I love creating partnerships;
I love not having to bear the entire burden of the creative storytelling,
and when I have unions like with George Lucas and Peter Jackson,
it’s really great; not only do I benefit, but the project is better for it.
– Steven Spielberg
We create partnerships for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is for strength and resources. The bottom line is that we can do more when we have help.
We also create partnership for safety, for teamwork, and for love.
The need for a primary, loving relationship touches the very center of what it means to be human; it demands of us the courage to grow, stretch, learn and be vulnerable. It is only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we become open to giving and receiving love and help honestly.
The willingness to be vulnerable is scary because we risk being hurt. There seems to be limitless possibilities for rejection, criticism, disappointment, lies, and loss, and the depth of feelings you may experience can be overwhelming. Loving makes some people feel out of control.
The struggle to achieve this brand of partnership is the force at work, in novels and movies and poetry. It is at work all around you. Everyone wants to be partners with somebody, but how many successful partnerships do you see? Why is it so hard to achieve?
Ask yourself what a loving relationship looks like. How does it happen? What makes it work and how do you create one?
- LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
It takes courage to make your own happiness your priority in life, but when you do what feels right for you, you build personal integrity. Sometimes it will make others happy, and sometimes it won’t.
Being true to yourself does not mean being self-centered or narcissistic. One of the greatest detriments to any relationship comes from expecting others to fill your void. The results are disastrous. There are enough hurdles to partnership without adding the strain of your neediness. When your nurture a loving relationship with yourself, you have built the foundation for creating other partnerships.
- ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEARS
Partnerships tap into your most basic fears: loss of freedom and loss of control. They also open opportunities for rejection, betrayal, entrapment, manipulation, and worst of all, unrequited love. If you associate fear with partnership, go through the following exercise:
- Imagine what you are afraid of. What does it look like and feel like? Give the fear a shape, form, color and texture. Do you feel more than one fear? If so, see if you can discover the basic fear that supports the others fears.
- Think positively about the fear. What does it have to teach you? Accept the possibility that you may have created the fear yourself. Do you create this fear to protect yourself from something?
- How would you like your vision of an ideal partnership to look and feel? What images and emotions come to mind? What circumstances exist? What words would you use to describe an ideal partnership?
- Move into and surround yourself with your ideal vision. Use your imagination. Open your heart. Create the vision as though it were a movie; then imagine yourself as the star in the movie.
- Write down in detail your definition of an ideal partnership. If you become aware of any resistance, acknowledge it as fear, and keep writing.
- ACCEPT PEOPLE AS THEY ARE
A partnership is a team, and the key to teamwork is synergy; the sum is greater than the parts. When two people form a commitment, a metaphorical third party is formed, which needs as much nurturing as does each of the parts separately.
Respect the needs of the individuals in your partnership. Take the time to discover their core values and make sure their values are honored and supported. As relationships change, so do needs. Be observant, ask questions and go out of your way to make sure your partner’s values are fulfilled and you will experience the magic of a value-based relationship.
- TELL THE TRUTH
It’s easier to confide your deepest upsets and hurts to your hairdresser than it is to the one we most need to communicate with, but without the courage to risk honest communication, there can be no quantum leaps.
Most of us don’t want to make the people we work with or the people we love angry or disappointed. We’re afraid to be rejected or betrayed or foolish. So, we let the little things go. However, not communicating what may appear meaningless has what I call the “Accumulation Effect.” Pressure builds as the little frustrations and hurts accumulate until there is an explosion; anger, withdrawal, depression betrayal. The irony is that whatever finally caused the explosion, is almost never the real reason.
Reasons are stored up from the past, but the argument alone can permanently damage the partnership. All this frustration and unhappiness could have been avoided had there been healthy communication.
Power struggles in a partnership are inevitable. Each person is a separate entity with separate beliefs, values and points of view. Confrontations are an integral part of the dynamics of any meaningful, committed team. This is especially true as a paradigm shifts concerning the evolving roles of men and women in today’s society. Points of view often conflict.
The healthy solution to power struggles is communication; for all partners to express what they want and need and to confront the provocative situation immediately. Negotiation is the solution.
Experience the fear and go for honest communication.
NEVER blame! State what you feel. Never suppress the little things or they will turn into big things.
- RENEW PARTNERSHIPS ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS
When a partnership is new, everyone spends a great deal of time communicating. We treat potential partners with respect, listening to their problems and sharing solutions. Then something peculiar begins to take place.
As relationships mature, we tend to expect certain behavior. We criticize more; show appreciation less, anger more. We are less patient, and we spend less time listening. We forget what brought us together in the first place. The arrogance of assumption sets in. We believe our partners will be there forever, regardless of what we do or say.
Partnerships take work. Make it a daily practice to think of the goals which brought you together. Treat your partners as best friends. Respect and value that friendship on a consistent basis. A garden must be cultivated to grow. Cultivation of relationships is just as vital to keep partnerships alive and flourishing.
Choose a partnership that is important to you. It could be your marriage, your relationships with your children or your boss, your best friends or your parents.
IMAGINE—right now—what you can do to enhance your partnerships.
The great marriages are partnerships.
It can’t be a great marriage without being a partnership.
-Helen Mirren, Actress
Originally published on JamesMapes.com