us during our formative years; significant ages being six, twelve and 21, where certain incidences trigger what I call your “perception blueprint.”
Our “perception blueprint” acts in a similar way to an equaliser thermometer. When it gets too hot, it kicks in to equalise the temperature back to a desired, cooler degree, and vice versa.
Unfortunately, for most, we set the temperature high on expectation but low on being responsible.
What do I mean by that? To clarify further on this very basic but crucial element in successful relationships are three major elements of what I call the AAA Relationship Matrix.
1. Decide that this relationship is 100% YOU
“I feel that I am the only one making an effort in this marriage!”
“My husband takes me for granted!”
“I am tired of being the only one who does anything about it!”
Do any of the above sound familiar to you? Many of us carry this concept that a relationship should be 50/50, which will inevitably result in disappointment for both parties.
If you want real, authentic connection with one another—a connection where you experience joy and fulfilment—then you need to accept and embrace the fact that you are solely responsible for how things turn out. Not 50%, 60% or 80%, but 100%.
If there is disappointment or lack of trust, you are responsible. If you are constantly arguing, you are part of the reason that it is happening. When you are willing to own up and say “I am responsible”, you are at a very powerful position.
You have positioned yourself fully capable to turn it around. Therefore when things are going great, you can claim that you are responsible for it too!
2. Be a giver
Relationships are challenging. Any relationship whether in your professional or personal life, starts off as a fresh, untouched patch of land, not a field ready to harvest.
It needs close tending of water, fertiliser and regular weeding. The reason relationships are our greatest teachers is because they teach us about who we really are. They act as magnified mirrors that reflect back to us about areas where there are “overgrown weeds” or areas in need of “preventive pesticide.”
The one antidote to truly enrich our relationships is to create a positive approach to giving. Give your time. Give your knowledge. Give your positive support. Give kind and uplifting words. Give a smile. Give the best of yourself and in time you will see your relationships flourish.
3. Keep forgiving along the way
When two people meet and agree to come together, they are agreeing to a dynamic dance where both parties participate with their own unique “perception blueprint.”
This relationship will be a mix of you and your partner’s past, opinions, skills, strengths and weaknesses.
It will be tricky and messy. Your patience will be tested at times. There will be surprise and delight in store for you. When the hard times come, just trust that you will be able to handle them. Trust that you deserve the best experience within this relationship.
Choose to forgive their actions or misinterpretations. Neither of you are perfect but what connects both of you is the objective. Most importantly, forgive yourself for making inaccurate decisions. Forgive yourself for having certain expectations. Forgive yourself enough to let go.
All successes in life are a product of our relationships—this is something that I can personally vouch for.
Our lives are infinitely and intimately intertwined, whether we choose to believe it or not. Therefore, on this special day, take the opportunity to reflect upon and acknowledge the people in your life as well as those who are no longer around.
Appreciate the lessons they have taught you and the ones they are still teaching you now. They have all played a part in uplifting you to the remarkable person that you are today.
May your relationships continue to enrich you towards the life and career that you love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Aida Adnan is an author, corporate speaker/trainer, executive leadership coach, business-turnaround strategist and CEO of AAA Leadership Consulting. Her authentic yet strategic approach to transformation has made her a core asset to multinational and government-linked companies looking to create a progressive and purpose-driven culture. To engage her for your organisation or to connect with her, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Career Advice articles, click here.