Saturday, December 17, 2011

Establishing Successful Customer Relationships Through Effective Communication

"One cannot always oblige; one can, however, always speak obligingly..." says Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian spiritual master, which is an exact explanation for the complex role of corporate communication in modern corporations today.

The customer, as the old saying goes, is the king! A king he truly is he believes, that is, till the not-so-charitable mandarins of marketing let him know and make him aware, rather painfully for him, that he is one among the many millions that feel that way, without actually being that way. However, the same mandarins grudgingly acknowledge that a happy customer is a brand's success, while a delighted customer is a brand's ambassador. The customer relationship management paradigm - popularly abbreviated as CRM - is built precisely on these pillars. And the customer enjoys a precarious position in this paradigm.

In the concentrated CRM efforts a company often forgets the basic thing that is the cornerstone of the concept... relationship! Traditional marketing theories have always focused on attracting new customers, rather than retaining existing customers. Over the past decade, thanks to intensified competition and greater variety of products, this has gradually altered. The current flavor of marketing is 'retain' more than 'gain'. Because retention leads to growth and growth leads to fulfillment.

In marketing, today, the consumer is treated not as a king but like a mischievous sprite. He is accused - well, almost - of making a brand dance to his wishes and whims. While purists tend to argue that brands need customers and vice versa, modernists counter it by saying that customers need a brand, any brand, so long as the brand is his willing genie. This disproportionate balance shapes brand communication strategies. Positioning per se is no longer a marketer's tool but rather as an awkward proposition to grab the customer's fancy. Positioning is not brand or product or benefit or feature-centric anymore; it is customer-centric.

What is then important to establish a relationship between a brand and its customer? In order to build a personal relationship, the brand's personality has to come through (Michael C Gray, 2006). It will no longer be brand and customer, but simply 'you' and 'I'... a collaboration is well-developed leads to 'we', which could be a fulfilling state for a brand and a customer.

Social researchers have always advised marketers that people prefer to do business with people, not institutions or brands. This implies that corporate communication has to be the link that helps to build and maintain a healthy relationship between both stakeholders. Technically there can be several types of regular communication: newsletters, fax messages, voice broadcasts, blogs, sales letters, emails and more.

Communication with customers reflects the following aspects of a relationship.

o Strong culture

o Favorable identity

o Coherent philosophy

o Genuine sense of camaraderie

It may not be instant gratification or affection but effective corporate communication establishes an appropriate and professional relationship with the customer, including quick, responsible channels of two-way communication. Corporate Communication is all about managing perceptions and ensuring that with effective and timely dissemination of information a positive corporate image is created that ensures a smooth and affirmative relationship with all customers, at all times.

Be it a corporate body, company, research institution, non-governmental organisation, PSU, all of them need to have a respectable image and reputation in the eyes of the customer. In today's day and age of increasing competition, easy access to information and media explosion - reputation management has gained even greater importance. So, corporate communications as a role has become significant and professional in nature while dealing with customers.

Gone are the days when corporate communications merely meant 'wining and dining the client'; it has now emerged as a science and art of perception management. The concept of managing relationships with customers is as old as trade itself, but the focus has always been to sell products and services (Kotler, Philip, Introduction to Marketing Principles). Competition, driven by globalization and the Internet, has changed the face of business. Customers now have a variety of choices and, most importantly, they are becoming far more knowledgeable and demanding. The power has truly shifted to the customer. With this scenario, most companies realize that they need to treat their customers with more care.

Companies are now desperately searching for different ways to manage their relationships effectively, not only to acquire new customers, but also to retain the existing ones. According to a Harvard Business Review Study by Reicheld & Sasser, some companies can boost their profits by almost 100% by retaining just 5% or more of their existing customers.

Customers express their satisfaction in many ways. When they are satisfied, they mostly say nothing but return again, and again, to buy or use more. Measuring satisfaction is only half the story. It is also necessary to determine customers' expectations or the importance they attach to different overtures of a brand, otherwise resources could be spent raising satisfaction levels of things that do not matter. The measurement of expectations or importance is more difficult than the measurement of satisfaction. Many people do not know or cannot admit, even to themselves, what is important.

Consumers do not spend their time rationalizing why they do things, their views change and they may not be able to easily communicate or admit to the complex issues in the buying argument. A customer satisfaction index is a snapshot at a point in time. People's views change continuously and the performance of companies in delivering customer satisfaction is also changing. Measuring satisfaction must be a continuous process. (Paul & Nick Hague, White paper on Customer Satisfaction Surveys, B2B International Ltd.)

Even when experts discuss CRM, the discussion is almost always from the point of view of marketing, sales and business development. Seldom is CRM looked upon as a 'goal' that every organization should actively pursue. Often it is looked upon as a tool that every organisation could use. The differences are plenty. And CRM is not an IT function. CRM is more often a function of communication, by the company directly, through an intermediary such as a PR agency or simply through the media.

Successful CRM practices is not about statistics, data warehousing or loyalty programs, rather it is about competing in the relationship dimension-not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price-but acting as a differentiator in terms of 'feelings for the customer', however abstractly - and sometimes absurdly - romantic that may sound. If brands can get an edge based on how customers feel about the brand, it's a much more sustainable relationship in the long run. This feeling for a brand, as brand theorists prefer to call it is directly proportional to the communication efforts, written words and spoken sentences, that emanate from a company.

Link it to the corporate communication strategy and you will have a direct connect between the company and its customer. The critical dimension of any CRM practice is the relationship that a brand shares with its customers. Using the word customer itself may sound a trifle improper here because 'customer' implies that the person is 'outside' a relationship. And any relationship is expressed and nurtured by communication.

Almost always marketers try to understand a customer from the marketing perspective, as people who have to be 'given' something to retain their loyalty. This naturally places them on a moral (and commercial) pedestal that enables them to look down upon hapless customers as beneficiaries of their largess. In communication parlance this signifies up and down power positions. And in a relationship between equals the power position is not hierarchical. Sometimes the anachronistic social mindset refuses to place the customer on even keel with a brand - and vice versa - painting him as a king, or as an unrealistically greedy pauper.

CRM is a simple process, because establishing a relationship is simple. Nowhere is understanding more profound than when it comes to human emotions... but surprisingly the very same human emotions have been overlooked by companies while interacting with their customers.

What is a relationship? When is there a relationship between two entities? What is the role of corporate communications in establishing, maintaining and fulfilling such relationships? Relationship could simply mean to be a particular type of connection existing between people related to with each other biologically or emotionally and having social or economic dealings with each other. Unfortunately all pretenses of dealing with relationships that often ask for simplicity, empathy, credibility and sincerity cease the moment commercial returns on investments are discussed. Which is what communication is all about; communicating to customers, and not with them.

Researchers have often argued that to understand brand-customer relationships, it is necessary to consider what the brand thinks of its customers, more than what the customers think of a brand. Marketers struggle hard to enhance the satisfaction of customers only to find that they choose their competitors. Why does this happen? Research has further shown that investments in customer communication, which logically seems to be the most crucial aspect in a relationship, has been the most neglected area in most companies.

The argument for this lies in the reality that 65% of all customer service activities are outsourced to business processing units (BPUs). That means the brand does not directly handle customer interactions and queries - unless they are of a certain level, of course. This is akin to asking your friend to talk to your representative about everything that you want to say, including... affairs of the heart, and speak directly only if it is something serious! This attitude, in the first instance, is marketing-driven and one-sided. There are also many brand loyalty programs, which are being attempted by marketers in isolation without the back up support of several other relevant and related strategies. There is a distinctive need for marketers to understand the importance of customer communication, and not merely look at it from the point of view of PR, Advertising or other known corporate forms of communication.

Often corporate communication strategies are designed... to work as a bridge between stakeholders, to justify policies and decisions, to deliver business strategies, to inform and persuade, and of course to emphasize that the company is committed to putting customer interests first, almost as an afterthought!

Thus corporate communications is almost always understood as a process used to build, foster, nurture and extend business relationships with customers. This is unfortunately a bureaucratic understanding, as GE's former CEO Jack Welch says, "Bureaucracies love to focus inward. It's not that they dislike customers; they just don't find them as interesting as themselves." And the communication reflects it.

In 'Customers Are People: The Human Touch', author Jon McKean states that in competitive markets, where customers have a choice between similar products and pricing, "70% percent of customer decision-making is based on how customers are treated." "Yet," McKean adds, "Over 80 per cent of customer initiatives are focused on 'selling to customers better' through superior products, prices and promotions, than in investing more resources in treating customers better..." How best can a person be treated? By simply being talked to in a better manner.

The question staring squarely on the faces of companies is: "How to make a customer loyal?" When companies talk of relationships where customers have real choices, they are honestly trying to be the best suitor to the customer, 'as the customer sees it', and not 'as they want the customer to see it'. Reichheld and other loyalty experts have studied this issue for years and have concluded that relationships are driven by the behaviour and perception of customers of the value of the relationship that exists between the brand and himself, which is the net result of what economic and psychological value the customer receives from the brand.

