None of us are perfect as a lover or in any other way. However, the closer we can get to being so, the happier your partner will be with you and – if they’re the right person – the more they will want to reciprocate.
Lacking these qualities will create a vicious circle where each brings less to the relationship and you both suffer. Having more of these creates a virtuous circle where the relationship grows and blossoms.
A relationship is the dynamic between two individuals. The quality of a relationship is the sum of what each party brings to the relationship.
The relationship can only change by;
A bringing something to the relationship
B bringing something to the relationship
Their interactions growing what is between them
Here are the 8 qualities…
There’s two key reasons why you being authentic is essential for your relationship happiness.
First of all, who is your partner in a relationship with if you’re not being yourself?
What people crave and love is a real person, flaws and all, who they can relate to and grow with.
How rewarding is it to be in a relationship with a hologram acting a role?
And how is it going to feel that you’re loved for what you pretend to be?
Secondly, the only way you can be happy is by being yourself. When you pretend to be something else, you’ll never be truly happy. And if you’re not happy, you won’t have the emotional capacity to love fully.
My belief is that the best relationship strategy is to be the best lover and choose your lover wisely. Relationship skills can turn negative interactions into positive ones, but ultimately what determines the success of your relationship – and whether you can use the relationship skills – is your emotional capacity.
How much energy, enthusiasm and tolerance you have is determined by how happy you are. So the happier you get, the more you have to bring to your relationship. The more you bring, the more positive your interactions are and so the more positive the relationship becomes.
When you aren’t being authentic you feel like a fake and worry about being found out. Other people pick up that something isn’t right and so they don’t trust you fully.
When you are authentic you don’t have to worry about anyone ‘finding you out’. You are strong because you’re operating from your personal strengths.
None of these are earth shattering insights. They’re all just basic common sense. Likewise what makes a happy relationship or a happy life is keeping to the basics.
Just as we’re not perfect neither is our partner. Or their children, friends or family. But you have to be kind even when they don’t deserve it. Because it is kindness and love that enable people to overcome their weaknesses and limits.
Of course, some people won’t step up. You have to accept that as you become a better quality partner, there’s lots of people that won’t be at your relationship level. However, the people that are will make the relationship much more rewarding.
People sometimes look at kindness as showing weakness. The typical image we have of strong leaders is a macho alpha-male. The leader of the pack is chosen for his strength. Kindness is not a quality that we would associate with such a stereotype, but actually pack leaders are not always the strongest or the best fighters, but the person who can knit the pack together.
Darwinism is known as survival of the fittest, but actually as a pack animal, it is the person with the most allies and coalitions that is the fittest.
We survived when Neanderthals died out, even though they were physically stronger and hardier. We survived because we were better at co-operating. The essence of co-operation is trust in the kindness and caring in the other person.
Kindness is a strength, but it has to be used wisely. Kindness is giving what you can spare to help someone in need.
The motivation behind the act is what determines its strength or weakness.
It isn’t giving at the expense of your own wellbeing. Nor is it giving because you’re afraid of displeasing the person. Both of these are signs of weakness.
Kindness is giving to make someone a better person. Not to give them what they want. What we want is often a him from weakness. A kindness can be harsh and unwanted as much as it can be soft and craved.
Kindness is choosing to build someone up when you could equally destroy them or leave them to struggle. The strength is in the willingness to trust and give, even risking that in building them up they may become a rival.
Not being kind comes from immaturity, weakness and insecurity. It’s either because we’re unaware of the other person’s need, because we’re afraid it will hurt or cost us more than we can afford or because we believe we need the other person to be weaker than us.
When you aren’t kind in a relationship, you wound others. With each wound you push people away and slowly destroy any love they have for you.
When you are kind in a relationship, you strengthen others and you bond them to you.
Some people will see kindness as a weakness and try and take advantage of you. However, if you are being authentic you won’t allow this to happen because you will only give what you can afford to give. However, those people are the ones to avoid being in a relationship with.
The person that is your equal will reciprocate your kindness when you need it and so the relationship becomes a sanctuary.
Entering into a relationship involves taking a risk. It involves trusting another person with your feelings.
Not everyone will treat them as carefully as you will.
Some people will let you down. Some people will laugh and ridicule you. Yet, if you trust someone and they let you down, what have you really lost?
You’ve got some hurt feelings, but you can fix them.
If you put up defences that never let anyone in, what have you gained?
You’re still as lonely. You’ve just thrown away your chances of connecting with someone worthy of you and loving them.
So what if you get taken for a fool?
You didn’t really lose anything. You showed trust and kindness to someone and they weren’t worthy of your trust. That doesn’t make you weak or stupid. It makes them weak and stupid because people and their trust matters much more than a one-off gain.
