How The Most Mature People Create Meaningful Relationships

250X250 Banner

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but I seem to have the same problems reoccurring over and over again. Almost as if I can’t escape the grips of my own weaknesses. It’s not that I don’t know what they are either.

I know I’m prideful. I know I’m late. I know I’m selfish. I know I’m blunt with people.

Even more, I realize when I do it. I go home and fill my mind with regret, questions and convictions, “was I too harsh tonight?” Or, “I was so loud tonight, people probably think I’m cocky.” Or, “why can’t I be on time, ever?”

I feel bad about it. I attempt to change. But like many of you, I seem to make little progress.

Until now.

This past week, I was sitting with a group of men discussing personal development.

After sharing some of the deceptive, broken things I’ve done and the behaviors I’ve shown toward people, a gentlemen said to me, “Have you shared your failures with the people you affected, and asked them how it made them feel?”

“Not really,” I responded. “Unless I really hurt someone, I’ve kind of just always let it go.”

And that’s when he dropped the wisdom.

“The pain, shame, and sorrow we feel within a vulnerable apology, or the admitting of guilt, is our greatest teacher. When we have the opportunity to finally see the pain we caused in the eyes of the person we hurt, it becomes a mirror of clarity and a reminder of why we should never do it again.”

Hurtful things unrecognized or not seen provide no growth. We must purposefully bring to light the wrongful things we have done to people, approach them in a form of submission and witness the consequences of our actions.

We must learn that “acting like that, makes people feel like this.”

If we can see the hurt with our own heart and eyes, we will eventually think twice before we make such an offense in the future. Whether it’s being late to meetings, being insensitive with people, or lying to a friend, it’s in these moments where the most mature people grow.

And that’s what I did, this past week I apologized for the many things I have done to my wife. Things I’ve said and actions I’ve made that have hurt her over the past several years. I asked her how I made her feel in those moments. I stepped into that emotion with her. I saw the pain in her eyes. And even though she forgave me, it’s the memory of this difficult and embarrassing moment that will help me from repeating those offenses in the future.

What behavior or attitude or dishonest or hurtful or secretive things have you done to the people around you? Have you just ignored them? Have you just moved on as if it never happened?

My Challenge To You Is This:
Are you brave enough to apologize for where you are weak? To watch the pain you caused in their eyes? Are you capable of stepping into the embarrassment in order to grow?

This is maturity.

Dale Partridge

Some know me as a serial entrepreneur and Founder of Sevenly and StartupCamp, others know me as the guy who can ride a unicycle and still kickflip on a skateboard. I’m on a mission to inspire people. Will you join me?

58 thoughts on “How The Most Mature People Create Meaningful Relationships

  1. Rana Campbell says:

    Loved this one, Dale. It’s often very hard for us to come to grips with the hurt we have caused others. However, when we do, there is freedom.

  2. Jay Cadet says:

    Wow, this is powerful, Dale. While I do this quite often with my wife, I’ve never considered taking the initiative to do it with friends and family. I’ll definitely be making some changes moving forward. Thanks for this gem of wisdom!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      So awesome to hear you’re already taking these steps with your wife. That’s #1 for sure! Good luck in all your other relationships!

  3. Macaira says:

    “We must purposefully bring to light the wrongful things we have done to people”. That requires so much bravery to be purposeful in admitting your sins! Thanks for writing this article, it’s such a powerful reminder to look inward and to demonstrate love to others by recognizing our shortcomings.

      • Karen says:

        A four step process with origins in Hawaii…
        1)I love you
        2) I’m sorry
        3) Please forgive me
        4) Thank you
        It also works at an energetic level if you are unable to be in the same room to have the conversation…premise? heal them and the relationship by healing yourself first.

