By Leo Gura - March 18, 2014 | 28 Comments
A deep understanding of what healthy relationships look like and how to create them.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video, we’re going to talk about healthy relationships.
Let’s talk about how to create healthy relationships. What does it really take to be in a healthy relationship? I don’t know how much experience you have with healthy relationships, or relationships in general, but if you have any relationship experience, then you probably know that it’s very easy for a relationship to go sour.
Why is this? It’s very fascinating to me why this happens. At a very young age, even though I didn’t have a lot of relationships — I’ve actually not been in that many relationships in my life — what I recognized is that it just made sense to me, inherently. To have a relationship and to really have it work, and to have it last for a long time or even a reasonable amount — even a year-long relationship, I’m not even talking about long, but just to last a year — something has to happen, and it won’t happen spontaneously.
What you’re doing is, you’ve got one person who’s doing his thing in life, and then you’ve got this other person who’s doing her own thing in life. What you’re doing, if you’re creating a healthy relationship, is bringing those two together. Almost think of it as a ballet, as a choreographed ballet.
Dance Your Way To Happiness
You’ve got one dancer doing this, spinning this way, another dancer spinning the opposite way. You bring them close together and you want them to perform as some sort of duo, do something interesting together, so that it’s collaborative, greater than the sum of its parts. You’ve got to bring them together, and now they have to interact and stay in sync. Now the longer that ballet dance lasts, the more opportunity there is for them to get out of sync.
To get them to even get into sync in the first place, and start moving and mirroring each other in the right ways, already requires that they understand each other at a certain level. They have to have a certain level of development, a certain level of training.
I think that most people — this is what I see people doing with relationships — they kind of take the whole issue of relationships for granted. Both men and women. They feel like “Well, a relationship is just something that happens naturally. I don’t really need to work it, I don’t need to study it. It’ll just happen, it’ll come together. I’m a guy, she’s a girl — or whatever the situation may be — and it’ll just happen.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. If you think that is how you’re going to build a sustainable relationship, something that’s going to lead to something very long lasting, like potentially a marriage, no way in hell. That’s why more than half the world is divorced. Marriages don’t work for this reason.
It’s not that they can’t work inherently, it’s because people don’t study how to do it, they don’t understand the psychology of relationships. They don’t understand the psychology of attraction, love, sex, masculinity and femininity. They don’t understand any of that. They go in there, they try to cobble something together and it fails.
It’s kind of like if I was trying to fly to the Moon. You think if I wanted to fly to the Moon, I would just go and cobble something together in my garage? Or would I spend some years learning aerospace engineering, physics, the way planets move and orbits and all that stuff? I would have to spend some time studying it. It’s a complex thing we’re proposing here. This is not something simple.
I would say it’s almost easier to fly to the Moon than it is to hold some of your marriages together, because of the incompatibility you have, but basically because of the lack of understanding you guys have.
A Healthy Relationship
Let’s talk about relationships. What is a healthy relationship? Let’s define that. Stephen Covey, in his amazing classic “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”, classifies three types of relationship. He talks about the codependent relationship, the independent relationship, and the interdependent relationship.
Let’s start with the codependent relationship. This is the really unhealthy one and this is what most relationships are. I want you to be very careful here. You’re likely going to say: “No, that’s not me. That doesn’t apply to me.” No, it probably applies to you. Codependency is not just abusive relationships and relationships that involve drugs and other criminal activities. That’s the worst of the codependent relationship.
A codependent relationship is what most marriages are. It’s what most girl-guy relationships are. This is a key point here. If you have an unhealthy relationship, it’s the codependent relationship type. What is a codependent relationship? It’s when the two parties lack something in each other and they come together because each one of them is lacking something and they see the other one as their other half, and completing each other.
You might say: “Well, that’s how love is supposed to be.” No, that’s how love is portrayed in movies, fairy tales and other popular culture. It’s the surest way to insure that you have an unstable relationship, a dysfunctional relationship, a very emotionally painful relationship, and a relationship that will ultimately fail.