According to psychologists customers' emotional states influence about 50 percent of the value they perceive from their purchases. Jim Barnes, author of 'Secrets of Customer Relationship Management: It's All About How You Make Them Feel', sums it up by saying, "Value is created every time a customer is made to feel welcome, important and valued."

After reasonably agreeing to the fact that the important aspects in CRM are relationship and how customers, on account of their distinct behaviour and personality, differently and uniquely perceive a relationship, it is also imperative to stress on the point that corporate communication is the prime driver of any relationship. As the leading Indian telecom brand AirTel shows in its advertisements, communication is all about expressing oneself.

A brand identity is shaped by a collective interactive experience of customers, product, policy, and strategy. Which is why developing a brand-customer relationship is important. The choice is simple: either a brand makes a customer experience or it gets created despite the brand. To create a successful relationship, the brand must develop a compelling identity with the customer and have a genuine value proposition. The brand must rely on customer perspective, appreciate the viewpoint and have the ability to communicate appropriately. A common pitfall for many brands is that they do not take the time to think about how they should articulate the brand identity. Needless to say, a successful brand strategy is incomplete without a sound communications strategy. The organization must be aligned in ways that anticipate and fulfill customers' emotional expectations at every touch point to create meaningful relationships and lasting competitive advantage.

Successful customer communication clearly highlights the brand's functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits, as the customer would like to see. It is delivered in a way that is superior or unique when compared to competitors. Customer experience is shaped by a series of interactions with an organization.

According to Jonathan Hardcastle, barriers to effective communication such as frames of reference, value judgments, selective listening, filtering and distrust (all between sender and receiver) complicate the communication systems and messages. However, these can be overcome by sending clear, complete, and specific messages, which are to put it rather romantically, 'straight from the heart'. Demonstrating love and affection, clarifying intentions, being reliable and dynamic can enhance credibility, exhibiting warmth and friendliness, and building a positive image. Soliciting and providing specific feedback can also enhance communication effectiveness between partners, which is what brands should consider customers as.

One of the most important consumer satisfaction elements is the ability to ask questions and being able to receive appropriately satisfying answers from the brand's representatives. Gaining information, uncovering motives, giving incentives, obtaining participation, checking understanding, initiating the thinking process, inducing agreements, and refocusing attention, are all essential components of an effective consumer communication plan, says Hardcastle. Thus, the active listening skills of a brand help to build rapport with customers that is both intimate and empathetic.

The other most important aspect is the subtle non-verbal communication of a brand and the customers, that is useful both in reading the underlying emotions and attitudes of customers, while reinforcing a brand's verbal messages. Understanding subtle communication can enhance the brand-customer relationship.

Coupled with this are improving standards of technology and devices that add an edge to the communication process. Unfortunately over-dependence on technology and automation has had an adverse impact on customer relationship. While on one hand brands talk of a relationship - a concept normally associated with living things largely and human beings in particular - on the other hand the overuse of technology has led to a dissociation that has taken the customer and brand away from each other. This dichotomous situation has to be recognised by the brand as well as the customer, for communication is all about power positions, and it is important to understand that in a relationship the power positions are on an even keel.

Concluding, due to the growing complexity and turbulence of the business environment and the related growth in research knowledge about customer behavior patterns, managers of the 21st century have to take four themes as paramount; the necessity of managing the challenges of change; functioning within a global environment; being sensitive to the diversity among people; and behaving with ethical integrity.

The final ingredient that binds a customer to your brand in a lasting relationship is dialogue. Your company's brand isn't a monolithic, hermetic face that the organization presents to the world. Rather, it's an ongoing exchange where you listen carefully to your customers, understand what they say, and respond by modifying your value proposition and extending your businesses appropriately to fulfil customers' desires. You exist because of the customer. This selflessness is the cornerstone to successful CRM.

Therefore any corporate communication effort should focus broadly on three aspects: understanding relationships, understanding the distinct behaviour of consumers to relationship overtures and understanding (and establishing) the role of communication in effective and enduring customer relationships.

Author: K Sai Prasaad
Designation: Head, Department of Marketing & Management Communication
College: Convergence Institute of Media, Management and Information Technology Studies (Commits), Bangalore, India
University: Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, India

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Relationship Building - Three Key Types and One Key to Success

"No man is an island," somebody once said and those few words sum up the essence of mankind. We thrive on relationships. One of the worst punishments is to deprive a person of contact with others.

However our relationships are often fragile and sometimes fall apart. Some people strive for positive relationships with others but always seem to make a mess of it. Others end up in destructive relationships where they are used and abused.

There are three key types of relationships that together promote positive, strong and wholesome relationships. All three need to be developed if your relationships are to be successful.

Jesus described these three types in Mark 12:28-31. A scribe came to him and asked which was the greatest of all the commandments. Jesus responded saying that the first and greatest commandment is, "You shall love the Lord your God with all heart, mind, soul and strength," and a second is like it, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." He said there is no other commandment greater than these two.

Now if these are the two greatest of the commandments, they are worth consideration to for they contain wisdom. They both deal with relationships and define the three most important relationships of all. They are:

Our relationship with God
Our relationship with others
Our relationship with ourself

All three work together to enable positive relationships. It may be possible to have a relationship with just one or two of these, but really good, strong relationships are best achieved when all three work together.

These three are underpinned by love, which is the key to a successful relationship for love is the foundation of positive and up-building relationships.

There are many kinds of love. The love you have for a brother is different to the love for a friend, parent, wife or child. The love of God is best described in 1 Corinthians 13. It shows love as active, as something you do. It says things like, "Love is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, it does not insist on its own way, etc." All of these we can do and people exhibit love through such actions and attributes.

Love is the glue that binds the three types of relationships together. Consider this:

Relationship with Ourself

If we lack self-esteem and allow others to walk over us we will end up in abusive relationships. To have positive relationships with others we must first love ourselves to strengthen our own self-image and self-respect. If we have no love for ourself we have no relationship with ourself, so how can we have positive relationships with others?

Relationship with Others

Is it possible to have positive relationships with others if we use and abuse them? If our primary purposes with others are to get our own way all of the time, those relationships will not last. Love does not use and abuse other people and most people will be "once bitten twice shy." If we do not show others the respect they deserve, then we cannot have a positive and mutually beneficial relationship. Good relationships may not always run smoothly, but they weather storms and grow stronger as they work out issues.

Relationship with God

Many ignore a relationship with God not realising its value. A relationship with God strengthens all of your other relationships. A person in a relationship with God learns behaviours that build positive relationships. They learn to take relationships to a deeper, spiritual level with God giving them an inner strength, peace and calm. They become humble and strong at the same time and importantly they learn to recognise that others, like themselves, have flaws. They aim to overlook those flaws while seeking the best for others and enter relationships with consideration for the other person rather than, "What's in it for me?"

The real potential for successful relationships can only be achieved when all three of these key areas are working together in harmony and are bound together with love. Strive for this in all your relationships and they will surely flourish.

Would you like to know more? Please feel free to visit to view other teachings, eBooks as well as some original Christian music. It's all free and available for you to view online or download at your leisure. If you use anything for other than personal use please respect the copyright & reference the website

John Lemmon

All items Copyright (c) - John Lemmon - 2008, 2009

Does Your Relationship Have These 3 Important Elements?

When men and women come together to form a relationship, it's a wonderful thing but complicated. Relationships don't conform to the idea that one size fits all: what works for one won't for another, because individuals and the relationships they form are unique. It's important to realize that there's no set of prescripts that can be uniformly applied to all relationships.

You can't even tell for sure why a relationship exists between a man and a woman - is it a union love of shared pastimes, or physical attraction, or something else? Because relationships are unique, the agreements that couples develop that keep them together are also unique.

While there are no comprehensive regulations for the conduct of a relationship, there are deeper elements of a relationship that can be identified. Without these elements, it's doubtful that the relationship will last.

Communication is the first great element of a flourishing relationship. This means the opening of hearts and sharing of things like dreams and plans for the future. It's easy to talk about the morning's headlines or last night's television program. Real communication, though, requires real honesty and self-giving. The kind of communication that occurs every day, of course, is different - couples have to be able to discuss everyday matters, plan the dinner menu, review schedules to make certain they can reach each other. But they'll also discuss the obstacles they're facing on the job, they'll talk about problems within their relationship, and they'll share their own feelings.

Relationships where the partners don't also share their emotions with each other have an unstable foundation. Good communication knows no fear - a couple should be able to share anguish and worry with each other as well as triumph and joy. The next component of a great relationship flows easily from the first.

