Anyone can build a successful relationship. Unfortunately though, not not everyone will enjoy a successful relationship. And the reason is simple… Success has a cost, and it is only those who are willing to pay the cost, who get to enjoy a successful relationship.
Most of us are already “doing” one or more things to build our relationships and make them more successful. But I am not here to give you another list of more things to “do”. No! That is not my purpose with this write up.
There are things we do already that hinder the success of the relationships we are trying to build. These are some mindsets we have or things we do, that do not empower us towards a successful relationship. I know you may not be guilty of everything on this list, but my job here is to offer some pointers. So examine yourself and see which of these you may be guilty of.
Give up these things and be at least six steps closer to enjoying a more successful relationship.
1. Give up Other Peoples’ Definition of a Successful Relationship
Success is like travelling to a destination. And we cannot all be heading to the same destination, can we? So this means that what works for one couple, may not work in your relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all definition for success in relationships. You cannot build a successful relationship if you have the wrong idea of what it should look like, to you.
For instance Nat and Clara may be happy with Clara taking care of the bills, while Nat takes charge of the kitchen. It works well for them and they are both happy. A reversal of roles in Nat and Clara’s case may also work best for the next couple.
Your relationship may be better if for instance, you both split the bills or run the kitchen together. But to figure out what works best for you two, you have to forget about what works best for the other couple. You have to give that up and take on a new definition for your relationship.
Taking on other peoples’ definition of a successful relationship, is like heading to another person’s detestation rather than our own. We will get to that destination quite alright, but we will not be at our destination. We may “hit” success according to one couple, but our relationship will still not be successful. We will always be at the wrong destination!
That is why we must give up peoples’ definitions of a successful relationship, if we want success in our relationship. It is only then that the picture of where we are heading becomes clearer. If not, our relationship may be successful according to others while we are unhappy. After all, whose relationship is it anyway!?
2. Give up the Unhealthy Lifestyle
We live in a physical world, and we interact with this world and each other with our physical bodies. Thus you will agree with me that a healthy body allows us enjoy our lives and our relationships even more. But what if the reverse was the case?
Some relationships wither because one partner stopped taking care of their bodies. Some marriages become sexless because one person completely let go of themselves. As a result, their partners starts to find them unattractive over time. For some, a killjoy is a partner becoming unattractive due to neglected health. Some put on or lose a lot of weight while others develop an illness or a disease. But all these are preventable!
Give up unhealthy foods, and unhealthy food portions. Eating the wrong food portions as most of us do, could either lead to weight gain or weight loss. And for partners who find a certain body type attractive, a gain or loss in weight could be a turn off over time. Eating unhealthy foods also usually leads to weight gain, illnesses or diseases.
Give up the sedentary lifestyle. The human body thrives in activity, not lazying around. Get up, off your behind, and get active. The oldest living people do not pump iron, workout or sleep at the gymnasium. But they are always active. They walk more, do more manual tasks and engage more in natural movements. So while it is good to have machines that make chores easier for us, we still need to get active. Go ask the oldest living people, they will tell you.
Give up not sleeping enough. And no, this is not a story of how early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. You may be physically active and eat right, and still be at great health risk if you neglect sleep. There is a popular story on the internet of an Indian CEO who died of cardiac arrest eight years ago. Although he had an athletic lifestyle, he died due to inadequate sleep! He was active and I assume he ate right. But he slept no more than an average of five hours a day, and that cost him his life!
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We may try, but we cannot cheat nature. We cannot continue with unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles, while we neglect sleep. There is only so much we can enjoy in a sick or diseased body, or even worse, in death! So give up the unhealthy lifestyle. It gives your partner some peace of mind and you both can enjoy a more successful relationship.
3. Give up the Instant Gratification Mentality
Building a successful relationship is a long term investment. It is not something you can do today and get to enjoy its rewards right away. But over time, it pays good dividends. Think of it like a fixed deposit account that takes time to accumulate into wealth.
Even couples that are a “match made in heaven” have to put in effort to build success into their relationships. I always tell people that successful relationships do not happen overnight. You do not wish a successful relationship into existence. One does not magically wake up into a relationship that is so successful. Good things take time and dedication to build, including successful relationships.
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The couple that you see doing so well today, did not start their journey yesterday or last week. It has taken little steps, deliberate effort and consistence. So to enjoy a successful relationship, we need to give up the instant gratification mentality.