The problem here is that each person here is needy in some way. They need the other person so badly that they come together and as soon as that other person starts to pull away, or to take something away — they do something this person doesn’t like — then what you do is you get angry. You get hurt, you get upset, you get fearful, you feel anxious. It creates a lot of emotional tension.
Ultimately, you’re looking at the other person to fulfill you and that’s an impossibility, a psychological impossibility. Nobody can fulfill you but yourself, so if you go into a relationship thinking the other person is the solution to all your problems, what you’re doing is actually putting a band-aid over a deeper wound.
Ultimately, that wound is going to start to fester. All that puss is going to start to come out of that wound, and it’s going to seep onto the other person. It’s going to taint everything. It’s going to destroy everything. It’s going to make you feel miserable. It’s going to make the other person feel miserable. It’s going to be bad for both parties. That’s codependent, when the two need each other.
The second type of relationship is independent. You’ve got one person, who’s doing his own thing. You’ve got another person, who’s doing her own thing. They’re totally independent. You could bring them together, but they’re doing their own things, so they’re so into themselves that they’re not cooperating. They’re not choreographing.
What happens is that they just kind of split apart. They’re too independent, they’re thinking too much about themselves, they’re too selfish. Independence is ultimately good. The next step is interdependence, which is actually a form of independence. It’s where the two people are independent, but then they start to do a little bit of collaboration.
The independent relationship is nice. It’s still much better than the codependent one. If you have an independent relationship, still better. You could improve it, though, by moving it into an interdependent relationship. This is where you really want to be at, for something long-term, like a marriage.
This means you are independent. The other person is totally independent. You’re happy by yourselves. But you do enjoy each other’s company, and you appreciate certain things about each other. You can develop a love for each other, but it’s a non-needy love. It’s not attachment. You’re not using the other person as an emotional crutch, as a psychological crutch to fulfill you.
What you do is make some conscious choices that this is working. Then you say: “OK, we’re going to start to actually work with each other. We’re going to try to synergise. We’re going to try to improve each other. We’re going to try to grow together.”
This is where that ballet choreography really starts to happen. Think about that metaphor. If you’ve got two ballet dancers, ideally, they’re independent. They can both dance well together. If you’ve got two dancers that can’t dance for shit and you bring them together, you think they’re going to be able to dance well together? No. You’ve got to have two dancers that can dance well by themselves.
Dancing well means living life well. Being happy by yourself. When you bring them together, then you’ve got two master dancers together. They practice together, they train together, they can come up with a routine. Now they can, with the help of a choreographer, make some moves. They practice, they fumble, but eventually, they get something that’s nice, seamless, cohesive. It’s synergistic.
That’s interdependence, and that’s what you ultimately want. That’s what a really, really healthy relationship looks like. How do you actually get there? That’s the trick. I think the biggest thing you’ve got to take away is that you’ve got to work on yourself. This isn’t happening naturally.
You don’t get born knowing how to ballet dance. You don’t get born knowing perfect choreography. That’s something you have to practice diligently, for many hours. You have to study the theory. You have to practice it. You have to fail a bunch of times. Then you get it right. It’s the same thing here.
Some of the practical things I’ll give you guys, some of the points you should be considering: you must come from a place of abundance. That means abundance, sexually. If you have no options, whether you’re a girl or a guy, you’re not going to have a healthy relationship.
You are so concerned, so fearful of losing the other person because here she is the only option, the only chance you’ll have for love and happiness, that you’re going to be too clingy. You’re going to be too needy. When you’re so clingy and needy, that’s going to repel the other person away. It’s going to cause many, many problems.
Ultimately, you’re always going to be fearful. You’ll always going to see that if that other person leaves, you’re screwed. That’s because you haven’t taken care of the scarcity problem that you have. You have to come from a place of abundance. That means — make yourself attractive. Have a social circle. Be going out to bars and clubs so that if you lose the person that you’re with, you can be confident you’ll find somebody new within a reasonable amount of time.
This person that leaves you, that should not mean the rest of your life is going to be a lonely, miserable hell. If it is, you’ve got to fix that. That person is not the solution. The solution is that you fix your life so that you can attract other people. That’s something that can be done. Everyone can do that. You can tweak some variables to do that — I talk about that in other videos.
