TEDx Talk on Relationships


The following is taken from my recent Tedx talk.

I was honoured to be invited to speak alongside my partner, Julia Cameron, at TEDx Stormont in Belfast Northern Ireland last week on the topic “It’s about time.”

Our talk was about relationships and how to get the most out of your time in them.

Here is a written version…


First Scenario

Jules, “JP, I’m telling you, it’s a 9.”

JP, “I’m not a fool; it’s a 6.”

Jules, “Are you kidding me? Why can’t you see it’s a 9?”

JP, “I can’t believe we’re fighting about this; it’s a 6, end of story.”

Jules, “Ugh, you’re being ridiculous, I know I’m right; it’s a 9.”

JP, “I’m right, you’re wrong!”

Jules, “No, I’m right.”

JP, “I don’t have time for this!”

Second scenario…

Jules, “JP, I’m telling you, it’s a 9.”

JP, “Well I see a 6 from my side. Let me come over and see your side. Aaah, ok, I can see your point of view, and I understand. So that you can see my perspective and where I’m coming from, would you mind coming over here?”

Jules, “Ohhh Ok, I get it. I totally understand and now I can see your point.”

What amount of time have you already wasted arguing in relationships where you don’t actually get anywhere because you’re both trying to prove that your way is the only right way?

How much better would your relationships be if you had the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, expressing your own views and at the same time being able to understand and appreciate the views of the other person?

Have you considered that everyone in this room might be having a totally different experience of today based on his or her mental blueprint, which is partly made up of your highest values?

We all have 24 hours in a day, 86400 seconds. In today’s world we all live busy lives. We are more focused on being successful human-doings as opposed to fulfilled human beings and we often neglect our relationships due to the perception of having a lack of time.

There is no such thing as finding time; you make it. You don’t search for it; you create it. To maximize the value of our time and our life it is important to be able to identify our highest values. Our values are our rules for life, what make us happy, and are central to everything that we are.

Understanding our values gives us better connection with ourselves and with others, making it easier for us to make better decisions. Knowing our own and each others wants and needs allows us to communicate with clarity, getting the most out of every conversation and interaction.

In our relationships we are either moving forward or falling behind. We are either making the most of our time or wasting time. Your time is way too valuable to be wasted on people that don’t accept you for who you are.

When you understand your loved ones values you can clearly see why they choose to do what they do and support them, as opposed to questioning their actions and motives.

When you don’t understand each others values you expect your partner to see what you see, therefore always living in expectation, but when you understand that you clearly live in different worlds you can move from expectation to appreciation, allowing you both to shine bright in your own light.

A relationship is two people coming together in one beautiful energetic dance and through identifying each others values you can open up, share who you really are, and share your worlds together. Living in accordance with your highest values means living by what makes you happy.

You can elicit your values in a few different ways. One way is to look at what you were missing as a child. Anything that was a void in your childhood you will do anything to avoid in your adult life.

JP, “For example, as a child I never really felt that I had any choices. I had a tough upbringing, I got bullied and at times there was little to no money. Therefore from my perspective there was a lack of freedom, a void. In my adult life, doing everything to avoid this, freedom became one of my highest values.”

Another way to elicit your values is to look at where you invest your time, money, energy and thoughts. For example, what activities give you the most energy, what kind of books do you most like to read, what kind of people do you surround yourself with, and what kind of experiences do you most like to have?

Jules, “I for example love being creative through cooking and I could spend hours doing this, I also love dreaming up new ideas that inspire me so clearly one of my highest values is creativity. Knowing that one of my partner’s highest values is freedom by objecting to the amount of travelling we do I would be stepping on what makes him happy.”

JP, “Likewise, if I don’t allow Jules the space and time to be creative I know our relationship will never fulfill her.”

Jules, “Recently JP told me he really wanted to go away for a few days and spend some time alone in nature, meditating, running, reading and connecting with himself. Initially I took this very personally and it triggered my insecurities. I thought, “This is the end, he doesn’t want to be with me”, but after taking a breath I checked in with his values and was able to reassure myself that his decision actually had nothing to do with me and the state of our relationship and was simply based on him getting his values met; freedom, connection, and nature. If I was to have a problem with this I would not be honouring his values and I could not expect him to honour mine. It is important to honour our own values and also respect that others don’t necessarily live in your world.”

JP, “Some people in this room might judge other people for not “sticking to one thing” or for having their fingers in many pies at once, but with Jules having creativity as one of her highest values I know that what most fulfills her is being a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and that doing one thing and this alone would absolutely bore her to death and for this reason I honour, adore and encourage her creative mind.”

You can’t see what you can’t see so if you don’t know what you are looking for how are you ever going to find it.

With Over 7 billion people in the world there are a lot of people out there, all with different wants, needs and values. Rather than randomly picking from the lot, get clear on what makes you happy then go find someone that is in alignment with that.

All of our lives are unique puzzles, go find the unique piece the fits yours.

What do you love?… What do you value?… What is most important to you in your life, What makes you come alive?

Is it freedom. Is it fitness, is it communication, is it compassion, is it growth, is it gratitude.

As Elvis Presley said, “Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything that you do.”

Part of being happy as a whole means having a happy emotional home and our emotional state dictates the quality of our life including our experience of time. We are either coming from a place of abundance or scarcity based on what we are focused on.

If you know your values and what makes you happy you can fill up your own cup, and rather than enter a relationship from a place of lacking, keep your cup full and give what overflows to your loved ones.

When you are not happy you wish your time away, whereas when you are in a happy fulfilled relationship you appreciate and cherish every moment. There is no such thing as the perfect relationship there is only a perfectly imperfect one.

When we blame our partners for our lack of fulfillment our focus is outside of ourselves and this often leads to us sabotaging our relationships.

You see, it is our responsibility to fulfill our own values. If and when you do this, anyone that comes into your life adds extra value to what and who you already are. Whereas, on the flip side of this, if you don’t fulfill your own needs and you then go looking for someone to fulfill them for you, at the beginning of the relationship when they do you’re over the moon but if they stop fulfilling just one of those needs you then blame them for not making you happy, you tell them they’re the one at fault when the truth is you’re the one who was unfulfilled in the first place.

If you are looking for a relationship from a place of lack you will never be fulfilled and you will always have trouble finding a healthy relationship. You will always be disappointed as a result of living in expectation.

Here’s the thing, don’t make your focus that you need a relationship, make it that you want a relationship. A relationship adds to the whole that you already are, in a great relationship one plus one equals three.

From today promise yourself to love people for who they are and not who you expect them to be. Now is your time. Go find what and who makes you happy.

Work out your values, figure out what’s important to you, get the most out of your relationships and have the time of your life.

JP & Jules

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