While Kathlyn heads off to Honolulu to teach one of our 3-Day conscious loving seminars, I'm happily engaged in the run-up to the publication on April 21 of my new book, The Big Leap. It's all about what we've named the Upper Limit Problem. Between now and when the book comes out, I'd like to share with you some of the key points from it. I'll be out on the talk show circuit in April and May, and could really use your help in giving me some fresh examples of your experiences with the Upper Limit Problem (what our students affectionately call the ULP) to use on various shows. Please share them in the Comments section below.
What Is The Upper Limit Problem?
The ULP is the human tendency to put the brakes on our positive energy when we've exceeded our unconscious thermostat setting for how good we can feel, how successful we can be, and how much love we can feel. The essential move we all need to master is learning to handle more positive energy, success and love. Instead of focusing on the past, we need to increase our tolerance for things going well in our lives right now. If we don't learn how to do this, we suffer in every area of our lives. As we bump into our Upper Limit Problems, relationships suffer greatly. In fact, the greater success you achieve, the bumpier your relationship tends to be.
Some years ago John Cuber and Peggy Harroff did one of the few in-depth studies ever done on the relationships of successful people. From studying the relationships of 437 successful people, the authors found that 80% of the people they studied had unsatisfying marriages and long-term relationships. Only about 20% of the couples had relationships the authors called "Vital." The other 80% had three main styles of unsatisfying relationships:
1. Devitalized. In these relationships, the partners remained together in spite of having fallen out of love with each other years ago. They had been "going through the motions," sometimes for decades. The relationships often looked okay from the outside, but there was little or no passion between the individuals.
2. Passive-Congenial. In these relationships, the partners had never been passionate about each other in the first place. Their relationship was based more on affectionate friendship, much like business partners. Their expectations were low, so they were seldom disappointed with each other. Because of the low expectations, they didn't fight much and so remained together in a state of ho-hum harmony.
3. Conflict-Habituated. In these relationships, the partners had created a lifestyle based around constant conflict. Whether engaged in low-level bickering or heated conflict, they remained together as long-term combatants, interspersed with periods of truce. They seemed almost to thrive on conflict, which provided them with an adrenalin-infused state of ongoing arousal.
I felt a wave of despair when I first saw these findings. If these highly successful people had such dismal relationships, was there any hope for the rest of us? It's been twenty years since I first saw this study, and with those years has come considerable experience working with people and their relationships. I don't think the overall statistics are any different now than when Cuber and Harroff first published their work. In other words, I think the majority of successful people still have dismal relationships. Now, though, I know a lot more about how they got that way. More importantly, I know a lot more about how they can avoid falling into the traps that many successful people get stuck in.
I'll give you more details on how to deal with the Upper Limit Problem in my next post.
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