By Katy Blevins
When was the last time you renegotiated your contract with your spouse? With your co-workers? Your best friend? Yourself?
I know what you're thinking.
This is life we're talking about here! These aren't contract negotiations, they're relationships. These are real people. Nobody signed on the dotted line to be my friend.
Ask yourself. How did you build each of the important relationships in your life? Think about it.
Every relationship we have is grounded in an ongoing dialogue that sets expectations for how that relationship will exist and operate successfully, both today and in the future.
Consider how you have communicated your expectations to the important people in your life. Where have you set boundaries? Have any of those boundaries changed? Where should you have set some ground rules and didn't? How did that relationship fair?
The truth of the matter is that our lives are a series of mini contracts we negotiate with the people we encounter.
Properly communicating our terms allows us to thrive and flourish and discover common ground that serves as the foundation for life's emotional and spiritual successes - love, joy, passion and laughter.
These contracts also serve as safeguards for those circumstances we wish to avoid. As important as it is for us to communicate what we need in order to experience happiness, it's equally if not more important for us to set expectations for those behaviors that will cause us pain.
We know immediately when our contract terms have been broken or are not being met. We feel disappointment, discomfort, sadness and hurt.
We should then communicate how we are feeling to that person. We reiterate the terms of our contract and put it on the table that those terms are not being met. We request change and if it doesn't happen? Well, we have the freedom to choose to move away from that person, dissolve our contract and seek to meet others that are better suited for partnership with us.
As human beings, women, men, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, daughters, selves...we all accept certain realities and rules of engagement in order to thrive.
- We have the freedom to communicate any and all of our expectations at any time.
- We must respect the expectations of others, even if we do not agree with them.
- If we enter into partnership with someone, it is our obligation to fulfill our agreement.
- If our expectations change, it is our responsibility to communicate clearly and confidently.
- When we do not communicate our need to renegotiate, we cannot hold others accountable for our decision to remain silent.
- When others do not communicate their need to renegotiate, we cannot accept responsibility for their decision to remain silent.
- We all have the right to reject the terms of another person and dissolve the relationship at any time, seek to negotiate different terms or choose to walk away.
A successful relationship is a constantly evolving compromise. A thriving marriage requires an ever present flexibility that has both partners giving and taking in fair balance. Reciprocity in love and friendship requires genuine loyalty and respect for the needs of the other person.
Relationships that aren't grounded in cooperative terms are dysfunctional and often fracture. Marriages fall apart when couples are "not on the same page." Friendships dissolve when one person feels taken advantage of or as if they are "doing all the work."
Relationships are saved when two people come together to openly communicate what they need in order to successfully move forward.
So, when was the last time you renegotiated the relationships in your life? Is there anyone who is unhappy? How have you changed? How have others changed? Are you meeting the expectations that others have set for you? Are they meeting your expectations?
Negotiating the terms of a contract is not about drawing hard lines with abrasive ultimatums. In fact, those harsh ideas that popped into your head when I first asked that question are exactly what causes negotiations to fail and reach an impasse.
Negotiating the terms of a contract is about keeping an open dialogue with those most important to us, coming to the table with a willingness to share, hear and understand what behaviors work best to help the relationship thrive...and what behaviors run the risk of splintering a valuable partnership.
It all comes down to communication.
How well are you communicating with those you love the most? Oh..and be sure to include yourself on that list! Are you meeting the terms of your contract with yourself? When was the last time you took care of you? Join the Movement.