Love & War, Part II
“Lesson Four: Maximize efficiency (in weakening the adversary).” Maximize your assets. What are the most positive qualities you bring to a relationship? If you develop your talents and attributes while acknowledging and working on your shortcomings, you will draw like-minded individuals to you. If you put your best “out there,” it will come back to you. Negativity breeds negativity. Disarm (a potential partner) with charm.
In very basic terms, this can mean simply dressing and looking your best your best on a first meeting and dates. However, don’t go to extremes. Ladies, there’s such a thing as too much make-up. Gentlemen, think subtle when applying aftershave. If you know your boyfriend’s favorite dessert is brownies, bake him a pan every now and again (my best friend swears this is how her mother landed her father [Betty Crocker with almond extract]). If you know your girlfriend loves tulips (hint), buy her a bouquet (or take her to Holland if you have the means). Knowing what makes you special (and what makes another person feel special) are important components in beginning and maintaining successful relationships.
“Lesson Five: Proportionality should be a guideline in war…” and in love. This lesson also applies to reciprocity. If one person is more invested in the other in a relationship, most likely, it won’t work. Additionally, meet kind with kind. Many relationship problems arise when one or both partners overreact and act out in extreme ways. If your partner has done something that angers you, before blowing your top, take a step back and think. Was the hurt intentional? Is he or she aware that what they did was hurtful? Is your first tendency to communicate (in language your partner can understand) or to retaliate?
Gentle emotional confrontation and communication can be extremely difficult for most, but the alternatives aren’t pretty nor do they foster long lasting, healthy relationships. Saying nothing leads to the time bomb effect. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick... and the next thing you know, you’ve blown up because he doesn’t put the cap on the toothpaste. Alternately, when you retaliate instead of communicate, hurt and anger build up like emotional debris that will crush a relationship.
“Lesson Six: Get the data.” Know the facts. Don’t make assumptions. If you do make assumptions, be prepared to apologize if you’re wrong. Even if you think you know what your partner is thinking and feeling, why not ask? Very few of us are mind readers. Alternately, if something is bothering you, don’t expect your partner to magically intuit the problem; speak up.
“Lesson Seven: Belief and seeing are both often wrong.” Oftentimes, there’s more to people and situations than what's on the surface. For example, the more agitated and anxious I am inside, the calmer my outward appearance. This is true for many. There are those who scream and yell when they’re not very upset; it’s just their communication style. Whilst there are those who can appear serene and quiet, yet be in a terrific rage. There are times when another person can have romantic interest, but be afraid to act upon it or show it. Instead, they appear indifferent and uninterested (although, sometimes they actually are).
The criminal justice system knows how unreliable “eye witness” reports can be. Question what you think you know. Develop the capacity for discriminating between that which you can take at face value and that which requires more analysis. In other words, ask questions, even if something seems obvious. Pay attention to non-verbal communication. Actions speak louder then words. Be thoughtful in your approach to relationships and life.
Hope to finish the final lessons next week. Check back then.