I've had some incredible life experiences. As an entrepreneur, I've gone from flat broke to having money to being broke again. I've been extraordinarily happy and I've been depressed (and oddly enough I found myself depressed when I had money, not when I was broke). I've been told by doctors that I had incurable conditions and then healed myself naturally. And in terms of relationships, I've had loved ones who were here one minute and dead the next. I've had my heart broken and then found my soul mate. I've also had friends weave in and out of my life and back again. It's been a pretty wild ride.
No matter where we are in life, we're either in a fulfilling relationship, looking to improve upon our relationship, or looking to be in a relationship. There are lots of books out there that will tell you what to do if you want some help here, but I've found that there's no one-size-fits-all-approach when it comes to relationships. But as the Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen.com and the author of WELLTH: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume, I've learned that there are some simple universal concepts that can really help us cultivate a life full of happiness and meaningful relationships.
1. Don't let little things get to you.
Does it really matter who is right about who did what chore in the apartment? You might win the fight, but you lose the battle. Don't sweat the small stuff because little things don't matter. Be grateful, not hateful.
2. No one is perfect.
This especially holds true for people we put on pedestals. No matter how great or enlightened they are, they're still human. Everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect.
3. You are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with.
It may sound like a cliché, but it's true. If you really want to change your life, you have to change the people you hang around with. Spend time with people who support you and believe in you. No Debbie-downers.
5. Friends come and go.
Just because you were close with someone 10 years ago doesn't mean you're going to be close to them today, and that's OK. People change and so do relationships. Sometimes people come into your lives at very specific times to help you get from point A to B, and then they somehow fade away. That's the magic of life and relationships: they're always evolving.
6. Don't compare yourself or try to be someone else.
There's always someone out there who has more friends or a more (perceived) perfect relationship. Comparing yourself or trying to be someone else is a game you'll never win. As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself; everyone else is taken."
7. Sometimes you have to put things in the "I don't know" folder.
Awful stuff happens to everyone. Sometimes relationships don’t work out and there's an immediate silver lining. Sometimes there isn't, and at these times, you have to accept that some things just don't make sense right now. And maybe they will later.
8. Karma is real.
I've seen it happen way too often, both personally and with friends. If you give more, you'll get more.
9. Your gut is always right.
Always, always, always listen to your gut. Whenever I've gone against my intuition, it's been a disaster. If you think your partner is cheating on you, you’re probably onto something.
10. If you're not happy with yourself, you'll never be happy in a relationship.
Every successful relationship starts with you. You can't rely on someone else to make you happy. Finding a great spouse or partner is just the icing on the cake, but you're responsible for the cake.
Reprinted and edited from WELLTH: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume. Copyright © 2016 by Jason Wachob. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Images: courtesy of mindbodygreen.com