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Relationship Success Strategies: The Apples in The Apple Pie

What do you have to have in life? What are those absolute, non-negotiable essentials for you? When you settle for nothing less than those essentials, you’ll find all your inner needs met. The problem is our culture has become very used to settling for less.

This outcome, as I see it, goes back to the fact that most people don’t know who they really are and, therefore, don’t know what they really want. When you know who you really are, where you’re truly going in life, and what you definitely want, then you’re far less likely to settle for anything less than those preferences which enhance and support your life. Live your life accordingly and you’ll know exactly what your deal-makers and deal-breakers are.

The deal-makers are the non-negotiable essentials and components in your life – THE requirements you have to have. Think about what it is that you must have in all areas of your life (i.e.: relationships, friends, romances, work, finances and home). It’s worth the time and thought you put into establishing these criteria because you’ll then know the specific goals (targets) and parameters (gauges) to guide your life.

For example, a healthy lifestyle may be on your list of deal-maker behaviors for your life partnership.

Let’s say a potential partner shows up with the looks and charm of Brad Pitt, the intelligence of Einstein, the spirituality of Gandhi, and the money of Bill Gates, but he drinks excessively and has no desire to do any physical exercise.

In spite of all these attractive qualities, if you’ve carefully considered and compiled your deal-maker list, you’d never get involved, because that one crucial deal-maker of yours is unmet. When you know what these essentials are, you’ll make sure they’re fulfilled, and you’ll find yourself feeling more satisfied in your relationships, and in all areas of your life. It’s important for you to accept nothing less than these deal-makers, these absolute, non-negotiable boundaries.

The highly desirables are next, and although you may have a strong urge for them, they’re not absolutely required for happiness, fulfillment or relational success. Chances are you may feel some degree of dissatisfaction if these desirables aren’t present, but not to the point you would in the absence of the deal-makers. You may be left with some emotions to process, but at a level which is acceptable to you and can be dealt with.

Next is the wish list: What you would wish for if you could have anything you wanted – almost like a fantasy. It’s the cherry on top of the sundae, or the ice cream on the apple pie. If the ice cream is there, great; but if not, it’s really no great loss – less even than the highly desirables. The apple pie can still be very enjoyable even without ice cream. No issues to deal with at all. That’s how the wish list works.

Finally there are the deal-breakers. These are the dynamics, characteristics, and components which are absolutely not acceptable. Just like the deal-makers, there is no negotiation. You absolutely, positively will not accept these into your life under any circumstances EVER!

Going back to the life partner example, let’s assume smoking is a deal-breaker. You meet an otherwise awesome guy who smokes, thus creating an automatic deal-breaker. No conversation, no negotiation, no second thoughts. You stick to your absolutes because you know what you absolutely have to have and what you absolutely will not accept.

Since I brought up apple pies at the beginning of this chapter let’s extend that metaphor all the way through with these deal-makers, highly desirables, wish list, and deal-breakers. A deal-maker for your apple pie will be to have apples. You can’t make an apple pie without apples.

So you absolutely, positively have to have apples and will not accept anything other than, less than, or instead of apples. The apples in your apple pie are non-negotiable and are one of your deal-makers. You’ll accept nothing less than apple pie, and can’t and won’t pretend cherry cuts it.

Your highly-desirable in this apple pie might be sugar. You might prefer to have a very sweet apple pie with a lot of sugar in it, but if the baker happens to use honey instead, the apple pie may not be quite as sweet, you would still eat it and enjoy it, just not as much as you would if you had a lot of sugar in it. So, sugar is highly desirable, but negotiable, and honey is an acceptable alternative.

The wish list item for your apple pie might be the ice cream on top. You could enjoy this apple pie without the ice cream, but if you had ice cream, it would make it even better! But the pie is what’s important. You love apple pie and will consume and savor it, a la mode or not – without even thinking about the lack of ice cream.

The deal-breakers in this apple pie analogy might be raisins. You might hate raisins, or you’re allergic to raisins, and under no circumstances would you ever eat them. If the apple pie had raisins in it, you would decline it under all circumstances. It might as well be rubber as apple pie, for all you’d consider swallowing it.

Metaphor aside, relationships are the most common area in which I’ve seen people not having an understanding, or awareness of what these deal-makers and deal-breakers are all about and how important they are.

If you don’t have a clear concept of what you absolutely, positively have to have in your relationships and what you’ll never ever accept in your relationships, you’ll unnecessarily and destructively settle for less than what you really want, need, desire and deserve to have.

Without understanding and practicing this one dynamic, your relationships are likely to be doomed and you’re likely to miss out on a happy and fulfilled True Life.

ken donaldson has been offering counseling, coaching, and educational programs since 1987. his programs are focused on empowering people to have more successful lives, businesses and relationships. claim your free relationship success special report at marry yourself first!. ken is the author of marry yourself first! saying “i do” to a life of passion, power and purpose.

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Listed: September 9, 2008 5:53 pm