What really matters isn’t what other people do, but from the knowledge that you did the right thing. Your security should come from the knowledge that you will get all you need, not from weakness or from cheating others, but from being the best person you can be.
When you aren’t secure in your relationship or yourself you will be plagued by doubt and fears. You will be scared to trust your partner and to fully let go into the relationship. Many relationships crumble because one or more partners lacked security and tried to limit or control the other one.
When you are secure the relationship climate is more trusting and both partners are free to be themselves and take more risks in their everyday lives.
Have you ever had a nightmare Boss?
If you have or a job you’ve hated, I’ll bet to a large degree the reason you hated it as because it made you feel disrespected.
In a relationship that has been destructive, it is because of a lack of respect.
All of us crave respect because it shows that people like and value us. It’s a sign that people care. Listen to anyone moaning about their Boss, Colleagues, friends or partner and you’ll hear that at its essence their complaint is a lack of respect.
The most violent murders from gangland violence to a school shooter to a fight in the local are motivated by respect.
The school shooter has had enough of the taunts and rejection and makes his final stand one of revenge to make them respect him.
The fight in the pub comes because someone spilt someone’s pint or looked at them, or their girlfriend, in a way that they felt was disrespectful.
Gangs and organised crime are entirely based on respect because when you can’t call on the police the only weapon you have is fear. So the gangster has to react to any disrespect or he loses his place in the pecking order.
Even within the home, fights and murders, such as honour based killings are all about feeling disrespected.
Most of us aren’t going to shoot someone because they disrespect us, but we still hate it. And when our partner disrespects us it hurts us.
“A man’s highest need is to feel respect, whereas a woman’s highest need is to feel loved.”
I’ve not seen any strong research evidence to prove this idea, but the idea does intuitively make sense to me. Though we may be living in a Metrosexual modern relationship, we still have layers and layers of cultural influences that are based on the old patriarchy.
So a man is told he has to be manly, strong and capable. The phrase ‘man up’ is one of the most commonly used. So to a man, a need to be valued and respected is critical.
So when he isn’t, he feels like he’s been told he is worthless. This triggers the fear that he won’t survive or be loved and so he gets angry.
Even if men are more sensitive to disrespect, both men and women hate the feeling it gives them. And everyone loves to feel respected.
I believe the root of a strong and healthy sense of self-esteem isn’t achieved by puffing yourself up with positive affirmations or everyone telling you that you’re great.
I believe it comes from a global sense of respect. You see, when you have a deeper sense of perspective, a view of the world where the questions of why we are here and what life is about, then we see how everything fits into its place. Then we can respect the King and the Street Cleaner with the same appreciation.
The usual way of looking at respect is we see someone who has a lot of attention, such as a Singer or Sports star and we look at them in awe. So a Film star get asked for their view on economic and political issues, which really has no relevance to their accomplishments. This is because they have achieved something impressive in a narrow field, they are seen as someone more worthy in all fields.
Yet actually all roles are important and significant. The truly noble King sees himself as the protector of his people and in service of them. Just as we need someone to make decisions and lead us, we need people to clean and serve us in shops. Life works when we have all roles filled and everyone plays their role well.
In the same way, some men will earn a lot of money and assume they have more control over decisions, because they earned the money. Yet that is disrespectful to the other roles that may not be as financially lucrative, but make it possible for him to carry out his role.
We’re all built differently and because our talents might not be those that are lauded and gain lots of attention it doesn’t mean we are less worthy.
When you see the value of others, whether society values them or not, you stop feeling the need to be competitive with others. This removes the stress from feeling you have to continually prove your worth because your self-esteem becomes less tied up with ranking your achievements against others and more about seeing your value in doing your best in service for others.
When you have this perspective, respect becomes the core pillar for self-esteem. This sense of self-esteem changes how you treat people because you look for the value they do or can bring. And when you bring that to a relationship you are more sensitive, responsive and caring to your partner.
The basis of a relationship is each side seeking their unspoken needs to be met. The more sensitive and respectful you are to their needs, the happier they will feel and so you create a virtuous circle.
Some of the funniest tv scenes are based on someone lacking social or self awareness. My favourite ever comedy the UK version of The Office is entirely based on David Brent’s lack of social and self-awareness.
Yet much of the pain, depression and even suicides in our society are because of a lack of self-awareness. When people try to do what they’re not built to do it makes them miserable and they feel like a failure.
Your happiness in life is directly correlated with your level of self-awareness. It means knowing in which environments you thrive and where you’ll wilt. It means knowing which people are for you and who will drain you. It means knowing what your strengths and your weaknesses are. It’s understanding yourself to know what you can and can’t do.
