Every relationship has a goal, yet we often don’t know what that goal is. If the relationship is personal, we might think the goal is happiness. If it is professional, we might think the goal is to be profitable or to help each other (teamwork/cooperation). It seems that goals such as happiness or teamwork should be easier, yet most of us struggle with relationships. Many relationships are fraught with disappointment and frustration. In reality, our level of frustration or success has less to do with our desire for happiness or prosperity and more to do with the true goals that we set. Relationships change for the better when we change our goals.

Typically, relationships are based on need. The need to be loved or the need to prosper has us looking for someone to fill that need. Sometimes it seems to work. You meet my needs and I meet yours. The relationship is mutually beneficial. In this example, my real goal is that you will provide me with love in the form of affection, attention, and emotional support. I want you to make me feel valuable. Your real goal is that I love you in the form of admiration, affection, and helpfulness. You want me to make you feel self-fulfilled. As long as both of us have our needs met, the relationship is believed to be great.

Eventually there are problems. There are days when you or I fail to meet each others’ needs. We become frustrated, hurt, and angry. Each sees the other as the problem. I may think “Everything would be great if you still loved me (translation: Everything would be great if you met my needs.) You may think I expect too much of you and that my needs are overwhelming. You think things would be better if I understood you better and gave you more space.

The problems we identify in this example are not the real problem. The real problem lies in our real goals. Our goals are based on need, on lack. I believe that I lack something and I thought you had agreed to supply it. You believed I should make you feel happy with yourself. Both of us feel the pain and frustration of our unmet needs (goals). The unmet goals are the real problem, because goals based on lack are unattainable.

Let’s rewind. I learn to love and appreciate myself. looking within, I feel loved, confident, open to possibilities. I feel so much love that I want to share it with someone. You also love and appreciate yourself, and want to share. We form a relationship. The goal for each of us is to share what we have with each other. Each of us holds an abundance of love. When you are having a tough time, and can’t meet my needs, my abundance of love keeps me sharing with you. Since we don’t function as perfect humans, we recognize that each of us may have gaps in our ability to love. We allow for that, instead of seeing it as a threat.

Think about your personal relationships. What is your goal? Is it to share what you have or is it to get what you need? When you think about the other person, are you adding up your disappointments or are you seeing who they really are? Is the relationship about a deeper appreciation of the other person, or is it about the other person being what you want them to be?

If you find that your relationships are mostly based on need, then how do you develop the self appreciation and confidence needed for you to engage honestly and compassionately with another? It begins with a goal. The goal is to be a self confident adult with a healthy level of self love and confidence. By adult, I mean someone who assumes 100 % responsibility for his/her thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. In other words, how you feel is no one’s fault. You look within, and accept and appreciate yourself. You are willing to let go of guilt and self criticism as well as projecting your faults on to others. If you can set that goal, then the healthy and confident adult is already within you. It will emerge via your intention and through practice.

You practice by seeing others in terms of their strengths and their needs, rather than seeing them in terms of your needs. You find the courage to communicate honestly without attacking or blaming, and you listen. You are willing to risk the present form of the relationship in order to be true to your goal. At some point in our growing up we recognize that all of our thoughts of guilt, unworthiness, or blaming self or others---thoughts of needing others to make us feel better about ourselves---these thoughts are illusions.

When we are feeling hurt or angry, we are one thought away from peace, from joy, from confidence, or from love. We can accept our emotions but we don’t have to believe in them or identify with them. We have the choice to observe emotions and breathe through them, or to move through them via physical activity. We can give away our hurtful and blaming thoughts to our Higher Power, asking to see the other person through Spirit’s vision. We can challenge thoughts that the other person is “supposed” to act in certain ways to make us feel better. These are ways we practice. Through practice and through knowing the goal we gain self love and confidence. As we gain self love and confidence we see the abundance that we carry within. Knowing this abundance, we can share what we have with another.

Author's Bio: 

William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of three books including The Road Home: The Journey Beyond the Spiritual Quick Fix. To contact Bill e-mail him at Bill@noblaming.com . To check out his books and CD, go to http://intelligentspirit.com . To enroll in his online classes:
1. Creating Your Ideal Relationship, go to http://intelligentspirit.com/online.html to register for the next class.
2. The Leaders' Edge , go to http://noblaming.com/onlinecourse.html , to register for the next class.