How To Make Relationships Work…Start here

how to make relationships work

In this article you will learn an important layer of how to make relationships work. I’m going to go into psychology a little but don’t be intimidated because there is a gem here if you get what I’m about to share. It could be life changing!

Last night while in dance class dancing with my partner I had an experience that perfectly illustrates how the unconscious mind or implicit memory system can communicate hidden beliefs that interfere with success or create an undesirable result.

I’ll share with you that experience in hopes of shedding some light on why we, as human beings, end up in conflict and don’t understand why.

Here is the situation…

We were practicing a pretty complex west coast swing move at the time. It was the type of move where I had to rotate my partner a certain direction and ideally we keep a certain amount of tension between us to make us spin easier.

What I noticed was she was rushing the spin. (This is the important part of the lesson.) In that moment I blurted out with a tone “you’re rushing it” and she blurted back “you’re turning me!” In that moment I said to myself, “that was interesting” and realized it was the first time we actually had some emotional tension between us since we started dancing together a month or so earlier. I knew there was a “charge” behind my communication and she picked up on it.

Unconscious Beliefs Can Run The “Show” Beyond Our Awareness

The next day (today) in my meditation practice I played it back over and over again feeling into what was going on for me in that moment.

I came to the conclusion that I have a belief that I won’t get my needs met unless I communicate in a “tough guy” or “I’m right you’re wrong” way what I want. This was pretty typical as a youngster in my family growing up so this awareness didn’t surprise me.

Now, day-to-day when I’m relaxed and conscious, I don’t speak that way to people. But in the moment of this challenge or stress I was facing, my unconscious belief leaked out from long ago.

The beauty of noticing my reaction and “owning” my belief around how to get my needs met, I can now bring awareness to the moment when I’m a little more stressed and change that unconscious mental model. In the future I can try different ways of communicating to see if my needs get met and invalidate the old belief. (My experience also tells me it may take several times before you get it right so don’t be too hard on yourself if you make the same mistake a few times)

So let’s summarize the key points here:

  1. Unconscious beliefs will “leak out” under moments of stress

  2. It’s up to each of us to notice them, reflect on the related needs trying to be met, then create new mental models for the future that are more effective

Today, or over the next few days notice how you respond to people. Notice your tone, notice your bodily sensations that offer clues that something may be going on out of your awareness. Then reflect on moments where you responded less than optimal.

Ask yourself “what needs are trying to get met” and is there a better way of communicating my needs that will serve me and other better?

Please comment below and share this article with a friend. And ask questions, I am happy to answer them.


Ed Ferrigan, M.A., CCPC, SEP has been helping singles, couples and leaders create better relationships for 20 years. His claim to fame is helping people access the core issue rapidly and shift it permanently. He is an early life development expert, family constellation facilitator, and trauma release expert with a practice in Salt Lake City, UT. He can be reached at 970-317-0001 for phone and Skype or FaceTime sessions. - See more at: