Creating Positive Relationships
I am sure I can offer over ten thousand pages of advice about relationships, but I won’t. The world is filled with techniques, books, CDs and seminars designed to help people live together harmoniously. Yet, since the beginning of time, one of the largest problems we face on this planet is the inability to get along with one another. Poor relationships create war, divorce, family separation, runaways, defiance, fear and hostility.
One of my favorite movies is, “Oh God” starring George Burns and John Denver. If you did not see this movie I hope you will. The movie is a classic and full of advice for positive living. One great scene was when God (played by George Burns) appeared to Jerry Landers (played by John Denver) while he was taking a shower. God’s request to Jerry, “Tell the world I’m still here. Spread the word that I still care and that the world can work.” Jerry is a little distressed by God’s request and he quickly challenges God. “The world isn’t working. It’s not working at all. We need help down here.” At that point, God brilliantly replies, “That’s why I gave you each other.”
I’ve always believed that God cares for people through people. We need each other for our lives and our world to work. Instead of fighting over the last barrel of oil, we need to change our thinking and understand that our very survival depends on sharing it with each other.
Did you ever walk through the mall and notice someone wearing the same outfit you were? This has happened to me often. Two complete strangers for a brief moment in time stop and smile at each other. Sometimes we may even comment, “nice outfit,” or “good taste in clothes,” or “you look great.” We laugh, and move on. Did you ever drive past someone who had the same car as you? Sometimes when this happens, people nod or beep the horn to acknowledge the coincidence. It’s fun to see that someone has the same taste as you or that two strangers have something in common.
How about things we have in common globally? Wouldn’t life be great if we could walk up to a total stranger and excitedly say, “Wow, you’re on Earth, too? Wow, isn’t this great? What a coincidence! We’ll have to get together some day and be best friends.” This has been the dream of many great leaders. I believe it is a possibility. Jacobsen Seminars teaches a very powerful relationship program. In this program we discuss the five basic elements required to create positive healthy relationships.
1) Open, Honest Communication – before we married, my wife Kathy and I spoke with many couples who were enjoying blissful lives together. We both believe in “modeling” successful people in order to create similar success. Every couple told us the secret to a successful marriage was open, honest communication. Communication is an art form. Whether you are relating to a mate, child, parent, brother, sister or neighbor, your communication skills are a valuable asset. I remember a story about a lady supposedly filing for divorce. The judge began to question her about the decision she had made, so that he could properly hear the case.
Judge: On what grounds do you want to appeal to your husband?
Wife: On the court grounds of course!
Judge: No, you misunderstood the question. What I mean is do you have any grounds?
Wife: Yes. My husband and I own two acres.
Judge: What I mean is, do you have a grudge?
Wife: Yes. We have a two-car garage.
Judge: No! No! No! What I mean is, does he beat you up?
Wife: No. I’m always awake before he is.
Judge: What I mean is was he unfaithful?
Wife: My husband doesn’t belong to a church.
Judge: What I’m trying to find out is why you want to divorce your husband?
Wife: I don’t want to divorce my husband, he wants to divorce me. He says we have a communication problem.
Although the above story is humorous, it unfortunately happens all too often. The way we communicate with each other will determine the quality of the relationship. Learn to speak to people, not at them. Speak to people in the way they like to be spoken to. When speaking with others look directly into their eyes. This is a sign that you can be trusted and it also demonstrates your high self-image. Before you speak to anyone ask yourself, “How can I say thiswith sincerity or with tenderness, or how can I make my point understood without creating any hard feelings?” These questions will help you to effectively touch the heart of your listener and a high quality relationship will be inevitable.
Another vital part of communication is to be a good listener. You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth. When you give your undivided attention to another, he or she will respect you. By listening to others they know that you care and this mindset will create instant friendships. Opportunities are sometimes missed because we do not listen. Nature reminds us that our ears are designed to stay open and our mouth designed to stay closed.
2) Change Your Attitude Towards Others – the truth is that we all have different values. We must never negate someone because their value’s are different from ours. Negative attitudes make it impossible to get along with ourselves and with others. This is the basic law of cause and effect! What we give out, we get back. Psychologists tell us that we always see in others what we recognize in ourselves. The world and other people are constantly reflecting back to us – all that we think about it. At the core of your being, begin to recognize the divinity in others and they will soon recognize the divinity in you. Treat all of whom you meet with respect and dignity. We need to constantly ask ourselves the following question about every thought, emotion or feeling we have, “Does this type of thinking create unity orseparation?” If the answer is separation, change the thought to enhance the relationship.