Just as you need to know yourself, you need to know the environment. Happiness and success come when you understand the contexts that suit your make-up and their rules.
The third aspect of awareness is emotional awareness. This is understanding what you feel. Your greatest source of guidance is your emotional awareness. Because if you think about it, what guides your decision making?
We do what we do to feel good or avoid feeling bad. But when we can be much more aware of the subtle nuances that we feel, we are able to track how we feel and using our self-awareness know why we feel as we do. This then gives us feedback of how well we are doing at the game of life, long before we would otherwise see results and so we can adapt and change what we are doing.
Within a relationship it means we can pick up on clues to know when the other person is upset and so soothe their feelings and work things out. It means we can express what we need and share how we are feeling so our partner can understand us more.
Having greater awareness makes us more sensitive and responsive to our partner. Lacking awareness makes us seem insensitive, uncaring and the stereotypical obnoxious oaf that we laugh at.
Life can’t be all a hard slog. Relationships and business are work, but there needs to be times of fun. Fun is what bonds couples and families.
Having fun is allowing your inner child to surface and connect with the inner child of your lover’s. The things that people love aren’t the serious stuff, but the silly things we do.
Many marriages break up because they lose the fun from their relationship. Of course, there needs to be responsibility and work. We need to pay the bills and keep the household running, but there needs to be a way to let off steam together. It’s easy to feel you’ve done your bit and just want to be left alone to relax, but making a little extra effort can give you and your partner a second wind.
When you are sore after a fight, it’s the childish joke or teasing that reconnects you, not the logical explanation. It’s important not to take life too seriously. None of it matter in the end.
At the core of a successful relationship is a strong friendship. We all want to feel good. We make the choices we do because we think they will make us feel better. We choose our friends by how they make us feel, so it is important that we make our partner feel good.
When a relationship lacks fun, there is no respite and the relationship can seem like an unending slog. Without the light hearted moments to reconnect you, the relationship grows stale and you grow more distant from each other.
When a relationship has fun, the couple are bonded together and they are better able to withstand any troubles in their relationship.
However much we try to deny the fact we are all inherently selfish. That’s a fact not a judgement. However empathetic we are, we always feel our own pain or joy more than we can feel anyone else’s. And as much as your partner will be rooting for your success, they’re going to be most concerned with their own. And vice versa.
A large point of being in a relationship is to have someone there for you. So your role as partner is to help as much as you can in making your partner’s dreams come true.
That doesn’t mean you’re responsible for making them come true, but that you support them in achieving them. Maybe that means you watch the kids while he has time to train in his sport or while she builds up a new business.
Of course, being supportive is not just a matter of achieving their life dreams, it’s also about the small things like listening to their rants about work, reassuring them they’re doing fine and believing in them when no one else does.
When you don’t have this from your lover it feels like you’re alone in life. What is the point in the relationship when you feel alone? People who feel alone within their relationship will often look for support elsewhere or will be more susceptible to attention from other people and so it can lead to affairs and a break down of the relationship.
When you do have this in your relationship, you become more bonded to your partner and turn to rely on them more and more. This grows trust, respect and understanding which strengthen your relationship more and more.
Open, honest and trustworthy
In essence what we want from a relationship is to connect with what’s real in the person. We want to know the real person to have an authentic relationship with them and we want to be able to trust them enough to reveal who we are beneath the surface.
The mystery might attract someone in the initial stages of a relationship, but unless the cloak drops the attraction will fade. A lasting relationship goes beyond attraction into bonding. In order to bond we need to see something real. And so you have to be willing to let someone inside the persona that you show to the rest of the world.
Without knowing why you do what you do, your partner can’t trust you. And so you want to become as transparent as you can. This way you get to be you and be loved by the person who accepts you as you are.
It can be scary to let someone in to see the real you. It’s much easier to hide and play safe, but we have to take risks in life to win anything worthwhile. Some people may not accept the real you, but these aren’t people you can make a deep and lifelong relationship with.
In the same way, not everyone will prove to be worthy of your trust. Some people will abuse it. However, when you don’t give your trust you risk pushing away people that were worthy of it. The reality is that when you trust you give people the chance to show if they are or aren’t worthy of it. It may hurt to find out someone betrayed you, but at least you find out. If you don’t risk trusting them you stay in a relationship with someone that you can’t trust. While it may hurt in the short term, at least you can move on and find someone more worthy of you.
When a relationship lacks openness, honesty and trust it can never go to the deeper levels that most of us crave from a relationship. Our partner never understands us and we can’t relax into the trusting bond of a satisfying and meaningful relationship.
When a relationship has these qualities we know our partner at a deeper level and we feel able to trust them and share more and more of ourselves with them. We bond at a deeper level and our love grows as we grow together.