Closely related with good communication, honesty is the next crucial foundation of a great relationship. Couples who make the commitment to start a relationship together, sharing their lives, impair themselves seriously if they cannot be honest with each other. There's a tendency at the beginning to over-romanticize a relationship and for couples to put each other on a pedestal - part of the purpose of honesty in a relationship relates to understanding and accepting that one's partner is simply human and actually mortal, not some perfect being that must be impressed and catered to at all times.

Lies - even the most well-meaning "little white lies," designed to avoid hurting someone - usually are exposed at the most inopportune times, and their motivation is often misunderstood. A relationship in which lies have been revealed faces significant obstacles. Partners in a relationship who are reluctant to share the truth with the other, even if it means at least momentarily hurting their feelings, are well advised to examine their own commitment to the relationship.

The last foundation of good relationships is forgiveness, which comes from true love. As God forgives us our sins, no matter how serious, we should emulate Him and strive to have a forgiving heart when our partner fails us.

Too often, people in a relationship will claim to forgive each other, but in the heat of an argument will dredge up these past "sins" or shortcomings they claim to have forgiven. Forgiveness doesn't mean stashing transgressions away like ammunition for use later on - it means erasing them and moving forward. Paradoxically, it is through forgiveness that a couple can realize the depth of their love for each other.

Couples for whom these three elements form the basis of the relationship can be assured of many happy years together. Far more relationships are broken up than survive, and the cause of that breakup is often the lack of one or more of these crucial elements. Couples who want to remain together and realize that their relationship is missing one of these components, like a stool with fewer than three legs, had better start work immediately to start growing the foundation of communication, trust and forgiveness that characterizes the greatest relationships of all time.

Steve Steiner enjoys helping men improve their relationship and manage the problems that they may experience in relating with and dating women.

If you found this article helpful and would like to learn more about how you can improve your relationship, check out Saving a Relationship and Make Relationships Work.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Solve Relationship Problems and Enjoy Happy Relationships - Surefire Tips You Can Use Today

Turn Your Everyday Relationships Into Gold

Mastering the art of happiness involves taking care of your relationships. Even if you have good relationships, you can always make them a little better... and the rewards and benefits are fantastic! New research shows us how to master our relationships to improve our health and well being. Relationships are our greatest investment. Yet most of us have put at least one important relationship on the back burner. Here are Richard's top ten tips for igniting the fires of old relationships and turning new relationships into pure gold.

Top Ten Art Of Happiness Tips

1. Give a little more time and attention to your relationships on a regular basis... doing little things daily... like making a surprise telephone call or sending an electronic greeting, an occasional reminder of your devotion, can go a long way toward increasing the excitement in a relationship. Whatever you do, don't ignore your relationships. Keep in touch!

2. Improve any relationship in need of special attention or repair. Relationship problems can often be solved by simply doing little things to remind someone of your affection. Don't have time? Just giving your spouse, for example, a hug every morning can mean a great deal to you both!

Little gestures of affection can make the other person feel good. If you need to apologize for something, do it. How long does a simple apology take? If you need to talk about a misunderstanding, do it. Stay focused and be BRIEF and optimistic! In the end, tell the other person how much you care about the relationship.

Say it loud and clear.

3. Speaking from your heart can make a big difference. The art of happiness entails honesty and direct communication. Sometimes we want to say heartfelt things, but chicken out. Take a deep breath and summon the courage to say what's in your heart. Your relationships are worth it.

4. Just be yourself inall your relationships. Even if you fear you are not good enough, or you won't be liked, being who you are will help you to avoid playing games and to put your best foot forward.

Avoid trying to impress people... or you'll stick out like a sore thumb!!!

Just be yourself and trust yourself. You'll avoid relationship problems and misunderstandings by being true to yourself. You never want to abandon yourself while seeking to impress others. And others will be more attracted to the real you than if you try to be someone you are not.

5. Be an optimist. People will love you for it and stand by you.

In a recent study, optimistic women were 25% LESS LIKELY TO GET BREAST CANCER than those who were not optimists. Optimism helped women to deal with traumatic events, as well.

In another study of men aged 65 - 80, optimistic men had half the heart attacks of men who were not optimistic. Optimism can help you live longer, according to other studies. We can all be more optimistic, with a little effort, and we'll solve our relationship problems more easily.

6. Be more grateful. Why? Gratitude is a validated strategy for decreasing depression.

When we are thankful for our gifts and blessings, express gratitude to others and give them credit for contributing to our happiness or success, we unleash an avalanche of positive feelings and good changes in our minds and bodies. Dwelling in gratitude will make you feel like a new person.

7. Be kind and helpful to everyone in your life, even your so-called enemies. No, it ani't easy! But it's a wise and powerful way to live. And there is research behind it. Plus, sages have advocated it for thousands of years.

Anyone can make a concerted effort to practice forgiveness, be kinder and more helpful. You can be kinder in simple ways, such as smiling more often, putting a spark in the tone of your voice and giving people the benefit of the doubt. And be sure to take note of how you feel when you do a good deed for someone.

Kindness is food for the soul, and it's a great relationship strategy. You'll not only decrease your relationship problems, and bring people closer to you, but you will feel wonderful!

I tell my clients all the time... kindness is a powerful ani-depressant!

Cultivate the art of kindness with your friends and strangers you meet, and you will be well on the way to mastering the art of happiness. Don't shun, avoid or speak down to someone who has hurt or disappointed you, just be kind to him. You'll put a positive energy into a negative situation.

8. Find the silver lining in any cloud. In the therapy world, we call this strategy "reframing." It's how we help people to perceive problems as more solvable and to see the possible good that can come out of them.

Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, said, "No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage."

It may take a little creative thinking, but you can turn any unwelcome event to your advantage. This skill will help you to convert relationship problems into new possibilities for change, growth and transformation.

9. Those who master the art of solving relationship problems kick the fault finding habit. Nothing could be more helpful to your relationships than this one little trick. Finding fault tears relationships down and works against your success. Like criticism, it is of little value and causes much damage.

In a marriage, criticism and fault finding do a number on relationship bliss and happiness, creating disharmony, distrust and distress.

10. Instead of finding fault, look for and identify strengths. Use your sleuthing powers to find the hidden good in others. You'll have the art of happiness working for you, and you'll be far more successful than those who seek to belittle or put other people down.

It really pays to be MORE positive in your relationship with yourself, too. Take very good care of yourself (it isn't selfish but necessary) and you'll increase your happiness level... plus you'll develop plenty of happy relationships.

In Short

Solve relationship problems and enjoy happy relationships by taking just a few minutes of your day. Be kind, optimistic and forgiving in all your affairs. Your relationships will support you in countless ways, and assist you in achieving your goals throughout life's hard journey. If you cultivate the best possible relationships, you will build a rock-solid foundation for success in your quest for genuine and lasting happiness.

Richard Hamon is a professional therapist and coach with 30 years of experience. Richard helps people to solve their relationship problems, enjoy truly extraordinary marriages and find exceptional success in all areas of their lives.

You'll find all kinds of articles on how to spice up your relationships and lead a happier life at Richard's website, Take a happiness quiz and see how you stack up. Find out about therapeutic services and personal coaching programs to assist you in quickly fulfilling your special needs and goals. Discover eBooks and other products, such as a free relationship quiz to help you assess your relationship.

For more information on conducting state-of-the-art relationships, the latest research on lasting happiness, and Richard's products and services, please go to:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Healthy Relationship or Unhealthy Relationship? Which Is Yours?

Is your relationship a healthy relationship or an unhealthy relationship?

I'm sure you know of Jeff Foxworthy and his Redneck series. Well, this is similar to that only it concerns intimations as to whether you are in an unhealthy relationship.

When you and your partner are out and about and you get together with other people, does your companion verbally embarrass you? I'm sure that everyone just laughs it off like it must be some kind of joke, but did the remark hurt you inside? If so, then you might be in an unhealthy relationship.

How about this one? You and your significant other spend time together and he or she tells you that they love you. But then their actions don't support their claims. You know, that actions speak louder than words, don't you? Think about it. How do they make you feel? Loved and secure? Or used and abused?

An unhealthy relationship?

Are you starting to be concerned about how things you do might be misconstrued by your companion? If you are starting to feel like your relationship is a ball and chain type of deal where your companion is ultimately domineering and critical of everything you do, you might be in an unhealthy relationship. (i.e. they read your mail, listen in on your phone conversations, call to monitor on your whereabouts throughout the day, etc.)

They hacked your computer and are reading your email (or just checking your history on your computer to keep you in line). They just all of a sudden show up at places where you are just to check on you. Take heed; you might be in an unhealthy relationship. It's possible they are checking up on you out of concern for you too, but many times this is not the case. You'll know the difference.