Here is a popular technique that I know will help you if you are challenged by other people. The moment you sense a relationship may be threatened, or that someone is about to push your buttons, immediately ask yourself, “What would someone like Gandhi or Mother Teresa do in this situation?” After that, follow your heart.
3) Practice Forgiveness – one of the greatest acts we can perform is the act of forgiveness. This is a master key for high quality relationships. We must remember we make mistakes because we’re human. You’ve heard the expression, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Every time you extend forgiveness to another person you are expressing your divinity. To express this divinity, it is important that you forgive and let go on an inner level, too. To merely utter the words, “I forgive you” yet still harbor inner resentment is like burying the hatchet but leaving the handle exposed.
I recently worked with a gentleman in New York who was having a challenging relationship with his sister. Apparently, she expressed some unkind words to a lady he was dating. Upon hearing her words, the lady broke off with him and vowed to never speak with him again. Months after the break up, he verbally forgave his sister, but his heart was still angry. He was suffering with all types of psychosomatic health problems which I attributed to his hardened heart. I taught him a great psychological technique that I hope you may find beneficial. I told him to enter a meditative level and mentally speak to his sister. He was to mentally express all of his anger and mentally tell her off. After this, when he was ready, he was to mentally forgive her. He mentally repeated the affirmation, “I now let go of all the negative feelings attached to this event and the negative feelings now let goof me.” He explained to me that he felt a moment of peace and serenity after this process as if a big weight lifted from his body. He immediately called his sister and forgave her again, but, this time he meant it. Shortly after this his health problems vanished and he met another lady.
Remember physiologically, when you are angry with someone you create angry, toxic body chemistry within yourself. Similarly, when you curse someone, you’re actually cursing yourself and when you hate someone, you first taste the poison.
The power of forgiveness helps us to heal ourselves, allowing us to become whole. It is very difficult when someone hurts us and that is why it is sometimes difficult to forgive. Yet, once we overcome this difficulty, forgiveness strengthens the relationship making us better people. Mark Twain once gave a beautiful definition of forgiveness: “Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet leaves on the heel of the person who stepped on it.” That may be the most godly definition of forgiveness I have ever heard.
4) Discover Each Other’s Needs – this is a basic rule of thumb for any type of relationship. If you want a high quality relationship, find out the other person’s needs and fulfill them. To terminate a relationship the opposite is true – discover the other person’s needs and keep those needs unfulfilled. If you want a good relationship with your boss, meet his or her needs by producing high quality work. If you desire a good relationship with your mate or other family members, properly meet their needs with love in your heart. The most fulfilling relationships are the ones where you go to give, not where you go to take.
When you have the willingness to place another’s need over your own, you are demonstrating the highest expression of selflessness and love. The more love you give the more love you will receive. When you hold sand in your hand and tightly clench your fist, all of the sand will escape from your hand. However, when you extend your hand and hold it wide open, the pile of sand will sit on your hand and you will barely lose any of it. Therefore, hold your hand out and contribute all that you can toward your relationships. As you put this rule into practice, you will soon discover that giving is receiving.
5) Do Unto Others – this is known as “The Golden Rule.” Treat others exactly the way you would like them to treat you. If everyone followed this rule, our planet would become an instant paradise. We would no longer need laws, prisons or a judicial system because we would live together in harmony and in peace. This principle is taught in most of the world’s major religions and is an absolute standard for harmonious relationships with others. If you want to have friends, then be a friend. If you want to be loved, then love others. The best way to have your needs met is to lovingly, without strings, meet the needs of others. If you do not want to be judged, never judge another. And if you want to be forgiven, forgive others. This is known as the “Law of Indirect Effort.” Practice being the person with whom you would like to have positive relationships. This is the bridge that will help you cross over to relationship fulfillment.
I encourage you to practice and saturate your mind with these five relationship rules. Let these guidelines become an integral part of your lifestyle since these five elements create a powerful foundation for rock-solid relationships.
I wish you luck & success!
John Eric Jacobsen was born to teach and destined to be a motivator. In 1985 John founded “Jacobsen Business Programs, Inc.” (JacobsenPrograms.com), a corporate seminar company helping people to succeed personally and professionally.
John’s experience is what sets him apart. With a diverse background in business, sales, communications, theatrical arts, dance and acting; John has the unique ability to not only be a great entertainer, but also an amazing teacher. He has trained and worked with over a half a million people and has performed or taught all over America on stage and on TV.