How to Get What You Want in Relationships

Marriage and Family Therapist By Shelly Bullard, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to relationships. She has worked with thousands of clients on improving their relationships with others and themselves.

Image by Leah Flores / Stocksy

There is something you can do to guarantee that you will start getting what you want in your relationships. And it's probably not what you think.

In fact, it’s probably the opposite of what you think.

No, it's not by getting him to commit or by getting a guarantee from her. You've tried all those things--they don't work.

Trying to GET someone to GIVE something to you is always a dead-end street.

But there's something else you can do, something that you probably haven't thought of. This something is called GIVING.

Yes, turns out the old saying is true, "You get what you give."

Problem is, most of us think we are giving; in fact, we are giving and giving and giving--too much! 

If you give and give and give in your relationship (and it feels like too much), I hate to break it to you, but you aren't really giving.

Over-giving is a sure sign of GIVING TO GET, and the truth is, it's not going to GET you anything (except for resentment).

No, this isn't giving at all--it's called sacrifice.

When we are not in contact with our own fullness, then we try to get from our partners the exact thing that we are not: (1) giving to ourselves, or (2) giving to them.

It is very hard to give--to genuinely give, without the motive of getting in return--if we are running on less-than-full ourselves. Not feeling complete is actually what causes us to try and GET from our partners in the first place. We think that they are the missing link.

We think that they have what it takes to make us feel better. So, ironically, what we usually do to try to GET from them is we… sacrifice ourselves more?

Can you see the irony in that?!

We are going about it all wrong!

You see, the only way to GET what you want is to start GIVING it. 

Anything that you feel like you need from your partner is something that you are not giving to yourself or others. You don't feel like you have it, which is what makes you seek it in the first place!

Let's look at a few examples. Let's say you are you seeking security from your partner. Well, if it's security you're after, then it’s a sure sign internally you aren't feeling that secure.

Your insecurity is leading you to try and GET security from your partner. And, unfortunately, there is nothing your partner can actually do to make you feel, once and for all, secure.

Only you can do that, for yourself.

If you try to get security from someone else, you're going to find yourself chasing and chasing and chasing…because it's not going to happen.

Let's do another one...

Let's say you're seeking more freedom in your relationship. If you're feeling like you want freedom from your partner, it's a sure sign that you are not giving freedom to yourself.

Many people don't feel free in a relationship because they censor themselves or hide who they really are. All of these modes of "hiding" are going to make you feel trapped.

Many people censor themselves and then project that freedom is "out there." There is no freedom anywhere unless you give it to yourself. Only when you give yourself the freedom to be who you really are will you truly feel free.

We project exactly what is not happening within us onto our partners, and then try to make them give it to us! 

Here is the truth that I want you to remember: YOUR PARTNER CANNOT GIVE TO YOU WHAT YOU DO NOT GIVE TO YOURSELF. Period. So whatever you are looking for--whatever you are desperately trying to get from them--you must, must learn to give it first.

The good news is, when you start to give away exactly what it is we are seeking (give from an authentic place, not from an "I'm-really-trying-to- get" place), then the magic happens! All of the sudden that thing you were seeking, that thing that felt like it was missing, is HERE! You find that you have it within yourself.

The way to do this on a regular basis is to continue to come back to your own fullness, your own completeness. It is to remember that you are capable of giving to yourself everything that you think you need from your partner.

It’s remembering that no matter what, you already have everything you need to take care of you.

And it is in this knowing--when you stop demanding to GET from him or her and when you start showing up to GIVE--that you really start to receive everything you want.

Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to...
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Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a...
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