Have you ever gotten into an argument because you were upset?
Maybe someone said something that hurt your feelings. Or maybe you were just in a bad mood and someone looked at you wrong. This is a classic example of reacting based on emotions rather than values.
When you react based on feelings, things generally don’t go well.
There are generally two ways to act or react. You can act based on your values or you can act based on emotions or feelings. The latter will almost always trip you up.
Reaction based decisions are commonly known as knee jerk reactions. Knee jerk reactions are a major cause for misunderstandings in any type of relationship, whether it’s business, personal, or romantic. They are caused when we assume we know all the facts of a situation, but don’t take the time to actually find out what’s real and what isn’t.
There have been countless situations that I have encountered and jumped to a conclusion because I didn’t dig deeper and asking questions. More times than not, if I had only asked the question, “What else could this mean?” I’d have saved myself a lot of worry, stress and a whole lot of arguments.
Just because he (or she) makes you feel good, doesn’t mean he’s the one!
Just let that sink in for a moment. The reality of life is that there will be a lot of people that will walk into your life and make you feel good, but for one reason or another they’re not a healthy fit for you.
It’s heart breaking to see so many people get sucked into a relationship just because they get some warm fuzzy feelings from someone. It happens time and time again. Why? Because they are acting or reacting based on emotion and not on their values.
They don’t step back out of the emotion, infatuation, or warm fuzzy feelings to actually figure out if this is really a good fit. If it’s not a good fit it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad or undesirable person. It just means that they’re not the right one for you.
On the other hand, maybe you have a great relationship going.
Have you ever been in a really good relationship and then all of a sudden you find yourself in a serious argument? It may be an argument over something important or it might be over something really silly.
The next thing you know you’re saying, “I’ve had it, I’m out of here!” Nothing is resolved, feelings are hurt, and no one wants to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” You may patch things up for a while but deep down you’re both still hurt.
Finally, you say, “This just isn’t working for me” and end the relationship. As you look back, you realize that you gave up a pretty decent relationship over an argument that wasn’t really important. You may even recognize now that your argument was a knee jerk reaction to something that was said or done.
You must dig deeper than just feelings.
This is where your values come in. When you take emotions out of the equation, you set yourself up to make healthier decisions for yourself.
When you step back from the emotions you can think more clearly, make more rational decisions, and eliminate so much drama from your life.
How do you do that when it comes to relationships? You create your Must Have list. This is a list of the non-negotiable characteristics you want in your next relationship. These traits must be stated in a positive format. For more information on how to create an effective Must Have list pick up a copy of my book, Dating Backward.
I know for many of you this sounds redundant because I harp on it regularly. I do this because every day I talk to people about getting focused on what they want. When I ask them to share with me, they usually start rattling off some generic thoughts like honesty, loyalty, loving, kind, etc., etc.
Then I ask them to show me their list and they say, “Oh, it’s all in my head.” I just look at them with my head cocked and a look of amazement. You spend more time planning a vacation than thinking about and searching for the right relationship.
And you wonder why you’re lonely! You wonder why you have so much drama in your life! You don’t really know what the heck you’re looking for.
Therefore, you spend so much time in the wrong relationship and then finally give up in exasperation. You made a knee jerk reaction to get into a relationship. Your decision was based on emotion rather than logic and fact.
You were lonely. He said all the right things. She was cute and she smiled at you. One date leads to another, and another, and another. Odds are you were in bed by the 8th date…if you waited that long. (Another knee jerk reaction.)
Things are okay but they aren’t great. You’re not really lonely anymore. You can say you’re dating someone. You enjoy each other’s company…for the most part, but there are things that each of you does that annoys that crap out of the other.
In the early infatuation stages of a relationship you overlook these things. After a while they really start to bug you. Is any of this starting to sound familiar? Maybe it’s the story of your life.
The reality is, most of your relationship decisions are being made on unreliable emotions, or knee jerk reactions. If you really gave serious thought to what you were about to do, you’d probably make some seriously different choices.
That’s where the power of your Must Have list comes in. You can step back from the infatuation and raging hormones and realistically assess whether someone is a great match for you or just someone that will do for the time being.
Stop wasting time in the wrong relationship. You need to learn to recognize whether someone has potential within the first 30 days of dating. It’s easy enough to stop making knee jerk reactions when you recognize them for what they are…irrational, unhealthy decisions based on emotions rather than values.
I sincerely hope you’ll think about what I’ve shared with you today and use this information to help you be more proactive and successful in your dating life.
Join me next week for “So, your divorce is final. Now what?”