Different destinations need different times to get to. That means you must not arrive your destination in the same time it took the other couple. We rarely get to enjoy things done in a hurry. So give up the “now now” mindset. Understand that successful relationships need time and effort to build. In the end, it would be worth it when we get to enjoy its rewards.
4. Give up Your Excuses
The present may forgive you, but the future accepts no excuses! If you want to build a successful relationship, you have to give up your excuses.
When we give in to our fears, we end up making excuses not to get into a relationship. Even when in an ongoing relationship, we continue with the same excuses, or make up new ones along the way. I used to be that way, until a dear friend told me “Hey, Kheme, you are a great guy! Do no sell yourself short!”.
One day I asked a friend about her love life, and the answer she gave me sounded familiar. She took her time to blow through a list of excuses that I used to give myself for not being “ready” for a relationship. Believe me, they all sounded like valid points. But the reality is that we sometimes sabotage our relationships or our chances at a good relationship, without knowing it. This act of self-sabotage in relationships, is often our fears speaking up.
I know I do not need to, but let me point some common excuses out. Oh, I am not slim enough, or not yet rich. Or I am not pretty enough, not eloquent enough, not smart enough, not muscular enough, and so on.
But the truth is that whatever you are right now is “enough” for that special person. They like us as slim or as chubby as we are. So we need to get out of our own heads about how we do not yet have the “perfect” this or that, for our partner.
Whether weight, wealth, or whatever… Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. You and your imperfections are just what your significant other likes you for.
So yea, excuses may be comforting, like a warm blanket on a cold morning. But no matter how long you hug your blanket, it will never get you to work. Your excuses work in the same manner. They may be comforting, but will never get you to that successful relationship you desire. So if you want to enjoy a successful relationship, you have to be honest with yourself and give up your excuses.
5. Give up the Fixed Mindset
The world is always changing and people are always growing or evolving. We as human beings, need to adapt, to people and to situations. And building a successful relationship means we need to give up the fixed or rigid mindset.
Happiness in relationships lie in the hands of those who learn more, adapt more and tolerate more. People do not realize this, but a fixed mindset is the kind of rigidity that can turn our partners off. Being stuck in one’s own ways can drive your partner nuts and be the runt in a relationship.
The “This is who I am; I cannot change” or “This is how I have always done things” mindset often repels love in relationships. Mentally rigid people try to bend others into their fixed mindsets. But they do not realize that this puts stress on their relationships. There is not only one way of doing things. So every once in a while, try asking yourself… Could this be better?
When we give up the fixed mindset, the destination which is success, becomes easier to reach. Besides, variety is the spice that flavors relationships.
6. Give up Toxic Friends
They say that we are the average of the five people we spend the most of our time with. So, those who we often hangout with, can and will on the long run, determine how well we do in life. Relationships are not excluded from this either, especially with toxic people as friends.
Whether we like it or not, toxic people in our lives affect our progress in life and in relationships. These are friends who sap our happiness and drain our energy. They could be a close or best friend, a colleague, a neighbor or even a family member. They fill our minds with ideas and emotions that do not empower us towards our relationship goals.
They are those people who often do not have anything positive to say. The usually see the negative side of things. They are often the voice of pessimism, finding reasons why things will not work or why something is a bad idea. They may even be cheerful, but do not empower you towards success in your relationships.
It is almost as if they neither want you to enjoy a happy relationship, nor do they think you are capable of having one. The worst part is that they do not do these things on purpose. They are just that way and may not even be aware of it! Whatever the case, beware of such friends.
Moving towards a more successful relationship means moving away from these toxic people. The more time we spend with them, the more likely we are to become like them and have their negativity rub off on us. Giving up toxic people makes the journey towards our relationship goals much easier.
So there you have it!
The conclusion of the matter is to give up those things that do not empower you towards the goal you are trying to attain… a successful relationship. You have to give up those things, whether big or small, that do not support your relationship goals. That is the summary of this whole write up and it is something I learned over the years.
This will not magically improve your relationship overnight. But giving them all up will take you at least six steps closer to a more successful relationship. If you are not guilty of the entire list, then your relationship is already more success than you think.
Have you given up other people’s definition of a successful relationship? Good! Now form your own definition of what success means in your relationship. Next, think about the things that align with your definition of success in a relationship. If there is anything that does not take you closer to that success every day, week or month… make a list of those things and start giving them up.