So make sure you have abundance, sexual abundance in your life. If you’re a girl, have guys that you have that can be options. If you’re a guy, have girls that you have that can be options.
The next point is that you must be happy by yourself. Can you sit alone in a room for thirty minutes and not cry your eyes out, not be anxious, fearful and miserable, feeling lonely and desperate? If you can’t then you’re not happy by yourself. You have to be happy by yourself.
Start constructing an awesome life. That’s why I shoot these videos for you guys. I tell you how to construct an awesome life, I help you figure out the strategies that you need. Then you have to go out there and actually do it. Spend some time working on your own life. Have a good job, a good family situation, good friends, good health and nutrition. All the stuff that’s making you happy. Do that.
The next point is that you’ve got to work on yourself. Work on your own psychology. Not just an awesome life — in here. Work on your own quirks, fears, limiting beliefs, neuroses. Here’s the fundamental law of relationships — you will attract exactly who you are, psychologically. You’re going to attract the person that’s on the same psychological level as you.
That means that if you’ve got a lot of neuroses and fears, limiting beliefs and anxieties, you’re angry all the time and depressed — guess who you’re attracting? Yup, you’re going to attract a similar-minded person. Or you’re going to attract a complimentary person.
Maybe a depressive person will attract an angry person, or vice versa. Some combination like that. Either way, it’s going to be a dysfunctional, codependent relationship. That’s not what you want. What you want to do is say: “OK, I want an awesome relationship. That means I need to make myself as awesome as possible, so that when I find somebody else, that person will be on my level. Then we’re both going to be awesome.”
It’s that dancer analogy. If you want to be starring in an awesome ballet recital, you want to make yourself as awesome as possible. When you’re as awesome as possible, that means you’re going to be allowed to dance with the best dancers. You don’t want to be dancing with the worst dancers. You want to be dancing with the best. Work on yourself.
That doesn’t mean you’re wrong or unlovable, that you can’t be loved as you are right now. But you should be working on yourself. Improve! Improve yourself all the time, every day. You should be doing personal development, especially on your inner issues. Especially stuff that’s really triggering you, stuff that’s making you very emotional.
You can’t have a good choreography going if you’re extremely emotional, and you get very angry, depressed or fearful. Not going to happen. It’s going to lead to too many instabilities. So many instabilities that you’re not going to be able to choreograph.
Time For Yourself
The next point I’m going to make is: don’t spend too much time together. This is one of the problems that I think is an indicator of a codependent relationship. A codependent relationship couple will spend all their time together, because they’re so needing each other. They solve each other’s problems, temporarily. They’re both each other’s psychological crutches. They lean on each other and they’re always together, every day, every night, too much.
What happens is just simply because they’re together so much — you get sick of anything. You get too much of anything, even too much of the best thing, you’re going to get sick of it. I guarantee you, whatever you love in life, if I gave it to you every single minute of every single day, you would get sick of it, and bored of it. You would hate it. You would develop resistance to it.
It’s the same with your relationship. You’ve got to have other stuff that your life is about. If you’re a man especially, you should be out there working, having a life purpose. Your purpose should be your main thing in life, not your relationship. If you’re a woman, even there a case can be made that you should also have a purpose. I think you should have a purpose, but for women, their purpose is more relationship-oriented, more family-oriented. There’s more leeway for you there.
Still, you want to have stuff. You want to have friends, hobbies. Don’t be just all about being with your man. That is going to lead to problems. Don’t be with each other every single day, it’s too much. It’s going to get nauseating. You’re going to get on each other’s nerves. It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to be good.
Even the people you love the most, life your parents or siblings, if you spend a lot of time with them, you’re going to be at each other’s throats. It’s healthy to take breaks apart. It’s healthy to have vacations apart, do other stuff and not see each other for a week here, a week there, or only see each other once a week. That’s healthy. In fact, that’s going to keep some spark and excitement in your life.
