Improve Important Relationships With Two Questions – Insights from the Wilderness #45

Click here to listen to Dick read this NuggetHave you ever wanted to improve the relationship with someone important to you but weren’t sure how to do it?

All of us have behaviors and personality traits that are very difficult for us to see in ourselves, but others can see them clearly.

So how can we help them to comfortably share those insights with us?

If we ask them to tell us what’s wrong with us, and what we need to change about ourselves, they will probably be uncomfortable and unwilling to be honest because they won’t want to hurt our feelings.

On the other hand, if they are willing to be honest, and some people can be very enthusiastically honest, it is probably going to be difficult to hear what they have to say without getting defensive or trying to explain or make excuses for our self.

I was reading Michael Dowd’s great book “Thank God For Evolution” recently and came across one of the more helpful relationship tips that I’ve seen in a long time. It makes getting honest feedback, and learning deep insights about ourselves, not only very easy, but actually fun.

You simply ask them two simple questions.

Question #1) Tell them you want an honest answer and then ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the quality of our relationship”?

Most people are probably going to give you a reasonably high score. Because they won’t risk hurting your feelings they will probably tell you about an 8 or 9.

The number doesn’t make any difference.

What is important is they have opened the door to your second question.

Question #2) “What could I do, or what would it take, to get our relationship to a 10”?

You’re not asking them to be critical, you’re simply asking them for some positive suggestions on how you could improve your relationship with them.

Be very careful not to become defensive, or ask them to justify their comments, just take in the data and then sincerely thank them for their help.

If you are willing to do this regularly with those who are close to you, it won’t be long before your self-awareness will dramatically improve.

Remember, we can only change those things about ourselves that we know about.

Self-awareness and authentic spiritual growth is the same subject. As we grow in self-awareness, our ability to be more loving and compassionate toward others grows.

If you want to create happy, loving relationships with those close to you, the most powerful thing you can do is develop personal self-honesty and embrace a willingness to intentionally become more self-aware.


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2 Responses to Improve Important Relationships With Two Questions – Insights from the Wilderness #45

  1. Donald F. Megnin, PhD May 25, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Excellent concept, Dick. Your reference to Thank God for Evolution is also one of the books that more people should read. It’s amazing how individuals take the words of ancient texts so literally without any concept of why or how these “fables” or ideas were written. With a population that was almost completely illiterate, unschooled, living a relatively short period of time in their life-span they accepted as stated or written as “absolute truth” just because their “leaders” stated it, wrote it and proclaimed it as the “Word of God”!

    • DickRauscher May 25, 2011 at 11:10 am #

      I agree. Dowd’s book Thank God for Evolution is an excellent book. I recently finished a Stonyhill course entitled A Spirituality for the Christian Church in the 21st Century that I will be offering to churches for their adult education classes. I used some of Dowd’s material from his book in the course. Until our mainline religions find a way to evolve their theologies and beliefs for the modern world, the conflict and violence we see in the world will continue.
      Thanks for commenting on the blog site. It give others an opportunity to see our conversation and join in if they are interested.
      Thanks for your on-going support for the work we are doing here at Stonyhill. It’s much appreciated.

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