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The Fourth Way

Credo
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You and I are in a relationship, which I value and want to keep. Yet each of us is a separate person with unique needs and the right to meet those needs.

When you are having problems meeting your needs I will listen with genuine acceptance so as to facilitate your finding your own solutions instead of depending on mine. I also will respect your right to choose your own beliefs and develop your own values, different though they may be from mine.

However, when your behaviour interferes with what I must do to get my own needs met, I will tell you openly and honestly how your behaviour affects me, trusting that you respect my needs and feelings enough to try to change the behaviour that is unacceptable to me. Also, whenever some behaviour of mine is unacceptable to you, I hope you will tell me openly and honestly so I can change my behaviour.

At those times when one of us cannot change to meet the other's needs, let us acknowledge that we have a conflict and commit ourselves to resolve each such conflict without either of us resorting to the use of power to win at the expense of the other's losing. I respect your needs, but I also must respect my own. So let us always strive to search for a solution that will be acceptable to both of us. Your needs will be met, and so will mine-neither will lose, both will win.

In this way, you can continue to develop as a person through satisfying your needs, and so can I. Thus, ours can be a healthy relationship in which both of us can strive to become what we are capable of being. And we can continue to relate to each other with mutual respect, love and peace.