The very first thing that we bring to the table of relationship is ourselves, and along with that comes our ego. With our ego in play we tend to protect our own interests, often forestalling those of our partner. One of the keys to developing a cooperative relationship is communication. We always hear about how the lack of communication in relationship makes for difficult going, and there are more than enough folks fostering advice about how to better that communication. What we tend not to look at is why that communication falters in the first place.
It falters, in part, because we tell ourselves stories based on our assumptions, expectations and ideas about the way the world works. These assumptions, expectations and ideas form our model of the world. That model gives us our own unique and, not unpredictably selfish, perspective. This perspective is selfishness in its purest form; it stifles our ability to see things from another person's point of view, and almost demands the imposition of ego that can become so toxic.
Making clear, authentic statements about how we feel, what we're thinking or what we think you heard someone else say can help us get in front of that self-defeating storytelling.
Transparency - If you are prepared to say the words and ask the questions, you also need to be prepared to answer them. Cooperation conveys a level playing field, and that means no hidden agendas, no little deceptions, no little white lies and no sins of omission. Clarity is crucial because even the most subtle shift can quickly turn a playing field into a battlefield.
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