  4. Dee says:

    Wow, wow, & wow. Not sure who it helps more though. After almost 5 years of tension, arguments, insults towards my husband for something he had done that broke my heart, I was talking with my daughter (not his) about how I couldn’t figure out why I kept the behavior going but yet so miserable. She said ‘You can only punish someone for so long’. I had the ahha moment. Literally I fell to my knees and wept. I had forgiven him long before. But felt I had to keep punishing him until……
    I prayed to God like I never had and begged that he pave the way for me to apologize and receive forgiveness from my husband. That day I did, thru tears. I was so ashamed by my past behavior that I thought he would never understand. Immediately he said to me, ‘I forgive you, thank you.” It took many more days to forgive myself but what a breakthrough when I finally saw how my behavior/mistakes made him feel. And all because I didn’t care how he felt. Probably the biggest lesson learned in my life. I grasp onto daily ‘He who kneels before God can stand before man’

  5. Kathy says:

    Tears in my eyes as I type this. Have been in a depression the past few weeks because of my weaknesses that are the same as yours Dale. Didn’t see a way out until I read this. I also am a Christian and told God last night he had to help me because I couldn’t go on like this. And then I read your message here this morning. Thank you! Thank you! And praise God, he never ceases to surprise and amaze me!!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Isn’t it amazing the way He answers our prayers? So often in ways we do not even realize. We must always keep our eyes open for when He speaks! So blessed He used this blog for you, Kathy.

      • Julie says:

        I am going through a divorce & not by my choice, but I realize now that God has much bigger & more Beautiful plans for me and my children. The past 8 months I have been doing a lot of “self inventory” ( & a LOT of Praying) to learn and grow from past choices and place more focus on Love and the awareness of effect we all have on each other. To do this I have had to look at these same issues (self, guilt, forgiveness of self & others) in order to truly move forward in peace and a positive future. I appreciate (especially from a man) your honesty and willingness to share openly about your own experiences, Thank you. God does answer prayers! Julie

  6. Stephanie says:

    Wow! That is big. I will definitely incorporate this into my life. I had a friend in high school tell me how my behavior, being very rudely impatient with other students who were having a hard time understanding the assignment, made her and the other students feel. I was so embarrassed by my behavior and how nasty I appeared.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Crazy how an experience like that becomes so engrained in our minds! Glad you’re choosing the high road and incorporating bravery and honesty into your life. 🙂

  7. MaggieMae says:

    Dale, Thank You for this powerful article. I have to add a little comment. When I finally had this “ahh” moment and started letting my guard down and apologizing, I wasn’t prepared for the actual venting of pent up RAGE my family and friends had been holding back. I’ve been in Therapy for
    A long time, and it’s hard!!! Sometimes you have to set boundaries, and I learned very quickly to keep my mouth closed and don’t try to defend your behavior, just acknowledge their pain. They need to know that you understand and take responsibility for the pain you’ve caused them. They don’t want to hear my excuses or reasoning behind why I said or did what I did. It’s hard work, but I am beginning to have authentic, true relationships with some of my loved ones that I never knew I could have.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      “Don’t try to defend your behavior, just acknowledge their pain.” This is SO HUGE!!! It’s the farthest thing from “easy”… but it’s worth every moment of vulnerability. Good for you Maggie 🙂

  8. Fred Esposito says:

    It’s a difficult thing to admit when you have been wrong, but it’s even more difficult to talk about it in an open forum to so many people. In the long run it makes you a better person, which is what we are all trying to be. Thank you for sharing Dale.

  9. Ally says:

    Dale I noticed that you removed your monthly income shares — is there a reason? I found those really helpful and inspirational for starting my own blog!

  10. Timothy Frie says:

    Dale, I believe there is a step somewhere between being vulnerable and apologizing that involves acceptance. And this acceptance is what is critical to someone really feeling sympathy and experience true understanding of not only how they made someone else feel, but how they, themselves feel about, well, themselves.

    Acceptance is a hard thing to do though in modern society. Men and women alike are influenced by so many things that share perspective of what we should think, how we should be, and what we should be acting. And when something we know to be our individual Truth comes up, we think it’s “wrong” or that being real with ourselves somehow goes against what we’re “supposed to” do.

    I think what you’ve written about here is even more important to entrepreneurs and those in a leadership position. Because without this level of maturity within ourselves, we can’t deliver maximum value to those we serve.

  11. Nazeefah says:

    First of all, I’d like to say that I’m repeatedly inspired by your articles and hope you continue with your wonderful work

    Coming back, I feel in today’s age of technology, it had become so easy to ‘ apologise ‘ to someone without having to face them, like you mention, see the pain in their eyes..

