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Four Agreements for Healthy Relationships | From Chance to Wisdom; From Conflict to Connection

Jason McClain and Deseere' Cruz | The Love You've Always Wanted

The Four Agreements

From Chance to Wisdom. From Conflict to Connection.


In my experience, there are four agreements that are necessary as foundations for any healthy relationship regardless of the context. Meaning it doesn't matter if it's professional if it's friendly, or if it's sexual/intimate.

In fact the more intimate it is the more important I think these agreements are, but unfortunately - and paradoxically - the less likely someone is to actually be willing to have this conversation. I think that's for many reasons, most of them self-esteem issues are at their source. 

Let me explain: If we are attached to the hope that someone will like us to the degree that it becomes a need and therefore induces fear in ourselves, and we have scarcity around whether or not we will actually find somebody who is a fit, or whether or not we can find someone else if a relationship does not work out, we have a tendency to overlook things that we know are important to take care of because if the person doesn't like us then we may take that personally if it's the case of a self-esteem issue, or we don't want to set up any barriers to them liking us or connecting with us.

But in doing so, we skip over critical foundational steps - and virtually assure we end up with someone who is not a fit or find ourselves in a conflict without the agreement reality as to how we find our way out of it and get back into connection.

So we ignore wisdom in favor of the immediacy of connection. At its worst, of course, this borders on codependency and external validation and that a path that if you continue down that road leads to frustration, heartache, and worse.

However if we have an abundance mindset that there are plenty of people out there who might be a fit for us - and fit is more important than not being alone - and we understand that it's easier to find somebody who's a fit that it is to deal with the frustration and challenges and eventual heartbreak of someone who is not a fit, and we are internally validated in terms of our esteem for ourselves, then we choose wisdom over chance or … worse: predictably negative results.

The Agreements

Four Foundational Agreements For Healthy Relating

  1. We tell the truth and we hear the truth and we value truth over comfort
  2. We do not hold anyone accountable to agreements they have not made
  3. If we are upset, we make a request (for a new agreement)
  4. We accept that we are responsible for our own experience and our own emotions.
    1. Make no assumptions
    2. Don’t make anything up

Agreement 1:  Truth Over Comfort

The first agreement is that we tell the truth and we hear the truth and we value truth over comfort. 

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Becoming Your Own Guru | What Triggers are and How to Best Relate to Them

This is another excerpt from the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships from the section titled #RelationshipContinuum

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Given all this talk of responsibility and blame, how do we best relate to triggers?  What are they? How do they occur?

Triggers are most often referring to feelings of hurt or anger.  What I mean when I say “trigger” is that you lose the balance of your mind or that you “lose facility with self” in a disproportionate way.

Some people call it “going into red”. Some refer to it as a “trauma response”. Some refer to it as “pissing you off”, or what have you. There can be many names for it, but I think the disproportionate nature of it - where you say things you have to apologize for or simply can’t communicate responsibly - or simply yell or lash out or hurt the other person physically or verbally - is symptomatic of being “triggered”.

We usually speak about them in a relationship as if the other person is somehow to blame for our lack of emotional facility or rationality.  “They triggered me” or “they made me angry” or my personal favorite “you made me worry” we can be heard saying.

Yes. That’s right:  they put a gun to your head and made you fantasize horrible things may have happened to them./ When really all that was happening was their cell phone battery died. Or they fell asleep. But they made you worry.

What is the problem with this? 

Not only does this give our power away, but it also makes other people responsible for our feelings, which is simply not the case.

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Copyright

© Jason D McClain

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The Importance of Taking Time To Heal After A Breakup

The importance of taking time to heal after a breakup by Jason McClain

The most cringe-worthy statements I've heard on how to handle breakup grief:

From a woman: "The best way to get over a man is to get under another one."  From a man: "Just drown yourself in p*ssy until you forget her."

There are so many things off with this I am not even sure where to begin, but I will start with the fact that it will not help you get over them at all. It may numb the pain - it may anesthetize you - but so much of the gift and benefits in facing the pain will be lost.

It is important to grieve and give yourself time to heal. 

After each relationship, I recommend taking at least 6 months and stay single and celibate during that time. In the last 15 years, I have had periods of being single and celibate that were 14 months, 18 months, 22 months, and 7 months. None of them started out as intentional - other than knowing I needed to take time - and the duration was undetermined when those periods began, but there are several solid reasons for this.

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From Conflict to Connection

From conflict to Connection

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships:

From Conflict to Connection

If you are fighting, you should probably be fucking.

If you are a man in a hetero-normative relationship here is an inside tip: if you find yourself say “WTF?” because your woman is picking strange fights over little things, she’s not well-fucked. She may not even be aware that the static and tension in her body is her need to run sexual energy - and it needs to be about her pleasure, not yours.

The more feminine she is on the spectrum - from masculine to feminine - the more accurate this will be.

First, context is important as is the sequence. And there are a few dos and don’ts.

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Vulnerability and Sharing "Vulnerable" Things in Intimate Relationships

Vulnerability | Evolutionary Relationships

The most recent “Love of My Life” helped me see and understand something I was unaware of.

She would share something about her inner life with me and I would listen attentively, and when she was finished I would thank her for sharing it. I love understanding my lover at a deeper level so any time they share their experience I am definitely interested. On several occasions though, she would pause when finished, put a hand to my forearm and say, “that was really vulnerable for me to share”.

“Oh!” I would say. “Ok”. 

The reality is I have never really understood or agreed with the conversation around vulnerability in intimate conversations.  I understand it now.

But often, I will share something, and the person (usually the woman) I am sharing it with will acknowledge how vulnerable it was for me to share. Except it wasn’t. Why?  And, why not?

Let’s examine this together: 

If you feel something is “vulnerable to share” that means you are psychologically and emotionally exposing your underbelly to someone when you share it. Like when a cat reveals their tummy to you - and as a natural predator, they know they can be gutted so this is a sign of safety and trust. - Following the metaphor when someone shares something vulnerable for them it means they either feel safe enough with you, mustered enough courage to share it, were able to set aside their fears for long enough, or “white-knuckled it” though their fears to share it in spite of the fact that they are emotionally very sensitive about the matter and your response has the power to devastate them emotionally.

It also means they are dependent on you for your approval at this moment to feel okay about themselves or about the thing they are sharing. 

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