Derek Sivers
Relationship Handbook - by George Pransky

Relationship Handbook - by George Pransky

ISBN: 0998874205
Date read: 2022-08-16
How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Best philosophy of love relationships I’ve ever found. Like meditation teaches you that moods pass, this experienced marriage counselor says this applies to relationship communication as well. When angry or insecure, don’t vent, don’t share that. Let the feeling pass. Your anger doesn’t reveal some real truth. Everyone in a romantic relationship should read this.

my notes

Insecurity is the source of distress and all counterproductive behavior.
Thoughts of insecurity periodically pass through our minds.
If we dismiss these thoughts, we will remain secure, our ideal selves: easygoing, joyful, compassionate and wise.
If we harbor our thoughts of insecurity, we end up in a state of distress.

Analyzing problems makes you an expert on your problems. It doesn’t change you.

Counselors ask clients to list their problems. This step makes all the problems vivid in the clients’ minds, thereby lowering their spirits, as they delve into each problem in detail.
Problems then seem so formidable that clients are discouraged.

A characteristic of very low moods is that every little problem looks like the tip of an iceberg.
Maintaining a sense of well-being is all it takes to make the relationship enjoyable and easy, and to feel warm and respectful toward each other, even in hard times.

When differences are viewed with respect, partners are viewed as complementary.
The same differences viewed from a feeling of discontent will make the partners seem incompatible.
It is the feeling that makes the difference.

The negative feeling is what we call “incompatibility.”
Were we to have a change of heart and think of the characteristic as good or unimportant, we would feel compatible again.

Today’s incompatibilities were yesterday’s refreshing differences.

Communication is a pipe through which feelings pass.
If the feelings are positive, the relationship will be uplifted.
If they are negative, the couple’s level of closeness will drop.

What you say when you are drunk is what you think when you are drunk.
Being drunk is a state of mind.
Being angry is a state of mind.
So is being happy.
Each state of mind has its own special thoughts and feelings.

When we’re in a low mood we’re tempted to communicate, to let others know we’re down.
But if you can be a little patient, you’ll see that those low moments will pass.

If you share positive thoughts, they will help the relationship to spiral up.

Positive thoughts are just as real as the negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts are always associated with fears of the future and negative memories of the past, and only the present is real.

When your spirits are low is when you are most compelled to “talk about things” and least advised to do so.

Conflicts occur when the participants are in low moods.
When our thinking is negative, our feelings and perceptions will exactly reflect those negative thoughts and feelings in that moment.
If we trust those perceptions and feelings, our lives will take a turn for the worse.

Be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.

People mistakenly attribute their feelings to outside sources.
All feelings come from our thoughts.

I have more ideas than I can use.

When you are in a low mood, don’t make important life decisions.
Your thinking is not as sound as it is in a higher state of mind.

When others are in a low state of mind, put everything they say or do in that context.
Don’t hold it against them
Stay out of their way when they are low.

Emotions are born of thought.
Sadness only exists in our lives when we think sad thoughts.
When we realize that emotions are just more thoughts, they lose their power to distort our lives.
Emotions only have the power to affect us when we are actively thinking them.

Imagine you are engrossed in an intense discussion with a friend. You both feel upset and despondent.
Suddenly, you are told there is a fire in the building. You rush to help put out the fire.
Are you still upset? Of course not. You can’t afford to be. You need all your attention to concentrate on putting out the fire.
When the fire is doused, would the despair return? Probably not; you would be relieved and exhilarated. The earlier discussion might seem silly.
What happened to the emotions that were once so real and important?
They were just temporary indulgences to be tabled in the face of important matters.
If emotions can be set aside during emergencies, can they be set aside anytime? Sure. They are only illusions.

People treat emotions as if they offer information about life.
If they feel anger toward someone, they believe that person did something to justify it.
If they feel dissatisfied, they assume there must be something wrong with their lives.
Emotions are never a statement about the world around us.
They are always a statement about our momentary perspective on life.

Emotions do not provide information about the world around us.
They do serve as a compass that indicates the quality of our thinking and our present capacity to make sound judgments.
A focus on dissatisfactions creates a negative tone that undermines and weakens a relationship.

People easily see their own good intentions but have difficulty seeing the good intentions of others.

Mind-sets are self-validating. For example, suspicious people look for signs of betrayal and find it everywhere.

Dissatisfaction had never been a big part of his employees’ reality before he began offering withhold sessions.
Of course, his employees had had occasional gripes but had dismissed them because they liked their jobs and wanted to get on with their work.
When John introduced the idea of dissatisfaction to the group, his employees began to look for trouble.
As time went on, they thought more and more about dissatisfactions and less and less about their work.
Now they shared a dissatisfaction mind-set.

Dissatisfaction is a thought process that brings unhappiness.
The alternative to worry and dissatisfaction is enjoyment.
We can use the mind to enjoy life or we can use it to judge, analyze and compare what we see.

Once you drop your ill will, your mate will feel more secure and will be likely to correct the conditions that concern you.

To help mates to change, you must totally accept them, as they are.
Change of heart is the mechanism for saving and improving relationships.
A change of heart by one party, however slight, is usually enough to create a positive spiral in the evolution of your relationship.

Don’t deal with problems. Transcend them.

A focus on problems is the number one relationship killer.
It lowers your spirits and makes things look worse than they really are.

“Problems” don’t really exist.
They are mirages that appear to exist when certain conditions are present, such as an insecure state of mind.
Problems are nothing more than situations seen through a filter of insecurity.

A: We see things differently in many areas.
B: Well, what do you do in those areas?
A: We expect to have different views. We actually like that. It lets us learn from each other.
We try not to deal with things head on. We let them sort of run their course.

The opposite of disagreeing is understanding.

The reason they seek so much excitement is that excitement is not very satisfying.