Dr. William Glasser, world renowned psychiatrist wrote that the main reason people are unhappy is because of a relationship that is not the way they want it to be. Most relationship problems are of one or more of the following variations based on external control.
1. I want you to do something you don’t want to do .
You see we call carry pictures in our head of people, places, things and strong values and we are always behaving to get what we want. But what happens when what you want to do is different from what someone else in your life wants to do? Do you spend your time, energy and effort trying to get that person to do something they do not want to do? Do you ever stop to ask yourself, how important is what you want versus the importance of your relationship?
2. You want me to do something I don’t want to do. So now how am I receiving this request to do something I don’t want to do? Is it that I really do not want to do it? Is it in the best interest of my relationship to at least consider it? Or is it in my best interest to just fight for what I want to do and enlarge the distance between me and the other person.
3. We both want each other to do something neither of us wants to do. This usually comes down to attending some sort of function that you both may feel obligated to attend. This being said, are you going to fulfill that obligation and accept it as it, or are you going to decide together not to fulfill that obligation? If you choose to do it then recognize you both are choosing to do something neither, of you want to do and that you do have a choice. It makes no sense to bicker and argue with each other unless you want to distance yourself from the other person.
4. I’m trying to force myself to do something I don’t want to do and I am doing this to please someone else. When you find yourself, in this situation, who is the person responsible? When you choose to do something to please someone else then understand it is a choice that you make. Hopefully you do something like this because you know it will help your relationship with the other person, but if you are doing it because you believe you have no choice and you are filling yourself with resentments, understand that collecting resentments is the number one killer of relationships,
As we move forward through this year’s end and into next year, ask yourself, “ Who’s behavior can I control? Hopefully, your answer will be, “ only my own”. If you can find a way to get more of what you want without infringing on the rights and needs of others, you will have a much better relationship.
We can choose the deadly relationship habits of blaming, complaining, nagging, criticizing, threatening, punishing and rewarding in an attempt to control or we can focus on the Caring Habits of encouraging, supporting, loving, respecting, trusting, listening and negotiating difference. The Deadly Habits will destroy our relationships. The Caring Habits will build our relationships stronger