Maybe your partner is making you separate from family and friends. They realize that when you are around others that love you they have little control over you, so they want to dismiss that from happening at all. Hmmm...could be another sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Let's say that you have changed a lot of things about yourself. Maybe it is your looks, maybe it's your interests, maybe it's your habits...if you have changed things about yourself just to please them that's the wrong reason. If the changes were made, but not to please yourself then you might be in an unhealthy relationship.

Domineering people make you feel odd just being around them. It's not so much that they are scaring you, but just making you feel awkward and you have to be on guard and walk on egg shells when you are with them.

So, why would anyone end up in an unhealthy relationship? Why would anyone want to be with someone who makes them feel emotionally or physically abused?

They say love is blind, so maybe you do not recognize these things as they really are. An unhealthy relationship has a cycle. There's a honeymoon period, followed by some kind of a blow up which is then followed by a reconciliation. Then the cycle begins all over again. It's a vicious circle.

When you first meet a new partner, you are obviously in the honeymoon stage. You may be in the relationship for quite a time before you realize that you are in an unhealthy relationship. Everything is new. Nothing could be wrong. You hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil. Just like a monkey. Literally. That's what the honeymoon phase is like. Two monkeys swinging around without a care in the world.

Later, you have a disagreement. The other person blows it way out of context and it ends up being a full-blown argument, often littered with name-calling or battering. Watch out! Is this something that you should be concerned about or is the disagreement just that...a disagreement?

Trouble could be looming its ugly head.

If you suspect that your relationship is an unhealthy one, remedy it while you can.

At this point though, it may be really hard to get out of the relationship. You know consciously that you should get out and that the relationship is not healthy for you, but you are already on the emotional roller coaster that, subconsciously, makes ending the relationship very difficult.

One reason for subjecting yourself to this type of relationship is that many people in unhealthy relationships grow up in homes where they were witness to unhealthy relationships. As a result, you repeat these patterns from your childhood without even realizing that is what you are doing. You view what is happening to you as perfectly normal. After all, you witnessed this occurence daily.

Another thing is this, you may not know any better. You may have been beaten down into submission and now believe that you deserve everything you get. Or don't get, as the case may be. You think that you are not worthy of getting anything different.

It may be that you can trick yourself into thinking that by staying in the situation you can change it. After all, you do enjoy taking care of people and it's not all that bad. You recognize the care and attention the other person needs and think to yourself that if you only love them "enough" they will love you and respect you back. Unfortunately, that isn't so.

More often than not, a person who stays in this kind of relationship has very low self-esteem. They do not think they have anything of value to offer another so they just suffer the consequences. They often drift into deep depression. They can't think clearly and come to the conclusion that they have no choices about what to do with their lives.

The good news is that this isn't so. It is merely a conclusion that is the result of you honestly not having any respect for yourself either.

The main thing to realize here is that you do have choices. Once you realize that you have choices, then you will be able to start defending yourself. In most unhealthy relationships, the dominating partner has taught you that it is all your fault. Once you buy into this, you become the weaker partner who simply submits to the control of the other person.

Though it can be very difficult to either walk away from the relationship or set new limits that can heal the relationship, it can be done.

Don't be one of your own worst enemies. Don't go on a guilt trip that you don't need to go on.

Some people are able to break the sequence of events that lead to this kind of relationship.

First of all though, before any problem can be resolved you need to recognize that a problem does exist.

The truth is that most relationships are able to be salvaged. Sometimes, each of you just needs some space. Sometimes, as a couple, you need to get counseling. But if both partners make an attempt to rejuvenate the relationship, it is possible to renew the bonds of your relationship in a healthy way.

The first thing you need to decide is that the relationship must improve or you're going to have to get out of it. If your significant other realizes that you aren't willing to walk away, you'll never be able to heal that which divides you. The cycle will continue just the way it is. It's like an infection. If you don't take the proper treatment to remedy it then it is only going to get worse.

Once you recognize that you are in a poisonous relationship and are able to affirm your need for freedom from such a relationship, you are on the highway to healing the bonds that tie you.

Don't incessantly annoy the other person. Just let them know how you are feeling. You can tell them, "I am feeling a particular way and I need your support in this situation" or "I just want you to love me, no ifs, and or buts..." Don't be demanding, just let them know how you feel. Remember that the other person needs to be told how you feel. They cannot read your mind. Don't allow them to continue on their track of control and domineering behavior.

You need to talk to the other person. Make sure that they realize that if you don't get what you need from the relationship then you are willing to get out of it.

Think of a healthy relationship as one where both people can grow. The couple nurtures each other. They support each other and bring out the best in each other.

In an unhealthy relationship, only one person is growing stronger. The domineering person's needs may be met, but the weaker individual is stagnant and crushed.

Recognize this. Don't let it happen to you. Be your own best friend.

Want some more ideas about building love relationships? Discover MY BLOG and read more about how to have the kind of relationship that you really want.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Escape Emotional Hell - End Your Difficult Close Relationships

The idea our closest relationships are meant to be difficult is a myth.

Life is meant to be difficult; our close relationships are meant to support us in getting through life. In difficult times we bond closer - the relationships themselves should not be creating the difficult times.

They are meant to make us feel good despite what is going on in the outside world. In close relationships worth having you do your best to support the others you relate to, right?

Not everyone thinks like this though.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are thinking 'well I know relationships are meant to be difficult but I did not think they were supposed to be this difficult', and you have been thinking this for some time, it may mean you are missing out on a fact staring you in the face but too painful to face up to yet:

you are not in a relationship worth having.

You may not, in fact, be in a relationship at all. Relationships are two way. At least two people see themselves as being in 'a relationship'; contributing to and benefitting from that relationship and each cares about the experience the other is having. The most important factor is a sense of trust. By thinking highly of them you have opened your Unconscious Mind to this other person and they can now dip right in and affect your feelings directly - so trust is vital.

The main criteria for developing trust in a relationship is that all participants relate. If relating is blocked because of mistrust there is no relationship. Do they mistrust you?

If the other person or people refuse to relate to you as you wish to be related to, if they treat you with mistrust or you find them untrustworthy, you need to acknowledge this and decide accordingly.

Your commitment, your investment of time and love and energy, the hopes and dreams you have for the future of this relationship could be yours and just yours alone.

Those negative emotional responses you might be having, the occasional outbursts of rage or crying or grief in response to how you are treated or not treated and then which you feel guilty or really bad about? Those are signs your Unconscious Mind knows what is going on but your Conscious is refusing to listen to it.

We are surrounded by relationships working just fine without all that angst. The people in them are having no difficulty making them work. They just work. You can have those kinds of relationships too - but you have to accept not everyone is suited to you; not even, unfortunately, blood relatives.

No, you cannot change your blood relatives genetically - but you can change whether or not you relate to them physically and emotionally.

If you are dealing with blood relatives who hold the threat of 'excommunication from the family' over your head while they act abusively towards you, relying on the myth of your having no choice but to put up with it (a myth you yourself maybe perpetuate and need to change) I would suggest you challenge those relationships.

But there is a risk you could lose them. I have. Two blood relatives of mine borrowed money from me continuously week after week for seven years.

One repaid me by stealing from me while the other ended the relationship when I explained I did not mind loaning the money so much as I minded the lack of warmth and communication in our family - when I loaned money I was 'liked' but if I did not loan money or the money was not wanted I was belittled - I wanted us to be a proper family. I was met with a cold, heartless stare and an 'I never want to see you again' in response.

I respected that decision.

There are other blood relatives I have disconnected from for similar reasons - but really I have not disconnected from them so much as made it clear what kind of relationship I was willing to have or not have and stuck to my 'guns'. I used to be emotionally very ill because I could and would not make this kind of tough decision - relationships that do not serve you and the others involved emotionally are a form of self-imposed torture system.

I have not come away from these things completely blameless - I often got very negatively emotional along the way. But I have learned that when I feel helpless in getting a relationship to work it is because usually the relationship is unworkable.

We have no power, right or ability to force others to like, respect or value our contribution to their lives. When we feel helplessness in a situation like this it is because we are genuinely helpless!

The benefit of going through this experience is we get better at spotting, taking part in and enjoying empowering relationships as a result and avoid those potential relationships that would leave us high and dry and possibly emotionally sick again.

Testing Your Relationships

One way to test whether or not you are in a relationship worth having is to ask the other person straight whether or not they think the two of you are in a relationship worth having - when they ask why you are asking just tell them you are going through a phase of testing all your relationships.

How do each of you feel about the relationship? Each of you should be able to explore the highs and lows and the worries and history of the relationship without either of you becoming too defensive. This is not intended to be a slanging match - this is exploring the wonder of having a relationship at all. How do each of you see the relationship developing?

Talk about the future of the relationship. This may seem like a strange, frightening thing to do but we need to bust through that other myth: relationships are like magic and if you talk about the magic the magic will not work any more.

