Relationships are tough. This is not new knowledge, but it seems that staying out of trouble with others is even harder now than it used to be. I have some opinions about why I think this is, but I believe it is more productive to focus on what to do about it. My three recommendations follow.
- We need to make sure that our relationship with ourselves is healthy. It is difficult to be in a good relationship with others if/when we are not in a good place with ourselves. It is important for us to feel good about ourselves or we can allow others to treat us in a manner that is not healthy. We need to feel confident without being arrogant. We need to know and understand what we need from relationships, and make sure that we are giving that to ourselves. One example is that I do not appreciate others who do not listen to me, and who act as if they know what I need when such isn’t even clear to me. I need to listen to myself and have the courage to act on what I know I need to do. When I feel that a relationship with someone else isn’t what it needs to be, I need to make sure that my relationship with myself is. Only then will I be able to behave in a manner that is positive and productive with others.
2. We need to manage our expectations of others and refuse to make assumptions about what they are thinking or doing, and why. This is difficult when we communicate through technology, especially texting. It makes no sense to me that some people do not answer texts, and/or do not do so in a timely manner. You might wonder what I mean by “timely manner.” My standard for answering texts, emails, and phone calls is twenty-four hours after having been received, or sooner, when possible. Yes, we can miss seeing a text when it comes in. So, why not check our texts a couple of times a day? Most texts deserve a response, if only an emoticon, so the other person knows it was received. And how do we interpret no response from someone who usually responds? This is a slippery slope. We can send a follow-up text, such as “just want to make sure you received this.” That can, however, irritate the other person, especially if they have not responded because they did not want to because they are not happy with the message they received. I have decided to let it go, unless I have a “need to know,” not just a “want to know.” I also want to avoid making assumptions about the no response. After all, communication is difficult in the best of circumstances, and some people are better at it than others. Please know that I am not implying that I am better at this than others. I fail at this at times. This message is for me. If it helps anyone else, I am glad.
3. Dr. Stephen Covey’s habit “Begin With The End In Mind” can save us a lot of heartaches. Before we do anything, including say anything, we need to determine our desired result. Hopefully one of our desired results is to maintain a good relationship with the other person. How we say what we say, and whether or not we even say it, can determine whether we are able to do so. I have had some negative feelings about some of my close connections recently. I have decided that were I to be open about those, it would likely cause a problem in the relationships that might not be repaired. I have also recognized that if the others wanted to do differently, they would. This is another example of us needing to change our expectations. If there is more positive in the relationships than negative, we can weather these storms. If not, the relationships may have served their purpose. Some people are in our lives for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime. Those to who we are connected for a lifetime require and deserve more of our emotional energy and commitment. We need to be able to let some of what can bother us with others who aren’t our lifetime connections go.
Relationships are important. We all need to do everything we can to make our relationships the best that they can be.
I just finished listening to the audible version of Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown, and I highly recommend it. I have written before that I do not appreciate Brené Brown’s use of profanity, and this book includes that as well, and adds absolutely nothing to its message. But she is so wise, and I have decided to overlook the profanity for the benefit of her wisdom.
I wish you a wonderful Spring, filled with sunshine and flowers, and great times with people who you love and who love you.