Do you know your IQ? The number basically represents a person’s level of intelligence, their ability to reason. It can be an important factor in how successful a person is in life. The scores can range anywhere from genius to average to moron. (There is literally a “moron” range, and we’ve all known a few of those. ☺)
A person’s IQ is important, but what’s vastly more important is our RIQ, our relationship intelligence quotient. Logic, analytical reasoning and book smarts are fine, but unless you live on a deserted island for your entire life, your ability to relate to others will be THE most important factor in determining the quality of your life. Being relationally intelligent is a far better indicator of how happy and successful we will be in life than is our reasoning ability. (Why our schools spend so much time on math, science and history, and little, if any time on how to relate in healthy, appropriate ways is beyond me. But I digress.)
People who don’t know how to relate with others in healthy, conscious ways rarely experience success in life or love. Too many of us are geniuses in one area of our lives, and average, at best, in our relationship lives. Far too often, our lives are filled with drama and conflict. Our relationships are shallow, enmeshed, dishonest or distant. Agreements aren’t kept, feelings are not expressed and healthy boundaries are not set and enforced. A low RIQ leads to much suffering and chaos.
We even fall into the trap of seeking dating advice, dating tips, how to write a profile for on line dating. When we begin thinking that way, we end up looking for signs our husband is cheating (or our wife). We think the answer is in relationship advice, simple relationship tips and other nonsense like that.
I don’t know what my IQ is. I would imagine it’s not all the impressive. I’ve never been accused of being a rocket scientist. But my RIQ is pretty damn high. Of course it hasn’t always been that way. I was a “moron” for most of my life. Conscious relationships were not taught to me in church, school or my home. Quite the opposite, in fact. And full disclosure demands that I tell you that I still have “moron moments.” (Just ask my wife!) But over all, I’m pretty intelligent when it comes to relationships. Hell, I better be! I’m a relationship coach, for crying out loud.
The reason I bring this up is because there’s a huge misunderstanding about what a healthy, conscious relationship is and isn’t. Now, I’m not saying my perspective is THE Truth with a capital “T.” But the principles I, and thousands of others, live by produce authentic, fulfilling relationships. So there’s proof in the puddin’.
It is assumed that high RIQ people would never experience and express anger in relationship. They’d never set a boundary, that if crossed or ignored, would result in the end of that relationship. In other words, relationship geniuses never intentionally end relationships. That’s seen to be a failure, to be evidence of a low RIQ.
It’s believed that relationship geniuses are supposed to maintain relationships and friendships with everyone, to go with the flow, to fudge on their boundaries in order to maintain harmony. And relationship geniuses are supposed to be “compassionate” with those that drain and deplete their energy, and stay in relationship with them just because the other person wants the friendship to continue. Relationship geniuses, it’s mistakenly thought, would never initiate a divorce, they would never “de-friend” someone on Facebook, they would never tell someone they no longer wish to have any contact with them. To experience such things, means you’re a “moron,” not a “genius.”
Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, NOTHING could be further from the truth. Let me give you a concrete example.
I have a “friend” on Facebook (she doesn’t live in the U.S.) that is a colleague. We’re in the same organization and do similar coaching. I recently de-friended her because after a short discussion about a post of mine she didn’t like, she just went off, criticizing me, judging me, saying I’m two-faced and so on. She also then trashed me to others in the group.
Now, I’ve got no problem with people disagreeing with me, presenting a different point of view and doing it with passion. It literally happens all the time. I am open to feedback, and in fact, welcome it. I learn a lot from other people’s perspectives. But this person crossed a boundary of mine, which is, I don’t want to be close to those who are mean and toxic. Simple as that. If you’re consistently mean and toxic and self-righteous, you’re off the island.
Let me state this emphatically: It is not a sign of a low RIQ to end relationships, personally or digitally, with those who are mean and toxic. It’s actually healthy. I’m open to feedback; I’m not open to attack. It just isn’t going to happen in my space. I end relationships with those who are not willing to take 100% responsibility for their experience and instead villainize and gossip about others who don’t see it their way. Period.
