A relationship is like a puppy. Everyone wants it when they see it, some of us actually take it home, but only a few can live happily with it. For some, the puppy runs away; for others, it is untrained, unruly, and disrespectful; for others, its neediness is never-ending and annoying; and for others, the interest in it wanes completely once it turns into a full-grown dog.
When it comes to relationships — and puppies — we would all benefit from a training class. For one task we have the Dog Whisperer; for the other we need the Love Whisperer. The Love Whisperer quietly guides us back to our hearts by reminding us of one very simple equation called the EROS equation. Let me first show you how it works, and then I’ll share it in more depth.
One year on my birthday, my husband and I were on our way out to dinner in celebration. We live on Maui and had selected our favorite Thai restaurant on the other side of the island. Back then, there were no big-box stores and no Internet, so if we needed something, we often had to order it from a catalog and wait. That made the arrival of the big-box stores a big deal, and it just so happened that the newest grand opening was a hardware megastore that we would be driving past on our way to dinner. So my husband asked if I minded stopping in on our way to the restaurant. While hardware stores are not my favorite places, I agreed to the short detour.
After oohing and aahing at the sheer volume of tools and lumber, we walked out the front door just as a newly hired teenager was unhooking a water hose from the hot dog kiosk. Somehow, she did something terribly wrong, and what felt like a fire hose sprayed all over my husband and me. Dripping wet, we tried to figure out what we should do. I’m guessing that because we were in some sort of shock, we didn’t do anything at first. Instead, we discussed our options and their potential results. One of us suggested that we tell the girl, who’d made my beautiful flower leis and my extremely curly hair go limp, what a dumb mistake she had just made. We both agreed, however, that if that had been our daughter, we wouldn’t want strangers yelling at her or making her feel bad. We considered demanding something, but a lifetime supply of hot dogs wasn’t going to make me feel better. In addition, we didn’t want to cause her to lose her job, especially because it was supposed to be my happy birthday. One by one, we explored possible ways to get even and dismissed them, because the outcome just didn’t match our values or our goals. After deep deliberation (emphasis on liberation!), the solution we finally decided on was to go home, change our clothes, and go somewhere a bit closer for dinner. We ended up having a lovely evening.
Of course, things could have turned out very different. We could have gotten mad at the girl, putting all of us in a bad mood, while not altering the fact that we were drenched. And I could have gotten in a fight with my husband, blaming him for the fact that we were at the hardware store on my birthday — never mind the fact that I’d agreed to go.
What we did instead was use what I call the EROS equation. EROS stands for Event + Response = Outcome and Solution. Events are what happen — anything everyone else says or does, everything external — and they are unchangeable. When we operate unconsciously, we think that the event is what makes us feel the way we do, when in reality, as in the equation, it is the addition of what we think, say, and do in response to what happens that
creates the outcome and leads to the solution. When we misguidedly think that the only solution to the equation is contained in the “event,” we render ourselves victims of outside circumstances and give away our power for happiness, love, and joy. When we choose responses in alignment with our goals and values, we can create powerful solutions.
If you make it your mission to superimpose this equation over everything that happens in your life, you will be empowered to realize that there are response options that lead to pain, arguing, jealousy, unrest, and the destruction of your relationships, while others lead to joy, peace, love, happiness, ease, and the ability to make relationships thrive. It is our response/ability to make choices that lead where we want to go. The power of the EROS equation is that when we truly apply it in our relationships, we discover our immense power to not only find love but also to feed it, grow it, and enjoy it.
The good news is that the Love Whisperer dwells in your own heart and soul. All you have to do is turn up the volume to hear its mantra: “Choose love, choose love, choose love.”