Improving your relationships : Part 3 – 8 tips for improving exsisting relationships, you get what you give (5 min read)

This is the final part in the 3 part series about how to improve your relationships. In part one we looked at the seed of any healthy relationship, the relationship with yourself. Last week we looked at the roots of growing a healthy relationship and this week we are going to talk about  how to create relationships that grow and blossom.

Starting a relationship is for the most part relatively easy. Whether with a lover, a friend or even a family member; there is an underlying attraction that draws people together. At the beginning. Often after the initial excitement the relationships energy trickles away.

Imagine two children on the playground they meet, find something in common, become best friends, the bestest ever best friends, two days later one of them meets another child and has a new best friend.

As adults our relationships often can and do follow a similar pattern (albeit over a longer period of time.) And after a while you may find yourself wondering where are these people who were once so special in your lives or why do your relationships start out with such promise and then turn into nothing. This is the point where you need to take action and get out of some destructive habits.

Someone once told me it takes more energy to work at having a healthy relationship than it does to make a successful business. And it’s true .However work does not need to be difficult, it can be easy when kept simple. You basically get what you give. With a little effort, patience and sometimes compromise your relationships will blossom. At the same time you will be able to identify if a relationship is good for you or not.

Here are 8 guidelines to having a healthy, happy relationship with anyone in your life – try them and enjoy the blossoming of beautiful relationships. For best results do this conciously with the person who you want to improve your relationship with, so you have the best chance.

(Remember these tips don’t just have to be for people you have an unhealthy relationship with, you can also use them to improve healthy relationships too !)

  1. Make time

In a busy daily life it’s easy to miss spending time with the people who matter to us. We often take the attitude that they know us so well that they will understand. However as I said in my previous article assumption is the mother of all fuckups. People do get fed up of being ignored and naturally drift away to find relationships where they are important to someone.  Mr T and I have increasingly busy lives, in fact some days we will only see each other for half an hour in the whole day. So we make a point of sitting down and eating dinner together every evening we are home, even if that is only for 15 minutes. It makes the opportunity for us to check in with each other. Another solution we have found is five minutes cuddle before sleep. And my favourite is date night. One evening a week just for us.

Of course not everyone can have the luxury of a whole evening together. For example my Mum and I live in different countries and our weekly time tables do not sync at all. However we make the effort to write to each other over facebook and skype once a month. So make time for your relationships, 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, an evening or once a month, it will make a massive difference with a minimum of effort.

2. Don’t expect – talk

Ugh Expectation. One of the major issues in every relationship. Have you ever planned an evening for you and someone special that was completely not how you wanted it to be and you ended up disappointed. Of course you have, we all have.

The challenge is that we all have our own expectations, they way we expect things to be. And we also have the expectation that those who know us  will automatically know and fulfill our expectations. Unfortunately they can’t. And at the same time they are expecting you to know and fulfill their expectations. A destructive catch 22. Or is it?

Of course its not break that cycle and tell them what you want. And ask them what they want. It’s really that simple. If you are going on a date or a holiday explain your expectations. I have an arrangement with Mr T that when I get upset about something he has to ask me do I want a ‘fix’ (a solution to the problem) or a ‘hug’ (comforting and listening). It saves the traditional “you’re not listening to me” conversation as a man tries to fix the problem while a woman pours her heart out.

Direct honest communication is a foundation to any relationship, explaining and discovering expectations takes communication to a healthier level.

3. Agreements

And this naturally brings us to agreements. Making an agreement and sticking to it goes a long way in any relationship. And I don’t just mean the we agree to meet at a certain time and place kind of agreements. I am talking about small agreements we can make to show others that they are important to us and that we are important to them. For example it could be that you like the bed to be made and your partner is the last person up so he does that and at the same time he loves smoothies so you make him one for breakfast and leave it in the fridge for him. Making an agreement is different to doing little random things to make people smile. It’s an agreement between two people that says I love you and I appreciate you, so even though I don’t care about the bed being made every day I do it to make you happy.

4. Compromise

Compromise. An oldie but a goodie. We are not all the same no matter how similar we might seem. Compromise is a nutrient to our relationships. It is a question of how important is it to be right or get our own way if this damages our relationship and hurts someone we care about. Suggesting a compromise solves arguments and discord. It is giving a little to create something stronger and more beautiful. However it is a two way thing, Both of you need to make compromises to balance the relationship.

5. Treat people how you want to be treated

It actually as straight forward as it sounds. Send out a loving vibration and it will get mirrored back to you. Fun Surprises, stupid notes in hidden places, an unexpected present or even a funny meme sent on facebook shows someone you care. The more you do it, the more they will do it for you. (And if they don’t then reconsider that relationship)

6. Sorry  and Forgiveness

We all argue. We all say hurtful things. We all hurt the people we love the most. For some reason it’s in our nature. Saying sorry should be the easiest thing in the world however sometimes it isn’t. You have to learn to let things go, it’s in a way the same as compromise. If you have done something to hurt someone, even if unintended say you are sorry.

At the same time if we hold on to something that hurts us we actually only hurt ourselves. If you want a person in your life that has hurt  you then you have to truely forgive them and tell them.

The best part about saying sorry and forgiving is the making up! Make sure you make up and create the happy energy between you, even if it’s just a tickle fight. Shifting the energy will make everything alright again.

