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Whether it’s Entrepreneurs or parents, children or customers, I see my clients leading with beliefs and behaviors that sabotage their most important relationships. That is until, I show them a better path.

As you know, the quality of your relationships = the quality of your life. Let’s take a look at where your relationship habits could use some tweaking.

There are seven habits, that when identified and replaced with their opposites, can result in an amazing transformation of the quality of your communication and therefore of your relationships.

1) Blame

“It’s all your fault,” “She started it” are common mantras of the blame game. This is the primary response to the feeling that something happened “to you.” It’s made worse when you insist that it was on purpose and needs to be punished. Making the other person pay is a great premise for an action movie but is exhausting as a way of life.

The opposite of Blame is Responsibility. Broken down into it’s component parts you have Response – Ability or the Ability to Respond in a given situation.

How do you use your Response Ability? It begins with your decision about how to interpret the events of your life. Are they “obstacles” or “opportunities?” The way you define them determines the options you believe are available to you. Think about it.

2) Procrastination

I define procrastination as the motivation to avoid proactivity. In short, you put off dealing with things at the time. This sabotages your relationships when you put off discussing hurt feelings, putting off the phone call to ask when you can get together and so on. When you keep putting off the things that are necessary to keep your relationships energized then the relationship can wither and die.

The alternative to procrastinating is proactivity. The old, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today” analogy. This doesn’t mean cram as much into one day as you possibly can. It simply means don’t put it off simply to put it off. If you can do it, do it.

3) Criticism

This can be in the form of complaining, whining, nit picking or any other tendency to constantly correct another person.

It’s one thing to know a better way of doing something, it’s entirely different to repeatedly tell another person their way is wrong.

Relationships are powerful opportunities to build each other up, NOT to erode a person’s self-confidence with the latest beating from the not good enough catalogue.

4) Pity

If you spend a lot of time in the “whoa is me” plane of existence, you can count on two things happening. You will feel a constant drain of energy and you will suck the life out of those around you as well. The former is the definition of an energy vampire.

The opposite of seeking pity is seeking support. Support in changing your state of “whoa” into a state of “where do I go from here?”

5) Resentment

The holding of a grudge is one of the most destructive things anyone can do to themselves. One of the ways it shows up in relationships is what’s referred to as “Score Keeping.” This is when you pull the, “Remember the time you did this” as a way to distract from taking responsibility for something you’ve done, or in order to minimize something your partner did right. The, “Well that doesn’t make up for the time you did that” approach is an effective way of preventing your relationship from moving forward.

Forgiveness is the all purpose remedy for resentment but it also requires tremendous strength to implement (speaking from experience here). Lily Tomlin said it best when she described Forgiveness as “giving up all hope of a better past.”

We don’t heal the hurts of a relationship by reliving them. We heal them by working through them, getting past them, not repeating them and ultimately improving upon them.

6) Guilt

Guilt trips are not given they are taken. Guilt is exercising the privilege of beating yourself up for something you feel you did wrong. It also involves not forgiving yourself for whatever you feel the offense was, and not accepting the forgiveness of whomever you wronged.

Now when you insist on reminding someone of something they did that upset you and how they should continue to feel bad about it as long as you do. You are in a way demanding that your relationship focus on the pain of what happened instead of how to move past it.

The remedy here again is . . . Forgiveness.

7) Selfishness

This takes many forms including being inconsiderate of another person’s feelings, prioritizing your wants and needs over the other person’s.

Relationships must be an experience that makes both people better by being a part of it. If it is seen primarily as a way to meet your needs then what you need is to hire a servant.

The payoff for making sure a friend or client’s needs are met is that your efforts are bound to be reciprocated as part of a healthy, win-win relationship.

Thanks for being you.

Please share your thoughts on these 7 habits and please share this with others.

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