The first belief you need to let go of is the belief that you need to learn how to compromise in order to have any kind of successful relationship.
By definition, compromise is an attempt to solve conflict through mutual concessions. The first problem with that is, when you give something up you don’t really want to give up, all kinds of negative things start to happen. At a time when you want to foster trust, you begin to keep an eye on the other person to make sure they’re doing their part and they keep an eye on you as well, which actually lays the seeds for mistrust. “I can’t really trust you, I have to monitor and make sure you’re doing what you said you’d do.”
Secondly, compromise lays the seeds for resentment. Often, when two people promise they will do something they don’t really want to do or give something up that they don’t really want to give up, they feel like they are in an unfair situation, doing their part while the other person is not. This creates a holier than thou attitude and a belief that you are doing more than the other person. “I’m doing what I promised and you’re not doing what you said you would do.”
The third problem is that compromise is a shortcut to avoid doing the real work that will evolve your issues with that person and your relationship with them. If you stick with an issue, and don’t compromise, but deal with the conflicts as they arise, and hash out what you need to hash out, your communication provides an opportunity to move the relationship through a process of growth. This is because a relationship is an evolving process where issues don’t get solved, instead, they change over time.
They look different today than they will in the future if you don’t shortcut the process. And it’s this evolution that creates a more satisfying relationship whether it be at work, at home, with friends, family or with yourself.
The second belief you need to suspend is the idea of picking the right person, the right job, the right career, or making the right choice in any areas of your life.
Life is not about making the right choices; it’s about following a process of becoming Independent Enough in our dealings with the world. That is, engaging with the world, taking a step back from that engagement,becoming self-reflective in order to decide what you need to develop or change about yourself, and then stepping back into the world and working on your changes. For example, you take a job and you don’t like the way your boss talks to you. She, or he, is condescending and micro-manages everything.
You become angry, resentful and you join the gossip train moving through the office. This doesn’t mean you are trapped, that you’ve taken the wrong job,or you have to decide whether you’re going to stay or go. Instead, take a step back and clear the thoughts about your boss out of your head. Reflect on how you are acting and reacting which may include how you’re feeling. What had you been doing to make the situation worse? What can you do to make the situation better for YOU?
As a solution, you decide that you’ll stop complaining and get off the rumor train. The next day you step into the office and begin ‘working’ on staying away from complaining or joining conversations that are critical. You focus more on your work. This takes weeks, months, to perfect and you feel better, but your boss is still a pain in the neck. So, you pick a specific behavior your boss has that drives you crazy and go through the same process as before, taking that step back and becoming self-reflective.
Then you follow through with the work you need to do. This allows you to evolve through a process and it’s this process that will let you know if you can stay or need to leave. You’ll either grow into the job or grow out of it.
The third belief you need to drop, is the myth that 1+1+1= SUCCESS,because being successful, however you define success, is not formulaic.
I once read an article that defined an expert as someone who had made all the mistakes they could make in their field. And there’s a lot of truth to this. Being successful—whether it’s to be happier in life, make more money, get a promotion, get an education, have a better sex life, or whatever else you yearn for—is an evolution.
No matter how many books, articles, YouTube videos, and inspirational talks or lectures you hear that tell you it’s a formula, it ain’t! Maybe the guru on the mountaintop has a lot of wisdom to impart, but you’re not going to get to Nirvana by reading a book or going to India to study for a few years or meditating twice a day, because there is no Nirvana. There are levels, and plateaus of success, but we’re never there. There is no end point.
The way to become more successful in whatever you’re doing is by challenging yourself to reach, stretch and grow. If you are setting goals, remember that one goal leads to another and another. Whatever level you’re at is a stage of development and there are always more levels to reach for. Examining yourself through self-reflection will enable you to reach greater levels of success.
Finally, forget about the belief that there is a certain way to be happy in your relationships.
Again, there are many books and experts that tell you that if you follow their advice you’ll be happy. While helpful, don’t believe it for a second, because each of us is so different and there are a million different ways to reach the same place. We often believe that our success in relationships is determined by how other people have told us to behave by how they talked to us, how they acted in relation to us, or how they treated us. The truth is, our relationships are created by how WE interact with other people, not how they act towards us.
Here is an example from my family. I have three children. My oldest son was a self-motivator in school and also knew how to have fun, so my wife and I basically left him to do his own thing except when he got into trouble. My middle son struggled in school and needed to be coached and given parameters around studying to keep his grades up. My youngest, a daughter, was not only good in school, but I thought she tried too hard to be perfect.
For her, I offered $25 for every test she failed and $50 for every grade below an A she got on her report card (It only cost me $50 total for her whole high school and college career). Three kids, all requiring different ways of becoming happier, not just in their relationship with school, but also in their relationship with their parents and ultimately with themselves. Step back, reflect and do it your way.