In every single relationship I have had that worked (and still works) this kind of discussion was seen as a perfectly natural and valid thing to have. In those that did not work, and which were extremely painful to work on, these kinds of discussions were a taboo and were met with aggressive responses.

My personal experience is that making tough decisions in this area of life is of primary importance in emotional self-care (not just for yourself but for the others involved, too).

Did this article have meaning for you? Please come and leave a comment on the blog at or mailto

Friday, December 9, 2011

Relationships - An Astrological Look at Possibilities

When a client comes in for an astrology reading for what is current in their lives, one or more of three primary categories motivate them: health, money/career, and relationships. Oh there are lots more reasons for a reading, but those are the three biggies and accounted for probably 95% of the thousands of readings I did over my years as a professional astrologer. Now that I am retired, researching and writing, I get to examine the assumption in more detail and the concept holds true. In this article we will deal with relationships as we explore some of the various charts and techniques that are available to astrologers.

Before you can understand any person in a relationship, you must get a feel for that person as an individual. What does that person bring to any relationship (giving)? What are they looking for from the relationship (taking)? How will they participate in a relationship? The easiest way to determine these preliminary factors in relating is to lay out the two charts for the individuals side by side to try to get a quick fix on the individuals involved and their key issues. Once you have created a picture in your mind of these individual qualities then you begin to draw comparisons between the individuals by comparing their chart positions. Compare Sun to Sun and every other planet or point in your arsenal, Moon to Moon and every other planet or point, etc. This chart technique is not about the individuals as individuals, it is about the relationship between the individuals and how one affects (or infects) the other. This is called synastry and gives the nitty-gritty detail of a relationship.

Most of our computer programs do this automatically and you can print out a grid which details those connections for your reading convenience. For much of my astrological life, such conveniences were not available and I learned to do it by hand, tedious, but instructive. As any good cook making a pie crust will tell you, using the hands makes a more satisfying crust. True, just ask. I do this step twice, not because I am detail crazy, but because they produce two different results, both of which are useful to me. Construct this synastry chart as a double wheel, with person one on the inside and person two on the outside. Then, reverse the positions, person two on the inside and person one on the outside. This is the same information, but the layout and use is different.

How do you read these charts? The person in the center of the chart is primary, the person on the outside is secondary to that inside person. The person on the outside benefits, affects or infects the person on the inside. The person on the inside is a stand-alone about the person as an individual. The person on the outside brings something new to the table which may be a positive, a negative or absolute confusion. Read that chart thoroughly, being sure to keep the primary (I) and secondary (you) in correct relationship (there's that word again.) Now put that chart aside and look at the reversed position chart. Same rules but now the story is about the other person. The number 2 person becomes "I" and the number 1 person becomes "you." Read that thoroughly being sure to keep the primary and secondary in correct relationship. You have just generated a ton of information which can keep the two people busy for decades! But relationship reading does not stop there.

When a relationship occurs, a new entity called "the relationship" comes into being, i.e., Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith as a couple. We are never truly quite the same with any other person we encounter. My relationship with each of my four children is unique and has a shape and texture of its own. Each pairing is a unique entity that must be read individually. These charts pertain only to the unique relationship. It must not be read as belonging to either individual involved because that is a false application. This is tricky to remember when you're reading charts created for relationships. Birth charts are for the individual. Synastry charts are how individuals affect each other. Relationships charts are about the unique relationship itself, not the individuals. Of course, this can also be done two ways.

For the longest time composite charts were the name of the relationship chart game; it was the only mathematically viable choice. The basic premise of a composite chart is: what happens if two people in a relationship meet each other halfway on all issues (a pipe dream). The composite chart does that. It is a construct and not a real-time chart. It filled the bill quite nicely for generations of astrologers. All you had to do was be willing to ignore that it was not a real time chart and participants in a relationship rarely met each other half way on all issues!

Mathematically it was quite easy to add the two midheavens together, divide that sum in half to create a new position halfway between the two midheavens. Do the same procedure for the two ascendants. Planet-wise, same procedure: add the two Suns together, divide that sum in half to create a new position half way between the two Suns. You would then do the same with two Moons, two Mercurys, etc. You lay out the wheel according to the MC/Asc and their intermediary cusps from a table of houses, drop the new planet positions in where they belonged naturally, and then read the chart as a unique relationship entity. This process is so much easier with the advent of computers. Just push a button and out pops a unique relationship!

Many astrologers forgot it wasn't a real chart and relied on it as the total expression of the relationship itself. You would then read the chart as a relationship and carefully correct your clients when they attempted to turn it to a personal statement about their chart and life. That just doesn't work. It must be read as a unique relationship.

An accurate, real-time, trustworthy chart did exist, it was just such a bear to construct, that few astologers would attempt it. You had to find the midpoint in actual time and space between the two birth times, the time standards in effect, dates (365 ¼ days per year, that ¼ could bite you), longitudes and latitudes. When you got all done doing the math, it was a calculated guess because there was no way to proof it without doing it all over again. I was one who would attempt it, but it would take me hours of effort and was very frustrating. I taught it, my students looked at me like I was nuts and rarely tried it. With the advent of computers, accurate relationship charts could be spit out instantly. Eureka!

Sometimes we can be quite lazy. Why throw out what has been working so beautifully over the years to learn a new trick? Composites are still the most popular form of relationship charts. We now have one real chart and one not-so-real chart. The not-so-real has filled the bill for generations. The real chart has little to no history to study, but it is gaining in usage. Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater? I pondered on this for a while and my conclusion was that both charts had value, they simply showed different aspects of a relationship. The composite chart showed the potential of a relationship... what could occur if you met the other person halfway on all issues (not most people's reality), that which lures us into a relationship because we can see the potential. The calculated relationship chart shows the actuality of the relationship, how it really works out in real life in real relationships.

My version of a famous saying is "What you sees is what you gets." Again, this is not my personal experience. Sometimes we get what we see, more often we don't. So how do we determine this in a relationship? The closer the two charts (composite and relationship) resemble each other, the better the chance that you are going to get (real time) what the potential (artificial time) shows you. The more distant or different those charts are, "what you gets is not what you sees!" I've read these charts this way for over 30 years. It works for me. The rest is for astrologers who are not faint of heart.

One other point... If you and I live together, we will be simultaneously stimulated by events, perhaps somewhat different in effect, but occurring at the same time. Therefore, there must be common degree points, with very little orb, to be triggered simultaneously. Orbs need to be tight, 5Ës or less, closer is better, exact (less than 1Ës) is what I'm always seeking. Tight orbs! I have had the good fortune as a researcher and bad fortune as a participant to have charts of entire families and have been able to watch these simultaneous activations. They do work, particularly with major events. Build yourself a family of charts and research important dates for activations.

I hope this article has given you a good overview of the possibilities of reading relationships. Comments are appreciated.

Marilyn Muir, author of
Presidents of Hope and Change: Bringing Hope to our Future by Reaching into our Astrological Past

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Multi Level Marketing Secret - How Important Is The Relationship?

In our lifetime we will have many, many, relationships with those around us and those we come in contact with in the future. Some of these relationships are temporary and may be all that is needed at the time.

There will be life long relationships and those are the kind that we will have to work very hard to retain. These relationships will be between close friends, partners, husband and wife, brothers and sisters, parents and their children. These relationships need constant work which will involve sacrifices and compromises. Sometimes it will require us to move out of our comfort zone so that we can maintain the relationship. The point here is that it is by choice whether we will do what is necessary to maintain the relationship. The closest relationships fall into this category.

Some relationships will bring times of joy, mediocrity and much sorrow. I consider these to be the test to the strength of the relationship and whether it can weather the storm. If the relationship is strong and true it will pass the test and become stronger. True relationships will always remain because both parties are willing to forgive and forget even when they have been injured.

Relationships that are not in the category of strong and true tend to fade away over a period of time or an event that either party is unwilling to resolve. The relationship in these cases was not regarded to important enough to fix. It was determined that the relationship was not needed and one or both parties could do without it. Point here is that it comes down to a choice - personal choice.

In Corporate America the word relationship tends to have a different meaning. We are friends and I will work well with others until I feel I need to step on them to move my career to the next level. I have seen those that were the best of friends become strangers or even enemies because one stepped on the other on the way up the corporate ladder. Thoughts of friendship now turn to I am over you, therefore I am superior to you, so watch out. Seems one of the parties has forgotten where they came from and just casually tossed the relationship away because it was no longer beneficial to maintain. Some of the best and conscientious employees are lost because of this behavior.

If you are in multi level marketing the word: relationship had better take on a different meaning for you if you wish to succeed. There are two relationships involved. There is the relationship that you need to build with those buying your products and services and the second is the relationship you are building with those you are introducing your business opportunity to.

