Although there is no proven formula that applies to all relationships, embracing a few key principles in your heart will reduce conflict and enhance the flow of love. These principles are valuable in friendships and business relationships, as well as in families, marriages, and intimate partnerships.

1) My relationships are based on equality.
Despite inevitable differences in financial productivity, educational background, physical beauty, or IQ, your deep and unassailable self-talk must be, I am not above you or beneath you. We are different expressions of the same underlying being and, as such, are of equal value.

2) My relationships are mirrors of myself.
If there is discord in a relationship, ask yourself how you may be contributing to the conflict. Seeing others as mirrors of yourself empowers you to change someone over whom you have control (you), rather than becoming frustrated with your inability to change someone else. The real secret is that when you transform yourself, the world around you cannot help but change.

3) My relationships have room for change.
Everything is continuously changing, including your thoughts, feelings, and molecules. Accept that change is a part of life. Evolution calls upon us to adapt to change with creativity. Look for ways your relationship can accommodate and celebrate the inevitable changes that life serves up, while seeking to maintain the connection and commitment that transcends the field of change.

4) In my relationships, I let the past be past.
Make a commitment to not bring up past transgressions when dealing with a current issue. Reopening old wounds during a disagreement or argument seldom supports healing, reconciliation, or transformation. Practice recapitulation on a regular basis and allow each day to unfold unencumbered by remains of the past.

5) In my relationships, I choose being happy over being right.
People disagree because they believe that their point of view is correct – or at least better than another perspective – and it’s rare that someone changes an entrenched position as a result of vigorous debate.

The alternative is to look beyond the obvious differences and seek common ground. People move into defensive positions when they feel that their point of view is being disparaged. See if you can take a small step in the direction of the other person’s position and ask for a similar level of compromise. Interrupt the pattern of conflict by acknowledging your differences while seeking creative solutions that can enable both of you to get your needs met.

6) I nurture my relationships through the power of attention, affection, and time.
Whatever we put our attention on grows stronger in our lives. Therefore, if you want a relationship to flourish, you must be willing to nurture it with your time and attention. The power of attention cannot be underestimated. It is like fertilizer to relationships, whether the object of attention is a baby, your pet, your partner, or your friend.

7) In my relationships, I am prepared to communicate my expectations and negotiate the price.
Your skill in negotiating what you’re prepared to give and what you expect in return determines the success or failure of your relationships. The more consciously you can identify and communicate your expectations, the more likely you are to create a healthy, evolving bond.

David Simon, M.D. is the Co- Founder, CEO and Medical Director of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Dr. Simon is dedicated to catalyzing the evolution of the prevailing health care system into a healing system that encompasses the emotional, spiritual as well as physical health of the individual. His new book Free to Love, Free to Heal: Heal Your Body by Healing Your Emotions comes out on June 25, 2009.

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