“It was like coming home, but to no home I’d ever known.” – Sam, (Tom Hanks), talking about when he first touched the hand of his now deceased wife, the love of his life, from the movie, Sleepless in Seattle
It took me a while to write this book, even though it’s not long. I thought about it a lot and edited and re-edited it for content and clarity – to convey what I wanted it to convey in a logical, readable, understandable, and helpful way. It also took me a long time to learn this stuff, and some of the learning was painful. Hopefully, I’ll save you some time and pain.
You’ve probably violated some or most of the Laws of Relationships and consequently had at least bumps in your relationships, possibly much worse. You probably believe that you’re not doing it quite right and are motivated and ready for a change. Hence, unlike my kids, you might actually heed my advice. I know I’ve violated some of these Laws in my relationships, and I wish I’d had someone lay this stuff out for me long ago. Would it have kept me from making all the relationship mistakes that I made? Probably not, but I could have seriously reduced their number and severity. Hopefully you will too.
But let’s be clear about this: reading this book is not enough to help you avoid those mistakes. Ditto for reading AND understanding – still not enough. Reading, understanding, AND understanding at a deep, visceral level – getting warm, but still not enough. So what is needed? Well, as we’ve mentioned before, change is extremely difficult to achieve. You must be highly motivated to change to be able to change, and that’s what’s needed here: CHANGE! So you’ve got to read and reread and truly understand this material. Then you have to think about it – a lot. You’ve got to practice it as much as possible under low stress situations until you get good at it. Then you’ll be ready to put it into practice in real world, real relationship, high stress, very emotional situations. Chances of getting it right all the time at first are essentially nil, just because change is so hard. But don’t get discouraged – keep trying.
You’re wired a certain way and that, plus the sum total of your life’s experience, has brought you to where you are now – the person you are today. To change that is extremely difficult – close to impossible. But if you think in terms of small steps, and don’t get down on yourself because you’re not an instant success or because you can’t do the impossible (e.g., change your partner), and just keep trying, improvement will occur. Is that good enough? Well, it seems to me that any change in a positive direction is a good thing.
My heartfelt suggestions:
· Don’t give up. Keep trying, even if there are setbacks or no positive results some days.
· Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be others who have easier or better relationships (real or only perceived) than you. That’s not the point.
· Measure your progress in small steps. It’s an ongoing, lifelong process, and like the person who keeps going only half the distance to his goal and thus can never truly get there, your goal is an elusive one. But close counts in relationships.
· Remember that you have lots of company in this endeavor.
· Remember also that if it were easy, anyone could do it.
Be gentle with yourself and good luck.