I have previously mentioned the passing of Stephen Covey and one of his books ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

This book had a big impact on me the first time I read it and still continues to teach me something new every time I read it.

Many of you have indicated that you would love to have the man of your dreams in your life and rightly so, this is in my opinion what we all deserve so I would like to share with you what he has written on what he calls ‘The Emotional Bank Account’.

Particularly for those of you who are spending time thinking deeply about the qualities and traits you would love to have in a man. What he writes is applicable to all our relationships, with our children, our family, our friends and our work colleagues.

It begins like this..

As we look back and survey the terrain to determine where we’ve been and where we are in relationship to where we are going we clearly see that we could not have gotten where we are without coming the way we came.  The landscape is covered with the fragments of broken relationships of people who have tried.  They have tried to jump into effective relationships without the maturity, the strength of character, to maintain them.  But you just can’t ‘do it’, you simply have to travel the road.  You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.

He shares a conversation with a man who was at one of his seminars, “You know Stephen I really don’t enjoy coming to these seminars.”  “Look at this beautiful coastline and the sea out there and all I can do is sit and worry about the grilling I’m going to get from my wife tonight on the phone.  She gives me the third degree every time I’m away.  “Was I in meeting all morning? What did I do in the evening?  Who was I with? and so on..  Then he said rather timidly,  “I guess she knows all the questions to ask, it was at a seminar like this that I met her…when I was married to someone else.”

Stephen said, “My friend, you can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.”
” You can’t have the fruits without the roots.”
“It’s the principle of sequencing, Private Victory precedes Public Victory.”
“Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.”
“If you don’t know yourself you can’t control yourself, it’s very hard to like yourself except in some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.”

The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but who we are.

If our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques rather than from our own inner core others will sense the duplicity.

The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our own circle of influence, our own character.

He then uses ‘The Emotional Bank Account’ as a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.  If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account  through courtesy, kindness, honesty and keeping my commitments to you I build up a reserve.  Your trust towards me becomes higher and others can call upon that trust many times if they need to.  When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.

However if I have a habit of showing disrespect, cutting you off, overreacting, ignoring you, threatening you or playing little tin god in your life, eventually my Emotional Bank Account is overdrawn.  Now it’s tension city.  It’s protecting my backside.

Many organisations are filled with it.
Many families are filled with it and
Many marriages are filled with it.

If a large reserve of trust is not sustained by continuing deposits, a marriage will deteriorate.  Instead of rich, spontaneous understanding and communication, the situation becomes one of accommodation, where two people simply attempt to live independent life-styles in a fairly respectful and tolerant way.  The relationship may further deteriorate to one of hostility, fight or flight, verbal battles in a cold war at home sustained only by children, sex, social pressure or image protection. Or it may end up in open warfare in the courts where bitter legal battles can be carried on for years .

We are talking here about the most intimate, the most potentially rich, joyful and satisfying and productive relationship possible between two people on this earth.  Our most constant relationships, like marriage, require our most constant deposits.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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