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How To Win In (Almost) Every Relationship

If there is one thing that has made my practice different from most others over the years, it has been the holistic approach we take to wellness.

Like I’ve said so many times here on the blog, wellness is more than a straight spine and healthy food choices. Wellness is when your whole life is in balance – body, mind, spirit, relationships, and more. Our motto here at Fundamental Health Solutions is “move right, eat right, think right, live right.” We are multi-faceted beings and every facet is important.

People sometimes ask me why I spend one of my three articles each week to talk about our thought life, faith, and mindsets. My answer is that each of the other parts is incomplete on its own. We need all the parts in balance to be whole.

There’s another part of our multi-faceted life that I want to talk about today, because it’s one of the biggest areas of stress and pressure in our lives.

It’s not eating junk food (you already know better than to do that). It’s not lifting too much weight at the gym.

It’s our relationships.

Are Your Relationships Making You Sick?

Stress is destroying our bodies and minds, but it comes mostly from our relationships. Family stress is relationship stress. Job stress is relationship stress. After all, what are you afraid of at work? Missing a deadline, dealing with a pushy boss, avoiding obnoxious coworkers – those are all relationship issues because they involve your interactions with other people.

Go ahead – try to name one work stress that doesn’t involve people in some way. Even equipment stress is ultimately people stress because that malfunctioning piece of equipment is preventing you from doing a good job and could get you in trouble with…who?


I want to take this week’s “Think Right Thursday” to give you a couple of tips I’ve learned to help you win with relationships. I won’t say I’ve mastered these by any means, but I’m trying to make consistent progress. I’ve been divorced for a few years now, and it stinks, but it showed me where I was lacking in people skills. Thankfully, I’ve invested time into developing my people skills, and I’m not who I was when it all fell apart.

You Can Change Your Life Right Now

Let me share with you a few things I’ve learned:

Take responsibility for your part of the problem.

In any relationship problem, both people have some fault. If someone has an unreasonable expectation, the other person may not have set clear expectations up front. Everyone has a responsibility to communicate clearly and reasonably. At the same time, each person has a right to be heard and honored. You can’t go through life being a “victim” because of other people’s choices. If you are constantly being taken advantage of, ask yourself why you continue to hang around people who do that. A friend of mine told me that, when his kids are fighting, he doesn’t ask “what happened,” he asks each person, “what did you do wrong?” Each child has to own up to his own bad choice without blaming the other. If there is conflict, everyone has a part in it, even if that part is just that they allowed themselves to be mistreated until they blew up. Each child has to acknowledge that they have a responsibility to make it right. They confess without blaming and they clear it up. I love that.

Taking responsibility (even when you don’t think you’re wrong) also takes the pressure off the other person to defend herself. It defuses a heated confrontation and allows people to let their guard down and take their own responsibility. A gentle answer turns away wrath.

Remember that no one else sees the situation with your eyes.

Ask questions to find out how the other person is feeling. Be sincere. You may be really hurting them and don’t even know it because you don’t equate your action with their pain. A patient of mine said she screamed at her husband once because he made a joke she didn’t like. She knew she had over-reacted, but it hurt so badly because it reminded her of a mean comment her father had repeated to her when she was a child. Of course, her husband could not have known that or meant anything by it, but it triggered a very deep wound in her heart and she reacted to that. Be open and honest with your expectations and needs, but always allow other to do the same.

Treat people with honor and dignity.

They have the same Creator you have, and that Creator says they are precious to Him, even if you don’t see it. They are not mistakes, and they are not lower on some totem pole than you are. They have gifts and talents that are different from – and possibly complementary to – yours. They may be strong where you have a weakness (yes, you do have weaknesses). Everyone has value, and everyone wants to be treated with honor. Speak well of others, whether they are nearby or not. If you are known as a gossip, nobody will ever trust you, but if you are known as someone who speaks highly of others, the world will open up to you.

Keep in mind that everyone has different goals, desires, ambitions, and values.

I have friends who are motivated by money, fast cars, and big houses. I have other friends who think that lifestyle is shallow and stupid. We all have our own motivations in life. Some people want to make a difference in the world, while others want to be left alone. Some people think the government should control everything, while others want the government to stay out of their affairs. Some people are very organized, efficient, systematic, and linear…and then there is everyone else. The key is NOT to fix other people, but to respect and honor them. We want to bring out the BEST in each other, not mold each other into our own image. If you can’t treat others with respect, you can’t lead. Period. People won’t follow you if they think you don’t value them because they have different values.

Get Yourself Out of the Way

If you want to be successful with people, you have to care about what motivates them, even if it doesn’t motivate you. I love date pecan coconut nut balls, but when I go fishing with friends out in the Atlantic, I don’t bait the hook with date pecan coconut nut balls. Why not? Because fish are not interested in date pecan coconut nut balls. No, I bait the hook with what motivates them, whether it’s live shrimp, worms, or minnows. I don’t personally care for any of these, but I AM NOT THE POINT. If I want the fish to bite the hook, I need to give him what HE wants, not what I want. Get your own likes and dislikes out of the way.

In the same way, your employees may not be motivated by making lots of money, but they might be motivated by extra time off. Your husband may not be motivated by a romantic evening together, but might be motivated by watching his favorite ball game with him. Your kids might not be motivated by the joy of sitting in an orderly house, but they might produce an orderly house if you motivate them with a game night. If you can find out what people want and help them get it, you will get what you want in this life. It’s a law.

Everyone has their own definition of success in this life, but every definition involves healthy interactions with other people. You can’t get rich, save the world, maintain an efficient organization, or have fun in life without being able to motivate people. So find out what people like and help them get it. It will pay off in the end.

Oh… By The Way…

I mentioned in the title that you could win in (almost) every relationship by applying these simple mindset shifts. That’s because every relationship involves another person and that other person has a free will, to accept our reject your actions. You can’t control others, but you can control yourself, and most people will respond positively if you will treat them with honor and respect.

If this was helpful to you, I hope you’ll share it. That would be helpful to me and probably at least one of your Facebook friends. This could end up being a good day for all of us.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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