If you have a long-term relationship, you’re going to get enough of each other anyway. If you’re going to be together for the rest of your lives, or just five or ten years, you’re going to know everything about each other,, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. There’s no rush to be with each other too much. Otherwise you’re going to exhaust everything, and then it’s going to end. It’s going to peter out.
The Truth Shall Set You Free
The next thing I’m going to say is honesty and truthfulness. You can’t have a healthy relationship that’s built on dishonesty and lies. What I encourage is, if you’ve got any skeletons in the closet — about your past, stuff that happened, stuff you’ve done, things that you’re ashamed of — you’ve got to just throw it all out there. The real risk is not that someone is going to discover your skeleton. The real risk is that they’re going to discover that you’ve been lying about your skeleton.
If you come out there right at the beginning of the relationship, and you lay your skeletons out and say “You know what, I’ve done some stupid things in my life that I’m not proud of. I’ve got these problems in my life. I’ve still got some things that I’m working through. Here’s where I’m really at. I’m not going to be fake with you.” You are honest about that. You disclose it.
Then you’ve got a foundation that something can be built on. There is a real risk that the person might see those skeletons and say “Well, I don’t like that”, and run away. That’s a risk you run, and the relationship splits apart, because you guys were not meant to be together.
If you try to lie about yourself, project some sort of fake image, make yourself out better than you are, what’s going to happen is — yes, you might actually preserve the relationship in the short run, but in the long run it’s going to cause so much tension and distrust that you’re going to ruin any possible chance of success.
You’re probably going to create a lot of turmoil and distrust between each other, animosity, resentment. It’s not going to be pretty. In the end, all those skeletons are going to come out. You’re not going to be able to hold your skeletons back. I don’t care. Maybe it’ll take a year, maybe two, but eventually everything is going to come out. It’s all going to be seen. You’re not going to be able to hide it. You’re not that good. You’re not that clever. The other person will see it.
Ask yourself: Do you really want to lie, so that you can keep it together just a little bit? Or do you want to be really honest and have a chance to set up something? I find that, in a relationship, you have to develop that ability to trust the other person and be honest to yourself. That’s tough. A lot of times it’s easy to not tell the truth.
A lot of times, you tell the truth, there’s emotional problems. You have to deal with the situation. It’s easier to just tell a white little lie, kind of gloss it over, and it never comes up. You say to yourself “Well, I’ll just deal with it if it ever comes up in the future.” The problem is, if that does happen and it does come up, the other person’s going to know that you didn’t tell them. That you weren’t honest.
That’s going to break trust. That’s going to rot the foundation of everything you guys have. For me personally, when I want to create a good relationship, I work on myself, because I say that I need to be strong enough as a man, to be honest even when it hurts to be honest. I need to be strong enough to be honest even when I really don’t want to. Even when it risks the whole relationship, I strive to be honest.
To me, the honesty is the most important part. I try to never lie in a relationship. I know that if I do, then I pretty much have to say to myself “OK, I’m lying in this relationship, but that pretty much means this relationship has no real long-term potential. I could lie right now, but if I do — who am I kidding, it’s not going to work.”
If I really value a relationship, I’ll really push myself to be honest, even when it’s really, really hard. I’ve done that. It’s hard. That’s why people don’t have successful relationships, because they do the easy stuff and it doesn’t work.
Give Unto Others
The last point I’m going to make is — a relationship is supposed to be about giving, not receiving. Don’t go into a relationship trying to receive. This is another sign of codependency. In a codependent relationship you want the other person, you want something from them. You want love, companionship, sex. You need stuff.
A nice interdependent relationship is you getting pleasure from giving. You like to give. You like to do nice things for the other person. You like to make them happy. You are there to share your knowledge or gift your sexuality. You’re there to share all that. Share your love. Give to the other person.
Don’t be about receiving. You will receive naturally as you give. It will fuel the relationship, it’ll create a lot of trust. It’ll create something really awesome and synergistic if you do that.
Those are my tips for how to create healthy relationships. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. I’m very curious about what you guys have to say about this and how your relationships have fit into this mould. Please also like and share this. Spread this around — we want more healthy relationships in the world. I think that will make a lot more people happy.
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