    I only just realised this as I thought back to the last time I hurt someone asks how i apologised..I’m ashamed to say, it was in a text..
    This has opened up so much for me.. I do hope the next time I need to apologise to someone, I don’t take the easy and cowardly way out
    Thanks again!!

  12. Portia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Why is it that human pride gets in the way of admitting our weaknesses to others? I want to follow your example and apologize to my husband for past things I have said that have hurt him.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Because we are only human. We will make mistakes, and its not ever going to be easy admitting that. We have to learn how to have grace with ourselves as this will be a process. Proud of you for taking the step to make your marriage better!

  13. Fullah says:

    Thank you, Dale… this was a though provoking article. I recently broke up with a man, who talked a ton of smack to everyone in his circle about me. Instead of behaving like a man, he choose to keep my idiosyncrasies to himself and his circle, rather than addressing them with the source. Over time, his irritation with whatever was eating at him about me would eventually bubble up to the surface and I’d get beat down verbally. This madness went for the last year – bottom line, as you stated it takes a mature person to address and clean up their misgivings… without holding information and lying breaks down trust. the only way to rebuild it is to clean up the mess and not pay the “I’m sorry” lip service that so many do to just brush it under the rug and continue with the stupidity. We live in a throw-away society where we can justify so much bad behavior because we can spin the truth in a manner that creates the perpetrator into the victim.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Definitely. Sounds like you have a lot of clarity moving forward. Sometimes it takes a sticky situation to help us see clearer. Hindsight is 20/20. 🙂

  14. Tine Sejer says:

    Hey Dale.
    Thanks for all your great stuff you share with us. I’m looking for some great and honest pictures for my blogs and remember at one point you were having an Add that I looked into. I forgot the name of it, could you help me out?

  15. IsabelB says:

    Thanks, Dale. Spot-on. Unfortunately this only applies to people who are emotionally mature enough to be able to step into the pain they cause. I have a “friend” who gossips, slanders and insults me and others quite often, and even though I’ve revealed my pain repeatedly, it only begets me more insults and denials even when the facts are presented to him. He is an incredibly self-centred and pride filled person, a real mama’s boy who have never been able to face the consequences of his words or actions and own up to it. I am going to step away from this relationship because I am worth more. But if you have any advice on how to interact with the emotionally immature on trying to make them understand the destructiveness of their behaviour – for their own sake in growing up – please share with us, ’cause I’m quite sure I’m not the only one out there facing this dilemma.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Hey Isabel. You are right, you are not alone and your story sounds like the stories of many others! There is no way to help someone who does not want to help themselves. The way we were raised has so much to do with who we grow up to be – how we love, react, treat others, what we do when we’re angry… it all stems back to childhood. Someone who is emotionally immature has things from the past they may not realize are there, I was one of those people. Counseling really helped pull a lot out of me and made me understand myself. BUT, I chose to go. You cannot make someone seek help or force their eyes open when they feel justified. It sounds like your relationship with this person is a one-way street. I would, unless you are married, separate yourself from this person who is causing you so much pain. If you are married, seek counseling. If he won’t go, suck it up and you go first. You’ll learn so much about yourself and you’ll know where to go from here. Good luck, Isabel! You are worth much more than this.

      • IsabelB says:

        Thanks for your insights, Dale. My calling is to the brokenhearted, which this friend is (just a friend/acquaintance). From the moment I met him I saw a world of hurt and trauma lying dormant in his eyes. He, of course, denies that he has hidden wounds. After about 11 months this is still the case, and the toxicity of all these undealt wounds and twisted beliefs is now spilling over unchecked. So I have decided to continue to pray for the miracle his soul needs, and love him from afar.

  16. laura fraser says:

    This is a great piece with relevant and poignant points; thank you. In fact it’s so spot-on that I am considering becoming a Christian! 🙂 (Reading Bob Goff’s book who is also a Christian and inspired by Christianity in action).

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Wow Laura.. this is probably one of my favorite comments EVER! Being a Christian has changed my life. God’s hand has been so obviously place on my life and my marriage and He has saved me from myself time and time again. He makes me a better man, husband and father. Everything good I have is because of the graciousness of God.

