How do you feel about the word “relationship”? Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like a small kitten playing with a ball of string, or does it have a negative, yucky feeling to it, like a slimy piece of spaghetti that has been left in the cooking water too long?
It can be a loaded word….have you ever said to someone you were close to “Honey, we need to talk about our relationship….”. Did they leap up, excitedly saying “Yes, we certainly do”, smiling and fist pumping in the air or did their eyes glaze over and did they groan in a low moaning voice? I know what kind of reaction I usually get! ; )
If you take a look at the word “relationship”, you might see that there is an implication that a relationship is a thing, or as we call it in NLP, it has been nominalized. Nominalized? Time for a brief grammar lesson…..nominalization is when you take a verb, or action word, and turn it into a noun or thing, something that would have substance or be something that you could put your hands on.
So let’s look at that. In order to make the word “relationship”, we have turned the verb “relating” into a noun. It now has gone from a word that moves (relating), into a stagnant word, quite like a lot of relationships in the world, don’t you think?? : )
We stop thinking of how we “do” that action and see it as a static noun. Can I hear you saying “….but, but….I always work on my relationship”?
Show me how you do that…..do you take out a series of wrenches and work on it like you would if you were tuning up a motorbike….
See…..you can put your hands on a motorbike and work on it if you are so inclined.
What does this mean to you? If you approach your relationships from a different perspective, one in which you are aware of how you are relating, you are in a position of power because when you recognize that you are relating (action), it is easier to evaluate and make the changes that you need to so that you can be relating in a manner that works for you and gets you the results you want. If you are getting the results you want, great, keep it up. If you are not getting the results that you want, then it is time for a change, isn’t it?
Am I saying that you should never use the word relationship? Absolutely not! We use words like these to define abstract ideas and to share common ground with others. It has it’s place, this is just a different way of looking at your life.
Here is a simple, easy way to look at how we define a relationship. Imagine, if you will, an umbrella we call relationship, just like this……
Ask yourself these questions about a relationship that you have concerns about:
- When I am with __________(fill in the blank), how am I relating?
- What tone do I use when I am speaking to ____?
- What type of body language am I using?
- How am I looking at _____?
- Do I scowl , frown or smile?
- How do they relate back to me?
- What are they saying?
- How are they saying it?
- How am I feeling?
What results am I getting from this style of relating?
So, let’s revisit that common scenario of wanting to talk to a significant person about your relationship. Imagine, if you will, saying “Honey, I would like to talk about how we are relating to each other”. How does that sound to you? Try it and see….you might be surprised!! Focus on the actions that you take and the way you think about how you are relating to others…..including yourself.
Remember, the relationship you have with you is important and knowing yourself is easier than you think!
“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner
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