7. Have fun, share experiences and make memories!

Not only is it important to spend time together, it is equally important to share experiences and make memories together. Of course this often happens naturally, however if you feel as though your relationship with someone is getting stuck in a rut then liven it up by making a memory together. I love this part. I especially like to do it on birthdays. They happen every year so if you try something new or do something lovely you will remember them all and make people happy.  Also try doing something you really want to do together. Last summer I invited my Mum and Brother Rob to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour. It had been years since we had last done something together as a family. Now we have had a day we will never forget. So shake things up and do something different together, it makes a memory that will keep you both smiling long after the actual day.

8. Check in with the status of your relationship

Throughout this series I have been using the metaphor of a plant to represent the healthy growth of a relationship. However there is one other important time to take into consideration, the time when the plant dies.  This does not necessarily mean that the relationship will die. After say 6 months  I use this as a metaphor for evaluation. What have my efforts manifested? It could be some of the things I have tried didn’t actually improve the relationship so I can drop those. Or it can be celebrating how my relationships have grown and blossomed in which cas it’s definitely a good idea to do this together.

However by conciously trying to improve your relationship with someone you may also have noticed that they are not putting in the same energy as you. It’s at this time you have to ask yourself is this reelationship healthy for me? Do I want this relationship in my life? Can this relationship be saved? (if so talk to the person and use some of the advice above) Or is this time to walk away from a relationship where I am not valued and find a relationship where I am. This is going to be a whole another topic for another article in the new year so if you need some help with this then keep your eyes peeled.

Give your relationship an evaluation after 6 months of using all the tips and advice in this series and see where the relationships in your life are going.

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So that’s the end  (for now)  of my series on improving relationships in 2016, more tips and advice will be coming your way in 2017.  Rememeber the basic road to improving your relationships are easy to remember just think of a plant’s cycle  the seed, the roots, the growth and the letting go.

Let me know how it’s going using these tools to grow a healthy relationship in your life and especially what you found the most useful in the comments below, or on the Re:root facebook page. And if you find something that works that isn’t on here, then please please share it so we can all benefit from your experience.

Have a lovely and loving week and just remember you give what you get, it’s that simple <3

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#Lifelessons101- Little acts of kindness go a long, long way; also known as the Punk and the Doll’s knickers ( 2 min read)

In childhood there are events that shape us, change us and are often the first flutter of our life beliefs forming. One of the most profound moments in my childhood actually came about because of a pair of dolls knickers and has taught me life lesson I have never ever forgotten.

At a very short age (not sure of the numerical age, I can just remember my world perspective as being surrounded with legs), my Mother and I were walking along a very busy pavement in a local market town. Mum had a firm grip on my hand and in the other hand, was my beloved rag doll Jemima, dangling in the traditional way a small child can hold a toy.  She was my pride and joy, a copy of the Play School rag doll that my Mum had made for me. She had a blue and white spotted dress and knickers to match.

If any of you remember the doll she had long arms and legs, with not so much in the way of hips. Which unfortunately meant she had a habit of losing her knickers. Who knew that a child’s toy could be such a jezabelle!

Now as I said before it was really busy. In the rush, and being so small I got knocked about a bit in the bustle. I can remember clearly seeing a man in a blue suit striding towards me. He of course hadn’t noticed me, bashed into me and I went flying. So did Jemima. So did the knickers. The suited man looked down at me, made a frustrated tch sound and walked on his way.

A kind voice beside me helped me up and handed me Jemima. The voice was accompanied by the biggest pink Mohawk I have seen to this day (it was the 80s) , a smiling face full of piercings and a leather jacket covered in patches and safety pins. Scary looking but smiley. He popped me on my feet, dusted me off and gave me to my Mum. We walked off only a few minutes later to have said punk running after me holding Jemima’s lost knickers. (He too was obviously a Play School fan too.)

I don’t remember this part but my Mum has told me (countless times) that I turned to her and said “Isn’t it funny Mummy. The man that looked nice was nasty. And the man that looked nasty was nice.” In that moment I learnt two of the most important lessons in my life. That kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and that people’s appearance doesn’t always reflect their inner personality.

According to my Mum this was around 36 years ago and yet I can remember it as though it was yesterday. (I still own Jemima and her knickers too. )It’s amazing the impact these moments can make in our lives. A moment of truly seeing the inner person. An act of kindness,no matter how small, can make a huge difference in the world.

So I challenge you this weekend. Go out and do one small act of kindness for a stranger. Make an impact and send a ripple of positive kindness out into the world.

You never know whose life you may change, even if  you are punk holding a pair of dolls knickers…

 

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#Lifelessons101 – Positive banks, storing the memories you love (2 min read)

We all have memories that make us happy, Facebook is full of photos testifying to that. But what about the memories you can’t photograph. Life is full of little moments like that. Little things that make us happy and glow. But a few days later they are gone, forever forgotten.

But what if you could keep those memories. Store them up for times when you need the happiness boost the most. Well the good news is you can!

What you need my friends is a Positivity Bank.

You will need a sealable container. (This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple jam jar will suffice.) And you will need a lot of paper. The idea is simple. When something good happens that makes you smile, proud or happy, you write it on a slip of paper, fold it up and put it in your bank.  This can be anything small or big.

Once the bank begins to fill up you can take out your positive memories if you need them or like me you can store them until the end of the year and read them all at once. The greatest thing is that when you read the memory you get a sensory memory of how you felt, even what you saw at the moment you have written about.

A positive bank actually provokes stronger memories than all of the pictures on Facebook. Although if you combine them you do get a wonderful energy boost and insight into how fantastic you and your life is.

Positive Banks are a simple and beautiful way to bring a smile to your face and give you a feel good feeling that lasts all day. Start your positive bank today and store away the big and small special moments that make life worth living.3414cc6edfbf287e5b41773b5151e126.jpg