The customer relationship is an individual relationship which you will build into a know, like and trust relationship. This will involve making sure you deliver on your promises of providing a great product in a timely manner. When something does go wrong you need to ensure the relationship by getting involved and help in the process of making things right for your customer. You may need to call the company to inquire what went wrong and work out a plan to make it right. Do not leave your customer hanging or they will lose confidence in you and your company's promise to deliver the product or service. Your customer needs to see you being proactive on their behalf, as it shows them they are in good hands. The fastest way to lose the relationship is to ignore your customer and leave the impression you do not care what happens as long as you get your commission check. Your customers need to know you appreciate doing business with them and you are there for them when the need arises.

The relationship between you and your team is vital for retention of your downline. When you bring your new business partner into your business your relationship should have already reached the know, like and trust relationship. Now you need to let the relationship grow to the next level which means giving more of your valuable time to train them to duplicate the same procedure you have used. The relationship needs to have that open door policy on your part. I am not saying that you need to drop what you are doing that moment but use a protocol that will work to let them know that you will be with them when you are finished with your present task. The relationship will require you to be there for each of your team members when the time arises. You may need to answer the same question or show the same method a number of times before they have learned it. The relationship will require patience and respect for your new business partner. Remember you were where they are now when you first began your venture into online marketing and your mentor took the time to teach you. The relationship you build with your team members can be cultivated into a real friendship that will ensure a successful business venture. If something were to happen to the company you are in, your team will follow you to a new company as long as the relationship is real and strong and if you have been a great leader.

If you do not believe in the relationship approach you are in the wrong business of MLM/Network Marketing. This industry is a relationship driven industry, so be prepared to build relationships and you will begin to magnetically attract others of the same mindset as you. The relationship is key and vital to your success.

David Bruce Mills invites you to his blog and begin your journey in gaining the education and skills you need to be successful online. Your first step in becoming a critical thinker.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Composites - What is the Potential of Any Relationship?

Recently I explored relationships from the standpoint of the individuals involved, which is astrologically termed synastry. Each of the two people in a relationship is viewed individually for their personal relating potential. Once each is individually described, a comparison between the two describes the more intimate details of their story. However, there is more than one way to look at relationships. At the moment any pairing occurs, a new dynamic is produced which is termed a relationship. Relationships occur on so many levels: parent and child, marriage, boss and worker, teacher and student, siblings, in-laws, law and criminal, doctor and patient, stalker and victim, clergy and parishioner, to name a few.

Regardless of how many people we meet and the circumstances under which we meet them, in a split second of time a unique relationship is formed, one that did not exist prior to that moment and will cease to exist if the two people involved choose not to pursue it. Some of these meetings are brief such as a waitress handing you a cup of coffee. Some last a lifetime such as family members or marriage partners.

The bond that occurs between a mother and a child at the moment of birth is unique. After many years of refusing to allow the father to be present at the birth, the medical establishment currently encourages the father's participation. The split-second bonding that the mother has always experienced is now available to the father. Yes! Nothing can equal that incredible moment and nothing can capture it once it has passed without the father's participation. The mother really does not have a choice at childbirth; her participation is mandatory. Many years ago I took a workshop by Joseph Chilton Pearce in which this birth moment bonding process was explored. I immediately went home and told my son and his pregnant wife to be sure they were both part of the birthing process if it was at all possible. Many grandkids later, my whole family encourages this experience because of the bonding that occurs at the instant of birth.

Suppose I have ten friends. Each pairing provides a unique friendship. This takes nothing away from my other nine friends and enlarges each of our lives because of those friendships. I am bettered and my friend is bettered by our friendship. If I am a better person because of that friendship, I will be a better person to all my other friends, family, co-workers, etc. Whatever adds to my personal dimension in a positive fashion affects everything I do and everyone I touch with my more positive self. Conversely, if I am in a relationship that is negative, that negativity also affects all other relationships in which I participate if I am in any way diminished or compromised in the experience of that one relationship. I have been lessened therefore I am less than what I could be with all whom I come in contact.

To me there seem to be parts or stages to relationships in general. There is an initial introductory part... the beginning. Next comes the process, duration and nature of the relationship. A third stage might have to do with endings or finality. This would translate loosely to a beginning, a middle and an end. I am sure there are other divisions or stages to explore. Each stage has myriad possibilities for experience as each relationship is unique. Astrologically we can easily look at the potential of any relationship (the beginning) and we can also look at the reality of the relationship (the middle and possibly the end). At times the potential and the reality of a relationship work harmoniously. What we see is what we get. At other times a relationship does not live up to its potential. What we see is not what we get. It would be helpful to compare both possibility and reality to determine which relationships have a better chance of success in real life terms. In this article we will examine the potential of the relationship using the composite wheel. The reality of a relationship will be covered in a companion article.

The method by which you construct a composite wheel is to start with the natal (birth) wheels of each of the two individuals involved. Briefly, there are 13 major points that are traditional when reading astrologically: the Sun, Moon, and the eight planets, the ascendant, midheaven and lunar nodes. Thirteen points are primary out of a possible 360-degree circle for each person. You construct these points by adding together the two Suns, the two Moons, the two ascendants, etc. separately. Once you have obtained those totals, you divide each of them by two and that gives you the new figures for the composite wheel. Example: Sun #1 plus Sun #2 divided by two equals the composite Sun. The new wheel is drawn by traditional rules and is called a composite. In our modern era, computer-generated wheels do all the work for you. You have a wheel.

At this point you must do a very unusual thing with your mind. You must stop thinking of the individuals involved and keep your focus on the relationship as an entity. This wheel is not about the individuals, no matter how much one individual wants to slant it in their own direction. This map is about the potential of the relationship that is formed not the individual people involved. I am repeating the word potential for a reason. Because of the mathematics involved, this artificial wheel assumes that the two people involved will meet each other half way on all issues, 50/50, and that is not remotely possible in any society. There must be give and take between the two people involved in any relationship but equalization on all issues is a fantasy. The composite allows you to see the idealized potential but may not fit the actuality of the experience over time. Why?

At the beginning of any meaningful relationship, the people involved really have high hopes for the relationship and are on their best behavior to ensure that the relationship continues. This is an unnatural behavior because none of us can be on our best behavior forever. Sooner or later we will relax into normalcy (for us) and that produces change in the relationship. It is not faking or intentional, it is natural. Most of us will do whatever we must to cement a relationship and then we relax. Over time the potential that enticed us may not turn out to be our actual experience. This can be disillusioning and disappointing but it may not be deliberate. Eventually we each will be true to our own selves as the "ideal" gives way to "reality." If we have made the mistake of putting one another on pedestals this could be devastating as one or both fall off those pedestals. The repercussions from such falls can get very nasty.

Composite is the technique that has been easily available to astrologers for many years both as hand-cast wheels and computer printouts. It is an excellent tool for exploring the potential of the relationship and has been the most popular choice of astrologers worldwide. The alternative is called the relationship wheel and is based in reality but was extremely difficult to calculate by hand. With the advent of computer printouts, this wheel has become increasingly available. The body of information and experience to support this alternative technique is growing but far more information is currently available for the composite technique.

How to Read A relationship in its initial stages can be such a delight. Our imagination and our wishes for a good life are in full bloom as we explore the possibilities. The question is will the ongoing relationship live up to our expectations? It is not individuals who disappoint us. It is our unrealistic expectations that cause failure and frustration. A person on a pedestal has only one direction to go and that is off. We might discover that our knight in shining armor is rusty with a nasty disposition or that any female involved may not be the virtuous Maid Marion.

The composite Sun describes the inherent nature and identity of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena of strongest influence by house.
The composite Moon describes the nesting urge and the emotional makeup of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where those issues will play out by house.
Composite Mercury describes the communication and decision-making function of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Venus describes the relating ability and social and financial values of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Mars describes the action, assertive and aggressive functions of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Jupiter describes the expansive, philosophical and worldview of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Saturn describes the traditional, responsible, organizing function of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Uranus describes the forward-seeking, non-traditional, unusual facets of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house. Can you say chemistry?
Composite Neptune describes the imagination, inspiration or the delusional function of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
Composite Pluto describes the power, manipulation or obsessive/compulsive function of the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
The composite ascendant shows the couple's projection, coping skills, and response to the environment of the couple's relationship potential by sign. (The ascendant is the 1st house cusp). This is how the relationship itself is viewed by others.
The composite midheaven shows the couple's drive to goals, stature and potential for success as the couple's team relationship potential by sign. (The midheaven is the 10th house cusp). This is what expresses the couple's need to achieve or accomplish.
The composite north lunar node shows the group interaction and collective influence of outsiders to the couple's relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.

The traditional use of aspects will illustrate the inter-relationship between the composite planets and points. I do reduce the orb of effect to 5 degrees because the composite is a construct and not a real time and space wheel.

Always remember that the composite and the reading is about a couple and not the individuals. Include the word potential in your readings because the composite represents what the relationship is and how it will work if the couple meets each other 50% of the way on all issues.