Another person found out about my decision to end my digital relationship with this colleague (that’s part of the gossip I’m talking about), and sent me a message that said, “How can you ‘defriend’ another [colleague] especially in that you are a ‘Relationship Coach’ ???”
Now, set aside the details of the situation and notice the assumption this person is making. What happened isn’t important. The assumption is. The assumption is that a ‘relationship coach,’ a person with an assumed high RIQ, would never ‘defriend’ someone, draw a boundary and enforce it. Relationship coaches should make nice, smile sweetly, bend over with great love and compassion and say, “Thank you mister! Can I have another?” Wack!
I often tell my clients this: If you’re in a relationship with Mike Tyson and he hits you, that’s on him. If you go back for round two, and he hits you again, that’s on you.
Now, sometimes, as I said earlier, I have “moron moments” and I’m hear feedback to that effect. That does happen and I have no problem admitting it. But most times, what’s revealed is a false and dangerous assumption that those who are geniuses in relationships never have boundaries, never enforce them, never express anger and never walk away from relationships.
Here’s why it’s dangerous. If you have that assumption, if that’s what you believe a healthy relationship is, you will strive to live that way. Therefore, you may never set and enforce boundaries and you may allow others to take advantage of you, control or manipulate you and maybe even abuse you. If you assume that in a healthy, conscious relationship, anger and rage are not fully expressed; if you think you’re supposed to stay close to people who suck the life out of you, if you think you’re supposed to keep being friends with those that don’t keep agreements, break confidences and gossip about you, you’re inviting a lot of misery into your life. Believing such things is a sign of a very low RIQ.
You will find that those who live lives of impeccable integrity, those who have high relationship intelligence quotients have intentionally ended relationships with many, many people. They guard their space and aliveness tenaciously and they only relate with people who are committed to taking responsibility and ending blame, criticism and judgment.
So, I’m inviting you take an inventory of your relationships. You don’t have to attempt to maintain a close relationship with mean, toxic, self-righteous people. You can and should walk away. It’s a sign of having a high RIQ.
But before you go, be sure to ask yourself the following key questions:
First, what was this person in my life to teach me? What is the lesson I can take from our relationship? Remember, every person in your life has been consciously or unconsciously invited by you. Nothing happens to you; it happens by you. Therefore, as mean and nasty as they may be, in a strange way, they are your ally, your teacher. So learn the lesson you brought them in to teach you. If you don’t, you’ll invite another person into your life to teach you that same lesson.
Second, before you end the relationship, discover why they pushed your buttons so much. What core story of deficiency did they trigger? The way they treated you, the things they said or did, what does that reflect back to you about yourself? How do you interpret their actions? What does it mean about you?
You will find it will come in an “I am _________,” statement, something like, “I am weak,” or “I am unlovable,” or “I am wrong,” or “I am a failure,” or “I am unsafe,” to name just a few. The only reason you were triggered in this relationship was that their words or actions pushed your buttons, or touched your “soft spot”, which I call one’s core story of deficiency.
You may have heard me talk about being a certified facilitator of Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries. The inquiries are a profoundly powerful process of facing those triggers, those core stories and unwinding them, seeing through them. I suggest you consider working with me on the buttons other people are pushing in your life. If you don’t, others will undoubtedly push them and you’ll be in the same situation you’re trying to get yourself out of now.
So before you walk away from any relationship, first ask yourself what they were here to teach you, and secondly, what core story were they reflecting back to you? Once you have done your work in facing those two questions, then you are ready to end the relationship peacefully, without drama and in what’s called “one out-breath.”
I did my work around the person who was mean, toxic and gossiped about me. After that, I felt peaceful and clean and I simply wrote something like this to her: “I no longer wish to have any contact or interaction with you in the future. All the best, Roy” And I meant it, even the “best” part.
Setting and enforcing boundaries is just one aspect to having a high RIQ. There are others, of course, but if you master this one, you’re energy, happiness and success in life will skyrocket.
Don’t be a moron. Enforce your boundaries but do your work first.