Making Your Relationships Better And Stronger
konknaijagirl | On 23, Feb 2013
Any type of relationship, whether it is between family members, people we work with, friends, or customers we serve, takes a lot of work to maintain and build upon. And much of the cement that improves our relationships rely on developing trust, compassion, and acceptance of the other. We also have to acknowledge differences and individuality and personality has to be taken into account – no two people are alike or have the same interests, and while you will naturally seek commonalities to share, accommodating both differences and compatibilities is essential for long-lasting connection.
Get To Know Yourself
If you don’t know your own needs, wants, preferences, and limits, you risk using relationships as a source of your own validation, which can easily lead to co-dependency, clingy behaviour, aggressive possessiveness, manipulation, or other unhealthy reasons for wanting to be with others. Knowing yourself enables you to be a creative, uplifting force rather than a destructive. Take some time to know yourself, learn to be comfortable with your own company and yourself, appreciate yourself and you will find yourself able to revel in other’s successes, achievements, and strengths rather than resenting them.
Get To Know Other People
It isn’t easy learning all you can about a wide range of people but it makes so much of a difference that it is definitely worth it; an open, observing, respectful mind and making a little effort means that even people who cross our paths once in life can touch us deeply just by being interested in us as a person. Ask Questions, Share your views, Be open to learning about other people’s values.
Think about the cab driver or the hairdresser or barber who engages you in a conversation about your life rather than acting like they couldn’t care less whether you were there or not and only going on about uninteresting things. A successful rapport and the business you bring to them is often brought about simply because they acknowledge that they’re in a relationship with the customer as a human being, not as a consumer. Take time to build rapport, no matter how brief a connection with another person, and you will be greatly impressed by how much easier your interactions with others become.
Remember That Good Relationships Are Based On Living, Loving, Giving and Sharing
Sharing creates harmony in a relationship. Harmony and balance are a part of a good relationship structure. Remember that relationships are not about you: they are about the interaction and the connection between you and the other person.
Living means letting others live as they choose insofar as that doesn’t infringe the dignity of others around them; don’t try to change people or direct their life’s choices – while there is room for guidance, don’t force your preferences onto others. It also means actively enjoying being with other people by being present for them and truly listening to them. Cultivate being present as the best gift you can ever give to another human being.
Loving means giving of one’s love for others wholly without conditions. This is probably one of the hardest things to do for most relationships because sometimes our sense of care for another person loses perspective in our sense of responsibility or feelings of worry for another person and we seek to place conditions on our love as a way of shaping the outcomes we hope to see for them. Try very hard to get beyond that temptation and simply love people for who they are. If you see negatives, don’t make those your primary vision, keep concentrating on the gem underneath.
Be ready to face difficulties and problems within your relationships as they come up.
Letting problems in a relationship build up is a recipe for fuelling misunderstanding and anger, which can ultimately lead to a rupture in your relationship. When discussing things openly, be circumspect about what you say, stay focussed on the point. Talk to one another openly about feelings, issues you have, and concerns about things you’ve heard or being told. Avoid prejudging by gossip or communicating with malice but do seek to clear the air when someone you interact with seems to have said or done something that reverberates negatively on you.
Avoid Pinning Or Measuring Your Worth On Being Part Of A Couple Or A Family
For those who come from broken-down family situations, there can be a deep yearning to recreate a family that “works”. There is nothing wrong with this desire provided you do not let it cause you to abandon enjoying the life you have until that is achieved. Continue to be part of the lives of those family members whom you still relate to and care about they are still your family, and they can be a source of strength and grounding. Find other people in whom you can rely upon for love and support, such as good friends, extended family members, or people who have meant a great deal to you through life. We’re all one human family after all.
At times, many of us come across as needy precisely because we feel we’re not whole unless we’re part of a couple. Being single is not always a choice but it is important to make the most of it when we are in this situation and to continue to reach out to others as a friend and as a fellow human being rather than constantly seeming needy and lost. Learn to spend time with yourself in positive ways, seeing being alone as healthy rather than lonely, and as simply another spectrum of your complete self.