Composites are quite valuable in the initial stage of the relationship because that is what the people involved are seeing and experiencing. If you have concerns about what you see in the composite as an astrologer it is not easy to get the participants to see your concerns clearly. They see the relationship through the filter of wants, needs and expectations. They want it to succeed so it is difficult to accept that problems may be lurking. Sometimes you have to rain on someone's parade to point out all the facets you see and not just the positives. The reality check occurs in the companion relationship wheel that is based on real-time calculations. Stay tuned.

Recommended reading:

Relationships - An Astrological Look at Possibilities

Relationships - Synastry - Who are You? Who am I? How Do We Affect One Another?

Marilyn Muir, author, "Presidents of Hope and Change: Bringing Hope to our Future by Reaching into our Astrological Past." How astrology predicts our nation's future by reaching into our past.

Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy, Obama: The Lineage of Hope. Using the influential and interwoven cycles of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto to predict issues and trends up to 2012 and even beyond to 2025, Ms Muir leaves us with the clear message of hope as she depicts the future of President Obama at the helm of the USA ship of state. Read the first 36 pages including the charts of all four Presidents - you'll get hooked!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Five Attributes of a Great Relationship

It really does not matter whether you are talking about a business relationship, a friendship or an intimate relationship. You really need to consider these five attributes and make sure that your relationship meets them.

The more casual you enter into relationships, the more difficult it will be to invest the time and energy to build a strong lasting one. If you are quick to enter into a relationship, you will not be careful about making sure the relationship has legs to grow. And for each failed relationship you experience, you will become more cautious and developing really strong ones. You begin to doubt the other person and look for signs that the relationship is not going to work.

The point is to be very slow to enter into relationships. Limit the number that you enter into. Know that the quality of a relationship is far more important than the quantity of relationships you have.

Mutually enjoy each other's company

It is foolish to enter into a relationship with anyone - business, personal or intimate - where there is no mutual enjoyment of each other's company. You must enjoy being with another person for you to enter into a relationship with them. Your enjoyment should be well rounded. Do not be pulled into a relationship where you find pleasure or satisfaction in one limited area but frustration in other areas. If you have to work hard at the relationship, then something is amiss and you need to be honest about it.

Mutual respect

No relationship is going to grow and/or last without mutual respect. This is so important but most people overlook this. If you do not respect the other person, why would you want to be in a relationship with them? Likewise, if they do not respect you, why would you choose to be in a relationship with them?

Respect means many things. Respecting your time, your values, you. It is absolutely necessary for a successful relationship.

Shared Experiences

One of the joys of a relationship are shared experiences. This is part of the glue that holds things together. You need to have gone through some experiences together to make the relationship meaningful. The more shared experiences you have, the stronger the bonds will become.


For any relationship to work on a long-term basis there must be reciprocity. Of course, any relationship is not totally equal. There will always be an ebb and flow in a relationship. But unless a relationship approaches something near equality, it will fail.

If you are giving more than you gain from a relationship, eventually you will tire of the inequality. ON the other hand, if you are receiving more than you put into a relationship your partner will grow weary and break it off or at least withdraw to the point where it is in balance.

Be careful to monitor the relationship and make sure it is in balance. Once it becomes obvious it may be too late. The damage will already be done.


Do you trust your relationship partner to look out for your best interest? Can you count on them to be there for you when you need them?

We often think of trust in terms of an intimate relationship. All long-term relationships must be built on a solid foundation of trust. Without trust there is no foundation for the future. Without foundation, the relationship is doomed to fail.

Look for and foster these five attributes in your relationships to keep them strong and healthy.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Power Of Relationships To Make You Happier And More Successful

The art of happiness may be elusive to some, but research reveals relationships have the power to transform your life and make you happier than ever before. If you do nothing but learn how to spice up relationships, you can master happiness.

The Enormous Benefits Of Happiness

The benefits of happiness are extraordinary. Happy people are more resistant to pain, they bounce back more quickly from illness and are more tolerant of life's bad breaks. Not only do happy people enjoy life more, but they tend to live longer and have more fun than people who rank low in happiness.

In studies of trauma victims, happy people developed fewer trauma symptoms than unhappy people. And fewer happy people developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Who Qualifies

Who should be concerned about their level of happiness? Everyone! Even a happy person can learn to be happier, and reap more benefits by applying basic happiness strategies to his/her life.

By learning the art of happiness you can be more successful, too. Guess what? Happy people are more successful than unhappy ones, and bring a special passion to their work... a passion that clearly shines like a big bright aura whenever they walk into a room.

Tap Into Your Relationships

The art of happiness begins with your relationships. How do you tap into them? Simple steps go a long way... let's go over a few.

1. Pay more attention to your relationships. Start by assessing the quality of your relationships, taking note of the especially good or healthy ones... ask yourself what you could do to make each relationship better. Little things can spice up a relationship, like sending a card or stopping by a friend's house for a surprise visit.

There is hardly a greater compliment you can pay someone than giving him/her your undivided attention. People love receiving attention. Just giving someone your full attention makes them feel good.

Ignoring someone has the opposite effect!

2. Now earmark those relationships in need of attention. When I coach people to improve their relationships, I begin with a thorough relational assessment, that helps us to identify neglected relationships, and we often work on those first.

But you can start without a formal assessment, prioritizing the relationships in greatest need.

3. Decide what to do for each relationship. Let's say you decide to focus on two neglected relationships. You plan on calling one person and offering to take him/her out for a cup of coffee. And you decide to call the other and apologize for your long silence. Now what you do and say when you meet each person is absolutely critical. You may want do a good job of catching up and listening with the first, and speaking from your heart with the second. The art of happiness entails honesty and direct communication.

4. It pays to spell it out. Say the words you need to say to bring the relationship back into the light. Saying that you have missed someone, or you want to keep in touch more often in the future can help, but you have to be prepared to follow-though on your promises, too. Don't get busy and forget about the person right after you meet with him/her! That leads us to the next tip.

5. Stay in touch! Do something nice for your friend every day or once a week. Program the sending of a little reminder of your affection into your computer or phone.

Most people love to receive greeting cards, so I buy or make quite a few and send them out on special occasions... and when they least to expect to hear from me. I've noticed some of my friends keep their cards for months, often displaying them in a prominent place.

Sending a surprise card to your spouse can work wonders, too!

6. Be MORE positive in your relationships and LESS critical. Say positive things, and find the silver lining in every cloud... people will want to be around you! Staying positive is a critical skill in putting the art of happiness into practice.

7. Avoid blaming others for problems; just get busy solving them, and keep your head up. No one has to take the blame. Everyone can be part of the solution, and you'll solve more relationship problems.

8. Have fun doing everything. Bring a playful spirit to your relationships.

9. Wield a sense of humor... it will make you happier and more successful. Play and laughter can really spice up a relationship. Cultivating humor will provide you with a powerful stress tool and keep your spirits up. It will endear others to you. Use a sense of humor lovingly with the people you love.

10. Grow your gratitude. Recent research has shown gratitude can reduce depression and help overcome negative mental states. People who express gratitude and develop a habit of being more grateful are happier and healthier. Gratitude is one of the world's greatest healers, and will help you to solve many relationship problems.

Tweaking or enhancing your stronger relationships can be done by keeping in touch. All you have to do is give a little extra effort to the relationships that are going well. You can deepen, improve or strengthen any good relationship. You probably already know what to do for each one, you just haven't found time to do it! You'll be surprised at how quickly you see improvement in even your most damaged relationships, once you begin to bring some extra attention their way. As you can see, the art of happiness is all about spicing up your relationships!

Overcome Fear

Fear can be a monster that gobbles up happiness. Besides the lack of time, the lack of courage keeps people from doing what they know they should do, such as taking steps to make a relationship right that's gone wrong. Happy people don't let the fear of rejection or loss of approval keep them from taking action. Say what you want to say. Put your heart out there.

Your heart is your secret success weapon.

Never shy away from expressing gratitude, compassion or love. Research shows how acts of kindness and love make us happy and fulfilled, give meaning to our lives, and enable us to build bridges to the stars.

In Sum

Paying more attention to your relationships, staying in touch and speaking from your heart are simple, but effective ways of improving your relationships... and finding greater success in your life. Being more playful can spice up a luke-warm romance. Laughter is a wonderful tool for building happiness and joy in your relationships.

Invest in your relationships and you'll soon master the art of happiness... and you'll create a great future... an exciting future built upon the solid rock of a successful and joyful life.

Richard Hamon is a professional coach and therapist with over 30 years of experience. Richard helps people to solve their relationship problems, enjoy truly extraordinary marriages and find exceptional success in all areas of their lives.

You'll find all kinds of articles on how to spice up your relationships and lead a happier life at Richard's website, Find out about therapeutic services and personal coaching programs to assist you in quickly reaching your dreams and goals. Discover eBooks and other products to assist you in your journey, such as a free relationship quiz to help you assess your relationship.