    • Sandra says:

      Hey Laura!! so cool to see your post!!! Hope that your quest for God is still continuing and so cool that this post has brought you closer to Him! Will pray for you tonight 🙂 Nothing more exciting as a Christian than seeing God’s work in action through a variety of means!!

  17. Olga Vlasova says:

    I can very well relate to being late and being blunt. And believe me, I know, maybe too well, what other people feel when I am being like that. If anything, compassion has never been my problem. In fact, I think I could use a little more thick skin on a daily basis. Another person’s pain hits me like my own, every time, even if it’s someone I don’t know. It’s hard. Yet, being on time or choosing words carefully can’t be ensured by compassion alone. You need an additional set of skills, like planning, or being a better liar (or shall I say “a diplomat”? :)), or being a better psychologist and knowing what kind of effect certain words would have on a particular person (I noticed that the words I take matter-of-factly feel like an insult to my husband and vice versa). So although your article is very insightful and makes a very valid point, we shouldn’t forget that sometimes changing our natural ways takes a little more than just feeling other people’s pain.

  18. E says:

    Many years ago I attended a psychology group for bullied teenagers. I was often late for meetings because I lived far and public transportation wasn’t always affordable to me. My wonderful mentor name Aurika said to me, after I apologized a thousand times, that I was late because I was meant to be late and feeling dreadful about it would not improve that in the future. She was absolutely right. In my later years I discovered Louise Hay and I changed old thinking ” I do not want to be late” to ” I want to be on time” and “I always have plenty of time to be where I need to be”. Guess what? It worked!!! I am more punctual than I was before and feeling good about it is the key to successfully continue being respectful of other people’s time.

  19. Lynn White says:

    It is so imperative to do more than just say “I’m sorry” but to actually own up to the behavior. It is a healing transaction where both parties get a paycheck. Great step forward and into real intimacy.

  20. JW says:

    Yes, humbling ourselves to our own weakness is difficult, but can’t remember ever regretting admitting it. I think we can all recall times when we’ve benefited from taking that step of faith and delayed a blessing by putting it off.

  21. Kkay Slo says:

    im finding it hard to walk away.

    i been in a lesbian relationship with a married woman for two years. we at work and hit it off right way

    my ex (annika) and her husband invited me into their relationship.
    we laid down the boundaries and it was on his terms to when she would be aloud to invite there for the night.

    within a few months it got to the point where he aloud me and annika to be alone and he would leave the house for 2/3 hours.. we became insuperable to the point it could of broke their marriage…

    we all agreed it would be best to end it all and myself and annika only talk during work and only in a professional manner.. by the end of that year we was unable to not contact each other.

    she was All i fort about all i wanted.
    she said she couldn’t stop thinking Oct meet either. (if us).. she broke her marriage of because she felt she was being unfair to her husband add she don’t feel like she loved him in the way she should of .. we had fallen for each other and that was obvious to anyone.. in the new year we began to start our relationship and it was amazing until a few months back when we had a fight over trusting each other . we managed to recover at first but 2 weeks ago she came home drunk.
    i was asleep when she became very violent to me accusing me of cheating.. she beat me up . she called the police and acted the victim so i moved out, the police officers offered me a lift to my mum’s place which i excepted. i had refused to press charges against her but a few days later the police arrested me on suspicion of ABH. ONCE in custody they recurved another complaint from annika if burglary .. none of the accusations stuck and i want chargers with anything…

    i won’t to show her house much my heart belongs to her cox right now i can’t see where to go with it her in my life.. my future wants her to be there even tho i know she can’t care nearly LD as much as i do.. i can only see the guys thumbs we had and can’t understand y she done it to me and she won’t tell me why .. help?

  22. Flávia Adriana de Oliveira says:

    Hello, there!
    I loved your page.
    Can you translate these texts to portuguese-br? 😉

  23. Goobe says:

    Empathy Schmempathy. Don’t apologize, as it weakens you in their eyes and they will expect further in the future. Develop the social and emotional intelligence to avoid having to do that in the first place.

Comments are closed.