Be Willing and Ready To Take Full Responsibility For Your Actions and Words To Make Your Relationship Work
After childhood, you are expected to be responsible for what you say and do; unfortunately, there are many adults unable to grasp this simple notion and who feel safer, for one reason or another, in placing blame for their own inadequacies and actions onto others.
After a time, this causes relationships to falter because nobody wants to be at the receiving end of being blamed for things all the time, and it is stressful, demotivating, boring and exhausting to be around someone who constantly blames others but never takes personal responsibility for anything. One very fast way to improve many relationships is to remove blame from the equation, to accept responsibility, and to find solutions instead of complaining, its not their problem, its an ‘our problem’ situation, its not exclusive of you, you need to do your bit to make it work.
Put Yourself In The Other Person’s Shoes, View things From The Other Person’s Perspective
Sometimes we want to be understood, stop talking and fixating on a negative you have decided yourself and simply listen to the facts, try and be reasonable, don’t take an attitude of ‘its not me who has got into a problem’ or Well I am not the one who has a problem. Take a moment to really digest what the other person has said. Don’t assume you are circumspect and have not got it wrong, don’t approach the table armed with preconceived ideas and opinions and judgemental inputs about the other person. Instead of relying on hearsay, or reverting to a time when you know that the person has become upset and reviving issues, show and repeat your understanding of what the other person has said back to them (the gist, not verbatim).
Keep summarizing what the other person has said until they agree you’ve nailed it. Then start seeking a compromise rather than bombarding them with what you think they “don’t get” about your side of the story. This is important especially if you really want to build a relationship with that person, you can’t rely on deferring to external reasons why they don’t agree with you, accept that they are human and be sensible.
Watching TV series Tinsel a character called Angela was often portrayed as being ‘insane’,'untrustworthy’, ‘unreliable’ and on many occasions ‘mentally ill’. Almost all the time Angela was attacked with the stick which was most comfortable by others, it was alright to assume she did not have a right to get fed up or angry or even a bit cranky but easier to simply write her off by taunting her with the knowledge that she had a mental health illness in her past.
A great many times, being continually put down or beaten down can be enough to drive a perfectly sane person to the brink of insanity and turn them into a nervous wreck. Having information about someone’s past and continuously reminding them of it when in all likelihood they may as adults have sought closure to that phase of their life and developed a means of controlling an insurgence of it in their future can create a dismal, sad, damaging and unhappy existence for the person who is at the receiving end.
I recall a reunion of old students meet which was held regularly and where a very close school friend would not attend no matter how much she was cajoled. When I questioned this with her one day when we were alone, she said, ‘you know, think about it, it was funny when I started Uni and met old school friends and we would sit and occasionally we would regale each other about the fun we had at boarding school’ ‘ It was fun until my friends who didn’t go to our school would be there and suddenly someone would pipe out with an exaggeration or uncomfortable memory of something that occurred while essentially we were still growing from being children into adulthood’
‘After that, I started to get afraid if I saw anyone from our College because some folk who heard these stories actually took the information in as though that was a description of me in the here and now’ ‘ As it went on, I started to get fed up, frustrated, and concerned, and actually started to be afraid to socialise’ ‘Eventually, after rebuilding my confidence and seeking closure all over again using good friends and religious mentors who counselled me when I got down and supported me, I concluded that actually, some of my old college mates were insane; caught in a time warp of superiority and infallibility where they could not see their own failures and shortcomings, never mind the fact that for nearly 2 decades we had not even spent up to a day together, they still felt they were authoritative sources of information about me, they showed jealousy, envy and sometimes got offensive and very personal.’
