This is part 2 of the three part series on Improving your relationships. Last week was about you, this week it’s about other people.
The roots of a great relationship
People need other people. It’s the way we are made. We need each other to create, to support and to love. We need to connect and to be important to someone. Baumeister and Leary claim that human beings are “naturally driven toward establishing and sustaining belongingness.” As we all know relationships can be some of the most fantastic experiences in the world and some of the worst. It’s up to us to make them wonderful!
Last week we looked at your relationship with yourself, the most important of all. The seed from which every other relationship comes. But now it’s time to look further to grow the roots of your relationships. A relationship isn’t just between lovers, it’s between every one you are close to. If you grow deep healthy roots in your relationships you will be stronger and happier in your life. It’s as simple as that!
I know, I know it sounds hellishly complicated, however I promise you it’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact in 6 easy steps you can grow the roots of healthy relationships with anyone in your life.
Know your boundaries
In any relationship you will have to make compromises so it’s important to know your boundaries, to know what you want, how you want to be treated. To know what you will and won’t accept. By loving yourself you know that you deserve to be respected.
Remember this doesn’t just go one way. Other people have different boundaries and these also need to be respected. You may have heard the saying we hurt the people we love the most. Unfortunately it is true so you need to think about how you would like to treat them.
Think of a relationship you already have or one you want to have .Write a description of that relationship describing how it will be in the future. How can it be a healthy, respectful and caring relationship.
An ex taught me the phrase “Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups”. It’s true. We know our internal world so well,that we often forget that people can’t read our internal dialogue. We know exactly how we want to be loved and yet we forget that this is not always obvious. Stop assuming and start explaining. Instead of taking offence, ask if the person meant to offend. Explain to a loved one how you would like them to help you when you are having a hard time. And yes this does work with children and colleagues too. (Obviously with a change in how you use your language). However remember that this goes both ways so invite the other person to explain their inner world. It is a new habit to train, but once in place makes life sooo much easier.
Forget about perfection
In any relationship there will be challenges. People are different and we can’t always get along. So don’t expect otherwise. What you can do is choose how to respond to these situations. Do you react or respond? Can you agree to disagree? And most importantly can you take the move to communicate and heal the situation. In a healthy relationship our egos have to be put aside for them to work.
If this is not possible you then have to ask yourself how important is this relationship in my life, does it serve me and the other person. If not you know what to do..
Healthy relationships just don’t work without honesty. If something is bugging you about the other person and they ask you what is wrong, don’t answer “nothing”. How is that supposed to help? The problem can’t be fixed if you don’t explain what it is. And obviously lying is a complete NO GO!
Be kind and loving
It sounds stupid to mention it but be kind and loving. We often forget to be kind to those we love or are close to. Kindness with no thought of a return goes a long way. After all it’s the little things in life that count after all. Mr T for example today posted on Facebook how proud he is that I passed and exam. It meant so much to me and has made me feel happy all day 😀
Laughing, taking time for each other and making it important to have fun with the people in your lives is what makes wonderful memories and relationship so worthwhile. So arrange to have some fun with someone you care about and be as silly as you can!
Find someone who you want to improve or build a relationship this week and try the six steps. It’s amazing how our relationships can be enriched with a little effort.
Tune in next week to find out how to grow and blossom your relationships until then have a wonderful week getting closer to the people you love.