Creating healthy relationships requires mindfulness, not a PhD. A past mentor of mine use to say to the couples he was working with, “If you go out in the rain without an umbrella, you’re going to get wet. Don’t blame me for getting wet.” Relationships are the same thing—if you treat those around you poorly, you’re going to lose them. Don’t blame me for that—it’s just the way life works.
Below are basic life truths when it comes to the things that squash relationships. Heed them or don’t—the choice is yours.
1. Yelling, raging and intimidation is abusive. No one likes to be abused. Eventually, those abused want to do anything they can to get away from the abuser.
2. Consistently calling others names, shaming them or talking down to them takes a toll on a person. They will either quickly leave you, realizing you’re toxic to them, or will eventually leave you after first questioning themselves. Only the most damaged person would stay; they would stay out of fear, not love
3. Never having to say you’re sorry will truly leave you sorry. It gets tiring when people in your life refuse to be accountable for their behaviors. Humans make mistakes; never apologizing for them doubles that mistake.
4. Cheating breaks trust, kills intimacy and damages families. Affairs take years to heal from and that is under the best of circumstances. Think before you cheat—the implications of that one decision can absolutely flip your world upside down.
5. Controlling, micro-managing and telling others what to do and how to do it leaves children doubting their own abilities, spouses resentful and angry, and loved ones angry and annoyed. No one likes to be controlled—no matter how “wise” you think you are.
6. Ogling women, making suggestive comments at them and objectifying women leaves women feeling uncomfortable and creeped out, not flattered. Doing this in front of your girlfriend or wife is classless and emotionally toxic.
7. Seldom talking or sharing with your partner leaves your partner feeling lonely and disconnected. Intimacy requires connection—not just a body. If you don’t offer much emotionally, eventually your loved ones will look elsewhere.
8. Defensiveness never fools people into thinking you didn’t do what you’re so vehemently defending; it only leads people to realize that you’re not strong enough to be accountable it. The more you defend, the more people will stop sharing honestly about what’s going on for them. They’ll not only get off your back, they’ll also find their way out of your life.
9. Lying teaches people not to trust you. It trains them to forever doubt you—even on those rare occasions when you actually might be telling the truth.
10. Physical abuse is ALWAYS about the abuser. If you can’t control your anger, then get help. Anger, rage and physical abuse is toxic and destroys every relationship it touches.
Relationships are made difficult when we make bad choices. The recipe for great relationships is fairly simple: Be great in them. Be loving, supportive, kind, compassionate, honest, accountable and emotionally and physically present. Be the parent, partner, friend or spouse that you wish you had. Show up loving and stay that way. Choose someone who will treat you in the same loving way and don’t settle for those who won’t.
Challenge: Creating great relationships is not rocket science. The bottom line is: Don’t treat others badly and don’t allow others to treat you badly. Start there and see what happens.