‘I knew I had to stop hanging out with them, because I am the master of me, my children need me to be sane, emotionally stable and capable; my family and friends love me, these people….they are not even what I would call my friends, we just knew each other way back then, In college, I could not choose who I shared a bunk bed or room with, but now I can choose, I choose to grab a pizza, or bake with the children, Go outside and garden till we are muddy, get out the activity box, sit and paint finger paintings with my children, get messy and roll over on the floor, eat icecream and giggle over a cartoon and make a mess in the house, I don’t have to put up with superficial prats who don’t live with me and have not seen me for two decades, waste my time listening and waiting for the “do you remember” routine; so I leave with my mind all choked up and feeling like I belong in the shadow of their self proclaimed success; that would make me stupid.’
The Key is Put yourself in their shoes – It is impossible to truly know another person’s motivations, reasons, and actions until we look with care and listen with an open heart. It is easy to dismiss a person because they have done or said things we’re not in agreement with or because we feel hurt on a superficial level or feel more superior or better and prefer to lick our own wounds instead of looking at the real motivations underlying their intent or our intent. Is it possible that your own actions and reactions are causing another person to react to you in a way that makes things harder between you? Consider this before you speak or act and your relationship will improve.
Believe, Trust, Respect And Assume Good Faith.
Believing in people and trusting them is not always easy. Certainly, there are people who will abuse your trust and won’t live up to your belief in them. However, it is always far better to assume that others will do the right thing and that they will seek to live up to your belief in them than to view the world through fearful or angry lenses.
Even worse it is dangerous to view someone through lenses borrowed from someone else and simply blame them for your behaviour, attitude or action toward another person. By all means use your wits and common sense about what doesn’t feel right when interacting with other people – you don’t want to end up physically harmed or emotionally abused – but try to be a source of encouragement and enlightenment for other people in your life by giving them an indication that you do believe and trust in them above all.
It is far harder for people to break trust and to let another person down when they are fully aware of that trust and belief and that to break it they must make active choices that bring about harm. In many situations where coercion is absent, assuming good faith about a fellow human being will bring you the reward of a much improved relationship, and could even result in a lifelong commitment to one another as friends or trusted partner
Expecting and insisting that someone is to remain or is the same person they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago is both unrealistic and unfair. Do you want to be remembered as the same person you were 5 years ago, or have you grown and changed in that time?
Good relationships make space for growth and both parties accept this growth in each other. In fact, not only allow this space but nurture it; help the person to become more and more the person they feel best as, and help them to grow their strengths and rely upon those.
If someone has not changed at all, you don’t need to find flimsy excuses to prove that or indeed to find far fetched ideas to bring your visions of who you want to believe they are into the open, stop! opinions formed under a set of circumstances that may have affected the reaction and affect a person brings to the table are usually not circumspect and are fallible. Think about it,… Bringing out the best in others is one of the greatest experiences of being part of relationships, whether it’s family, lovers, students, staff, coworkers, friends, customers, whoever!
Nurture your relationships
Everyone young and old and any living relationship needs nurturing to flourish. If we are left alone, left untended, left uncared for, and unappreciated, the survival rate is not good. This means setting aside time, however brief, to spend with this person. In intimate relationships, the time needed together will be far greater than the time for a boss with an employee or a retailer with a customer, but in every single case, the time spent must be dedicated, focused, and of quality, in order to nurture the relationship. Give your full attention, show that you care and that you’re interested, and be mentally and emotionally available when you spend time with another, give credit with a handful when you dish up a bowl of negatives, don’t just stab at people with negatives like a frenzied psychopath.
People who cannot find a good thing to say about someone else or who bend over backward to find bad things in others in any capacity are not normal, it means that as a professional or as a friend or colleague, you are riveted on yourself, you see yourself as an authoritative person who knows everything there is to know and you cant be wrong. Many individuals are damaged emotionally by being continually put down and shunned and struck down at every turn by negative critiques, don’t approach a situation with an ‘challenge me’ lens, don’t manufacture the truth or ladle lard over a boiling person. It means you actually are the one who has all the failures you say they have, because you cannot see good things.
There is an adage that goes ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ its a good way to check your actions, conclusively no one person is perfect, no one is an angel, but we all have some good in us and if we want to relate to others better we must see that and they will see the same in us too.