“Once upon a time a wandering beauty kissed a frog, transforming them both in a most magical way, they fell madly in love, knew exactly how to meet each other’s every need and lived happily ever after.”
We all know this story. It’s the fairytale as widespread as it is absurd, telling us that when we finally meet Prince or Princess Charming, they will magically know how to do everything “just right” for us and we won’t ever have to deal with the agony of being misunderstood or not attuned to ever again. The end.
Ah, if only!
Yet we know, both on an intellectual level and through the trials and tribulations of our lived experience that relationships are seldom what we read about in storybooks or see played out on the screen. Others might get it “just right” for us some of the time but more often there’s a lot of guesswork, negotiation, learning from mistakes and growing pains along the way. And there is an essential need for solid communication skills that many aspire to yet few actually master.
Something truly magical does happen in our relationships when we find the way to replace expectations and demands with specific requests and invitations. It gets even better when we learn we can make those in ways that foster rather than degrade connection . . . think enticing requests and sexy invitations that help you get your needs met while taking the burden off your partner to figure it all out! And for those master magicians out there, learning to cultivate healthy boundaries rather than overextending ourselves really can lead to our own happily ever after.
When you first consider the notion of teaching someone how to be in relationship with you it might sound strange or even impossible. For many, it brings up a fair amount of confusion and even anxiety since it’s not something we tend to have much experience with. As young ones we’re rarely given the chance to show people how to be in relationship with us. Instead we’re forced, even if lovingly, into ways of relating that primarily serve the adults around us. So it’s no wonder that as we become adults ourselves, we lack the skills, confidence and sense of permission to show people how we prefer to be related with.
The thing is, the people who want to be in relationship with us more often than not genuinely want to do right by us. Don’t you want to do that for the ones you love? Be it your partner or your parent, your best friend or your boss, it is entirely possible to cultivate a capacity for giving them your very own proverbial users manual, and there’s a really good chance they will deeply appreciate you for it! And you’re giving them the gift not only of your how-to guide, but also showing them the possibility that they can explore their own and share it with you. It’s a win-win all around and the gift that truly keeps on giving!