For all of the formulas and words of advice and techniques and tips and artifice that have been published on good relationships, these are the 4 most basic and by far the most important.

1. You
2. The other person
3. Knowledge
4. Understanding

A good relationship, like almost anything, else is the result of dedication, practice, and desire and these are the 4 things to which you must diligently apply your dedication, practice, and desire.

Sometimes I’m surprised at how easily these 4 things are overlooked when people begin to take a hard look at relationships with an eye toward improving them. Without you and the other person in the first place there is no relationship.

I find when I’m working with people that this is really difficult for them to grasp. There is a “you” and it makes up a lot of the relationship. And that “you” is very complex, very subtle, with considerable nuance and – to put it bluntly – very picky. There’s also the “other person” who is just as complex, subtle, nuanced, and certainly, in their own way, every bit as picky as you.

Most people invest very little time, energy or thought into really considering or thinking about themselves or other people “in a relationship”. Think about that for a moment. There is a difference between being in a game and being in a relationship. There is a difference between being in a job and being in a relationship. In both of those cases, what usually matters (at least as far as most people are concerned) are the specific skills. Either you can hit the ball or not. Either you can sell cars or not.

In a relationship what matters is your ability to engage the other person successfully. But that’s no easy task. Here’s a little bit of knowledge for you. There’s an old saying that in any relationship there are six people. The me that I am, the me that I think I am, and the me that you think I am. Then there’s the you that you are, the you that you think you are, and the you that I think you are. Pretty crowded huh?

Again, I ask you to stop and think for a moment. Have you personally given any thought to looking at yourself that way? Your actual being in the world is somewhat different from the way others think you are. You can pretty easily verify this just by polling people who know you. You won’t get the same description from everybody. Everybody will have a somewhat different take on you. Have you really thought about what this means?

Now, ponder for a moment that the same is true for the other person. If you both can recognize this fundamental truth about yourselves and each other you will have taken a big step toward creating a lot more space in your relationship for each other.

If you can sit together and talk about these different selves in a conversational manner in which you are genuinely curious about yourselves, that very act can provide you both with knowledge about you and the other person that can significantly improve your relationship.

If you can let go enough of your own selves enough to listen to the what the other person says there is the possibility of understanding. So very often when the other person is talking instead of listening we are talking inside ourselves. Planning our response. That’s not listening.

When you can “hear” the knowledge that another person shares with you that’s the most important opportunity you will ever have to understand them. And when you understand another person that’s when you will have the most powerful opportunity to accept them. Or not.

This is what relationships are about. Knowing and understanding yourself, the other person, and the relationship in which you are engaged. Whether you accept the person or not, whether you like the other person or not, these are both kind of irrelevant. If you do, well that’s fine as the relationship will be more pleasant but those aren’t necessary to having a relationship nor are they necessary to improving a relationship.

You, the other person, knowledge, and understanding; these are the basic fundamentals of any relationship. If you take away any one of those there will no longer be a relationship.

In the arena of understanding relationships as I’ve described here Human Design is one of the most powerful tools available because it provides an objective and detailed foundation for understanding things about yourself and another person that we generally don’t think about at all.

Author's Bio: 

I’ve simply been utterly fascinated with human behavior and development for most of my life. I’ve been driven to explore every branch of human study that deals with humans. I’ve studied self realization, human potential, oracular tradition, bio-energetics, religious studies, philosophy, yoga, psychology, cultural anthropology, I Ching, Tarot, Astrology, Zen, Taoism, Sufism, Hinduism.

I’ve not only read considerable amounts of material from these and other disciplines, I’ve also practiced them and have had the opportunity, in many instances, to spend time with some of the giants in the fields including Alan Watts, Stanley Kellerman, Sri Swami Satchidananda, Carl Rogers, Allan Anderson and Richard Farson to name a few. I’ve been affiliated with the Kairos Institute of Rancho Santa Fe, the Aquarian Workshop and Metanoia – all of which were very serious players in the human potential movement.

Currently I am a practicing Human Design Analyst and transformation coach who helps others rediscover their own truth and mastery. It is my design to awaken others to their own individuality and to empower them to become themselves. In addition to my work with Human Design, I am an internet consultant, serve as the editor for the International Leadership Forum’s online publications: ILF Digest and ILF Post and am a staff member of Western Behavioral Sciences Institute.
I am a licensed Human Design Analyst and transformation coach who helps others rediscover their own truth and mastery. You can visit my site at Adaptive Human Design. Human Design reveals the specifics of your core, wired behaviors. It clearly and precisely defines your own personal, natural strategies for decision making, for bonding and much more. Once you rediscover who you are you will find that you can trust yourself and then life becomes effortless.

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