How To Actually Have A Positive Relationship
Every relationship needs a bit of working on, no matter how long it has been or what you think they know about you. One of the most common things that affect a relationship in a negative way is that we learn to expect. Expect that they ‘should’ know us, how we feel, what we are thinking, and be on our wavelength. We assume that we know them, what makes them tick, what kind of mood they are in, and how to make them feel better. But, the long and short of it is that, well, maybe we don’t. Here are a few things to do to experience healthier relationships in your life.
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The first, and in my opinion, the most important thing you need to do is to understand yourself. The relationship that you have with yourself will reflect on all the others that you have. Whatever you bring to a relationship will decide on how you are in one and how the other person is towards you. If you are a people pleaser than you will never feel truly happy as your pleasure comes only from the pleasure of others and you cannot be responsible for them 24/7. No matter what you do they will always end up having a bad day.
Knowing yourself and what truly makes you happy will help you to live in a positive space and positively affect all the relationships that you have.
How to know yourself
Be self-aware – get to know yourself and how you ‘tick’. By gaining this understanding you will be able to choose what you think and how you feel at any given time. Knowing your triggers means you can choose to control them and address what sets them off in your relationships. Understand your wants and needs – most people will be able to tell you what they don’t want but hardly ever what they do want. In fact, when I have asked some of my clients what they want they have never even considered it before. If you don’t really know what you want or why you have specific needs then you will probably never be fulfilled or happy.
You will also need to address your maladaptive needs as they will keep you in a negative pattern. Learn what your values and principles are – we have a tendency to live by the values we have learned from others and sometimes life can feel incongruent because of this. Living by your own set will enable you to live authentically and align with people that live the same.
Do it because you want to
When I first started working with clients, we spoke a lot about the importance of compromise. How we all needed to give something in order for the relationship to be a success. What this had a tendency to lead to, however, was animosity and a ‘you give, I give’ mentality for people. Compromise has a negative connotation – ‘I am giving something up!’
Nobody really wants to think they are sacrificing in this way, as what they are giving is not being given freely. So now, nobody compromises. This will play out differently depending on the type of relationship you are thinking about, but remind yourself of what is the best thing for you to do. An example of this is that if you really care enough about someone then doing something for them is about doing it just because you care. Being happy that they are happy?
Giving something to someone because you want to is a great way to ensure a happy and healthy relationship. It needs to feel congruent and authentic to you to be able to make it an ‘I want to’ or an ‘I could do’ rather than a ‘should’. Notice though that I say do it because you ‘want’ to and not that you do it because you think you ‘should’ or feel you ‘have to’, they are a completely different thing entirely.
In a healthy relationship, this will be reciprocated.
Learn about each other
As I mentioned, when we embark on a relationship, we get to know one another and then start to assume that we know each other. What is common however is that we get to know them from our own perspective, from what we need and what makes us feel good.
In the book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman he says that ‘your emotional love language… maybe as different as speaking Chinese and English’. An example of what he means is that is if you feel loved by someone telling you and I feel loved by receiving lots of affection, you can tell me that you love me until the end of the earth and I still won’t feel like you love me. And if I constantly cuddle you, then you will not feel it either.
Take the time to understand what the other person really needs to feel cared for and don’t forget to tell people what you need too!
Communicate – (positive and negative)
How often and how well do we actually communicate with others?
And how often and how well do we think we communicate with others?
We have a tendency to communicate something when we ‘need’ to and when we ‘need’ to it is generally something negative.
Take some time on a regular basis to communicate something positive to someone. When they do something good/nice/well, tell them.
When you have something negative to say remember that the person you are telling may not be in the right frame of mind to receive it, so set up a time to discuss things when everyone is in the right frame of mind to talk. Relationships can be complicated as we are all individuals with our own ways of doing and seeing things. For yours to be healthy you need to take the time out to understand yourself, reflect on what other people need, and then live the best relationships possible.
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