None of this is new, and there are libraries full of books on the subject of relationships. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the fundamentals. We can get so caught up in the tangle of all kinds of relationships that it’s easy to forget these things.
1. Communication 101
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that someone should have known you better than to say or do something to you? Have you ever wished that a friend, co-worker or loved one would just pay attention to your needs and then act accordingly?
If so, you may suffer from the need for some really basic communication skills. In a nutshell: people are not mind-readers. You need to communicate your needs, your expectations, your feelings, your thoughts.
The other important piece in communication is to listen. Really listen, like stop checking your phone and multi-tasking when someone is having a conversation with you. Be present and pay attention. If you’re looking for better relationships, this is a key. It works beautifully for creating connection.
2. Be yourself
Being fully you while you are with another person is something you might think is a given. It is not. Many of you may not even be aware of how much people-pleasing, approval-seeking, or trying to appear to be something other than who you are is really interfering with just being you.
One example of this is the girlfriend or wife who feels she needs to look or act a certain way in order to maintain a relationship with her mate. This is far more common than you might imagine, especially since it can be subtle. This is actually soul-crushing stuff when left unchecked over time.
Try on some awareness about how you act and feel when you are alone as compared to how you are in the presence of others. Is there a huge difference? If so, maybe it’s time to have a look to see what’s stopping you from just being you.
3. Get right with yourself
The bottom line is that the highest quality relationship you ever will have with another person will never exceed the quality of the relationship you have with yourself. The biggest key to improving any of your relationships is to first improve the one with you. If you aren’t truly caring for and loving yourself, it’s time to find a way to begin doing so. Get some help with this if you need it; your entire outer world will change in direct correlation to how okay you are with yourself.
4. Being with what is
If you’ve ever found that you wanted someone to change their behaviour, thoughts, or feelings, then you are, in essence, not accepting that person exactly as they are. It’s normal. I might even say it’s kind of the human condition. Who doesn’t want others to act the way you would like them to?
However, just because we want it to be so doesn’t make it so. So what are we left to do about it? Well, we can choose to be chronically unhappy, disappointed, angry, sad, etc. about it. Or, we can begin to simply let the person be exactly as they are. What if that could be okay? What if we could acknowledge that that is simply the way it is and choose a different response to it?
This is a huge one, and I’ve included it here just to give you some food for thought.
5. Remember that you have a choice
You actually have the power to choose. In every moment, you have that power. If a relationship is not what you want it to be, you always have choices. You can choose to change your behaviour, your thoughts about it or your reactions. You can also choose to spend less (or more) time with someone.
Let’s say you’ve done all this on your end and you’re still not feeling good about the relationship. At what point do you actually make the choice to end it? As difficult as this may be, let’s face it – sometimes this is the healthiest choice.
This one’s my favourite. There is nothing in this world that can beautifully transform a relationship faster than bringing in this key element. Making this a daily practice can simply change everything. More to come on this in the next newsletter!
There is so much to creating healthy, loving relationships. I hope this very brief overview of some key points will serve as a quick reminder that it is in your power to create what you desire in your relationships.