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The Top Two Ways To Instantly Kill A Relationship
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Relationships are something that we all have in common, and the experiences within them are similar. Whether the relationship is deep and intimate, or just casual, the events that trigger a break down within it are the same. While the surface elements of the dispute may be very different, the foundational elements come from beliefs that we all share.

 The number one way to end a relationship quickly is to take things personally. I wrote a whole article on this subject that can be found in the Article Archieves on this page, and I suggest you read it in conjunction with this one. I want to expand on that article a bit here with reference to relationship bashing. Taking something personally is like looking in the mirror, hating what you see, and blaming the mirror. Taking something personally can range from someone calling you a name and cursing you to indirectly doing something you don’t like thinking it was aimed at you.

 I hear you saying, ‘Shouldn’t I take it personally if someone calls me a name?’ Well, you could, and most people would. But let’s examine that situation more closely. Why did the person call you a name? Was it something you said? Were you having an argument? There are a thousand reasons, but usually the reason is that something triggered a subconscious memory in the other person and he/she reacted from it. So it was not about you at all except that you triggered a belief for the other person.

 In the ‘milder’ example given above that someone did something you didn’t like thinking it was aimed at you is a matter of ‘projection’, which is the number two top reason relationships crumble. Whatever occurred in the above example, you first projected your own thoughts and emotions about what the person did or said, then took it personally. Of course, whenever you project your thoughts and feelings about what is happening, you will take it personally. They work together in making you look like a victim.

 There are a million scenarios that could demonstrate how taking something personally and projection can ruin a relationship. The person that seems to be the ‘perpetrator’ has no clue (usually) that you took something that occurred personally. The person stuck with ‘hurt’ feelings is you making up some scenario in your mind to justify your emotional hurt. Before you walk away from a situation that made you feel like a victim you need to look closely at what happened.

 One extraordinary method used to question beliefs is given by Bryon Katie www.thework.com/thework.asp#1 about judging ‘your neighbor’ whomever that might be. There is a worksheet to fill in and then ask the four questions about it: 1. Is this true? 2. Can you absolutely know this is true? 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? 4. Who would you be without that thought? Then there is what she calls “turn it around” which enables you to see the situation in the opposite way. I suggest you go to her site and go through the process. It is amazing!

 In case you didn’t quite understand what I mean by ‘projection’, I will explain it in more detail here. Projection is when you see or hear something and then make up in your mind what is happening or just happened. I used to project, and sometimes still do, about what other drivers were doing when I was in traffic. Someone would cut me off, or pull out in front of me, or run a red light, and all sorts of other traffic related events. I am sure you too have experienced them. What I finally realized is that I can’t possibly know why a person did what he/she did unless I asked the person. All I was doing was making up reasons in my mind. That is projection. We do it all the time.

 When projection occurs it is usually followed by taking the event personally. By taking something personally I mean that you feel that whatever happened was purposely or directly aimed at you, making you a victim. Whether it was or not is not what this article is about. How you respond to it is what is important. You can’t honestly answer the second question above, “Can you absolutely know this is true?” with a yes unless you can read the person’s mind. All you can know is what you projected about what happened.

 If we could all refrain from projecting and taking things personally, the way we feel about each other would change from distrust, resentment, hate, and all sorts of negative emotions, to trust, love, and a meaningful connection with each other. It seems so hard for people to do that. I see it over and over everywhere I go. Maybe because I rarely project anymore and haven’t taken anything personally for decades, I notice it more than most people do. But it is something that absolutely has to happen if we are to have peace in our world.

 Begin to monitor your thoughts and reactions to things that occur in your daily life. Take notes or journal about how you respond both in thoughts and actions to those events. Use Byron Katie’s ‘the work’ when experiences point to a projection or taking things personally, and see how it changes your response to those events. Be one of the first to leave behind the beliefs that cause you to project and take something personally, and step into a bright, new world of love and peace.

 

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