How often do you walk away from an encounter with a friend or family member scratching your head or clenching your fists because of what they said or did? Instead of an optimal experience (i.e. “flow”), we get fireworks instead (i.e. hell). For most, it happens too often and we really don’t know why. After all, the issue was as clear as a bell…..for us.
Last Sunday, I read an article in the paper with the headline “Don’t confuse health care “right” with “entitlement” that gave me some insight into the issue. After all, politics seems to be the definition of discord these days. While it seems odd that a political article could give insight into relationship discord, I found some.
The insight that connected the dots for me is that we too often view aspects of our relationship with others as a right, an entitlement or both. In order to make sense, it’s critical to know the difference between the two. A right is a moral or legal position of inherent ownership. An entitlement is a benefit paid for by others.
Keeping with the political theme, JFK’s familiar quote provides additional perspective: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” If more of us had this perspective on a personal level it would go a long way to in making our relationships more healthy and whole…which would spill over into our national national discourse as well.
Why don’t we?
- We often assume rights in relationships where we have none. Do you really have the right to assume you have all the information?
- We often demand entitlements from others. Are you really entitled to have the other person hear you out fully when you haven’t done the same for them?
To compound matters further, our emotional bank account with those we have friction with is usually over drawn or no emotional capital has been deposited within the last 30+ days.
Knowing what’s needed and having proper perspective is only one part of the equation, doing is the other.
So how do you go from a perspective of “right” and “entitlement” to having flow in your relationships on a consistent basis? By leveraging the following three powerful questions:
- What do I want for myself?
- What do I want for the other person?
- What do I want for the relationship?
Asking yourself these three questions before you interact with others will jolt your perspective and make it clear on who you need to be, what you need to do and how to do it. Done repeatedly, it becomes a habit that will ultimately transform your mindset and your relationships.
So, with who or what relationship do you need to change your perspective? You know, the one you’ve probably been avoiding or ignoring. And what would it mean for both of you if asked yourself the 3 questions above and took action to make that happen?
Step up, give a shot and then leave a comment that can give us all more insight.