For more information on conducting state-of-the-art relationships, the latest research on true happiness, and Richard's products and services, please go to:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Your Relationship Will Determine Your Journey in Life

Relationship management

Your ATTITUDE determines your ALTITUDE in life

Equation: Attitude + Eloquence + Relationship Management = GREATNESS

Relationship management is the latter part of your attitude determines your altitude, I have tried to analyse greatness following examples from the bible combined with real life experience and I believe that without any form of relationship or friendship in our lives, we will not be where we are today or who we have become today. A friend once told me that no man is an island and I concluded she meant, we all need people and relationships in our lives though what she said was true I believe that without the application of wisdom in managing such relationships we find ourselves in, it is headed for disaster.

Our attitude will determine our altitude but we cannot get to our altitude if we do not manage relationships/friendships in our lives as such relationships we mostly take for granted and or ignore are such that will define our purpose on earth. In my little time on earth, I have had friends that I have had to let go and vice versa and I have had to go back to some of them despite our differences just to maintain the friendships because I know people come into my life for a reason. God uses relationships to mend and break people and some relationships are divine relationships that will ultimately help define our purpose in life, such relationships must be managed and jealously guarded.

Why is relationship important? Relationships forms the existence of our living, it breaks or mends us. It was fascinating to discover that Moses managed his relationship with his father in law - Jethro so well that Jethro felt confident enough to advice Moses in running his mission on earth. The in - law relationship that many people do not want to hear about or get into mended the mission of Moses - the friend of God; on earth. Jethro created insight into Moses mission, defined Moses abilities in leadership and helped organized his daily tasks that was wearing him out in Exodus 18. God always allows us to form relationships and friendships for HIS purpose in our lives to be defined; He brings people into our lives to complement our weaknesses and guide us in the right path as He did for Moses by bringing Aaron into his life to complement his weakness in eloquence and though God would have performed HIS work through Moses in other ways, God chose to bring Aaron in to support Moses to accomplish his mission on earth.

How do we manage our relationships? First prayerfully engage ourselves in any relationship we find ourselves in, do not get involved in just any relationship or friendship, if your life is an unwalled city, anything or anybody can walk in and where anything goes, there is bound to be failure or destruction. Moses, in the book of Numbers 13:17-20 sent spies to see if the people living in the land of Canaan(the promised land) are strong or weak, few or many and what kind of land they live in either good or bad, unwalled or fortified, what kind of soil the land has, is it fertile or poor? Are there fruitful trees in the land? People living in Canaan had no idea God was bringing HIS people to overthrow their fortified land and occupy their lands but God's people went to understand the relationship they were going to have to destroy or manage.

Every time I find myself in a fulfilled relationship, I found they are relationships that I have prayed to God about and God has used these relationships to bless me in any aspect of my life that I struggle with at any particular point in time and vice versa. I often said to my friends that I choose my friends and my friends don't choose me, I say this because I always look for fulfilment in relationships though there has been friends who have chosen me as well and it has either turned good or sour, good because we connect on a certain level and sour because we did not connect on certain levels, I prayerfully manage such relationships that has turned sour because I believe nobody comes into my life for nothing, it is for a reason, either for me to be some sort of blessing in their lives or for God to use them for me now or in the future. Every relationship or friendships is for a purpose and the purpose is defined when we engage truthfully and prayerfully in such relationships or friendships otherwise the bible would not have said in Proverbs 12:26a that the righteous choose their friends carefully.

Relationship building and management is not only limited to human circles, it extends to the spirit realm as well and as we manage our relationships on earth, let us endeavour to build our relationship with our maker who is constantly at the door knocking to come in and build relationship with whoever is willing. Moses built his relationship with God and God elevated him to be HIS friend, Noah built his relationship with God such that he was the only righteous man found in his generation and God preserved him for procreation of humanity, Abraham built his relationship with God and he became the founding father of faith, Joshua learnt to build his relationship with God while serving under Moses and God decided to bring him to the promised land, and Adam and Eve failed to build their relationships with the maker and lost the glory of God in their lives, they were thrust out of the garden of Eden

Your attitude will determine your altitude and a man or woman who struggle with his attitude will struggle with many other essential and important factors and elements that will lead him to his altitude in life. Your attitude to relationships/friendships you are in will determine the success or failure of your journey to greatness in life; an old adage says show me your friends and I will tell you how far you will go in life. As we embark on a new journey this week, let us search within and as ourselves these questions; am I in the right relationships and friendships? What is my purpose in each relationship/friendship I am in right now? Am I fulfilling God's purpose for my life in these relationships? And Am I impacting lives through my relationships/friendships? Let us also bear in mind that though the secret to greatness explored over the past few weeks are more in-depth than revealed in the articles, the most essential are the ones covered.

Have a fulfilled week!

Ayoola Bandele A chosen generation

My name is Ayoola Bandele, I studied Statistics at university of Hertfordshire, UK and Mass Communication for my National Diploma in Nigeria. I aspire to be an analyst but i enjoy digging deep in the hidden messages in the bible and bringing them to life in my weekly articles. I also enjoy reading diverse books especially inspirational, motivational and biographies of great men and women who have impacted their generations and have brought changes and hope to their generations. You will find my articles to be mostly inspirational, motivational and encouragement linked to the bible and real life situations. My articles are not for christians only but for everybody and are written as the insight and inspiration comes. I hope you have been blessed, inspired and motivated by the articles.

Please leave comments, send questions and rate the articles.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honoring You in All Your Relationships

It's no secret that it takes two to create and maintain a healthy relationship. Although I would agree with this statement, I also know there is a lot one person can do to change the dynamics of any relationship. And since none of us have the power to change another person, it only makes sense that the best place to start in our relationships is with ourselves.

At our local Super Walmart, there is a gentleman there by the name of George. George stands at the front door and enthusiastically greets everyone who walks into Walmart. He smiles at the guests and with a jubilant tone, he asks people how they're doing. When he's not talking to someone, he is singing and enjoying life wholeheartedly. George has the ability to change me and my mood, simply by being who he is. By honoring what is important to him - joy - he brings out the best in his Walmart relationships.

Our lives are touched by many relationships. While most of us define a relationship as existing between two people, there are other types of relationships as well. The one component of your relationships that remains constant, however, is you. So as we explore the relationships in your life, I want to invite you to ask yourself these important questions as it relates to each of these precious relationships.

Who are you in this relationship?

Who do you want to be in this relationship?

What important values do you want to define this relationship?

What needs are being met or not being met in this relationship?

Is respect practiced in this relationship?

Does this relationship give you positive energy? Or does it drain you?

In what ways do you nurture this relationship?

What changes need to occur in this relationship?

Relationship with God

God is your Rock. He is your foundation. He is the Source for an unending supply of love, peace, patience and wisdom. Since God is the Master Creator, He is the central point from which all other relationships are formed.

Relationship with Self

Without love and respect for yourself, it is difficult to love and respect others. An authentic relationship with you is critical to creating honest and open relationships with others. The relationship with self must be nurtured frequently so you can be emotionally and physically available to your other important relationships.

Relationship with Spouse

Although this relationship may or may not exist in your family, if it does, it is the link that ties your family together. This link must be strong enough to withstand the challenges of raising your children and building a healthy family.

Relationship with Children

These relationships are the reason we call ourselves mom. We have been entrusted by God to be their soul provider and protector. Our children depend on us for guidance, teaching, and most importantly, love.

Relationship with Parents and Siblings

These relationships were our primary relationships in life. It is where we practiced how to be in relationship with other people. Depending on what we learned in our early years, we may or may not want to model these relationships. Healing these first relationships significantly affects the health of our relationships today.

Relationship with Friends

Our friends, depending on who we choose, have the ability to be a great support for us. Friends meet significant emotional needs for women, and remind us that fun, sharing and bonding is important for our overall well being.

Relationship with Boss, Coworkers and Clients

These relationships, if we work, take up a tremendous amount of our waking hours. Much of what we experience at work is brought home to our loved ones. Our working relationships can inspire us or drain us, so it's important that we choose these relationships wisely.

Relationship with Time and Money

Although time and money are not human beings, they are precious commodities in our life. How we choose to spend our time affects every relationship in our lives. Our relationship with money holds energy in our lives. We have the ability to attract or repel money depending on how we treat it.

In each of these and other significant relationships, you are a vital contributor. Who you are in each of these relationships can make or break the quality that you experience. So be yourself and align you relationships with your values. Make the time to nurture your relationships because, in the end, relationships are all that really matter.

Lori Radun, CEC is a certified life coach and professional speaker specializing in helping moms be effective leaders of their home and work lives. For the Free Report "155 Things Moms Can Do to Raise Great Children", visit