Man, oh man…relationships sure can be hard to maintain sometimes. Whether it’s with your family members, friends, co-workers, business partners, etc. It can be really difficult keeping track of everyone’s needs in a relationship, which may lead to various miscommunications and misunderstandings. I do want to say that the relationships that are meant to stay in your life will be easy. Obviously, they still need some maintenance and you will still need to put your time and energy into these relationships. But at the end of the day, I feel that the best relationships will not be forced.
Mind you…every relationship will have their obstacles. That’s completely normal. I truly believe that the one thing that makes a relationship great is learning how to communicate and empathize with each other. Maybe sprinkle a little compassion in there too (I mention compassion a lot in my blogs because I really do believe it plays a huge role in empathy and caring for others even when we’re placed in difficult situations).
If I’m being completely honest…I’m not an incredible communicator myself, but I am surely at least trying to be a good one to start. In my opinion, I don’t believe I grew up learning the ‘proper way’ to communicate. It didn’t help that I was an extremely shy child, so my mom couldn’t really get me to do anything on my own until I got older. Although, when I got older, I don’t feel like I had the best role models when it came to communication. I wasn’t necessarily taught to be a bad communicator by no means…but I did happen to adapt to certain things which resulted in me also adapting to certain habits. I learned to just brush things under the rug if I felt like there was going to be conflict, and I learned to communicate through others to avoid confrontation. Also, I learned to get super defensive if I was ever confronted because of the way things were approached in the past. I actually really hated the way I would react, and the way I still do react actually, because it turns me into a different person. These habits still do affect my current relationships at times, but I am trying my best to break them and to learn new ones. Back then, I knew there were different ways to communicate my feelings, however, I was way too scared to speak up for myself. At least until I hit a ‘rebellious stage’ or until I was pushed past my limits. I mean now it’s almost
no problem. The last few years have really taught me how to use my voice, and that confronting things is okay as long as it’s not in an aggressive manner. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions need to be discussed in a relationship of any kind, especially when you feel you have been mistreated or wronged. Pushing things under the rug typically only causes more damage to your personal well-being and most likely the relationship itself as well. Although, I will admit that there are cases where it may be better to cut your losses and accept things for what they are. Yes, it’s important to communicate what you want or need, but it is also important to spend your energy communicating with someone who will communicate back.
Along with communication comes listening. Communication and active listening come hand-in-hand and share an interdependent relationship with each other. A few tips on how to be a good listener are to: give people the space to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling, reflect on what they have said before responding reactively, be fully present while the other person is sharing, and show interest in what they are saying. There are other ways to train yourself how to be a good listener but I believe these are the most important and relevant. I do have to admit that sometimes I can really, really suck at listening. For some reason, my mind always seems to be bouncing from topic to topic, and I have this extremely bad habit of interrupting people. I am really trying to break that habit because I know how rude it can be and honestly, I do really want to be a good listener. My mind is just a chaotic place to be honest. At the end of the day, I believe it is important to just try your best and to show that you’re trying to be a good communicator and listener.
I believe that every relationship serves a purpose in our lives. That being said…something I have learned over time is that we can’t expect everyone to provide the same things to us. This can go for really any relationship in your life, but I think where it becomes more noticeable is in friend groups. I feel that it’s important to accept that each friend serves their own purpose in your life, just like you serve your own purpose in their life. For example, your friend Isabelle might be more of a ‘resourceful friend’...you know, someone you can go to the gym with or go grocery shopping with vs. your friend Riley who is more artsy and spiritual who you can have paint nights with and go to yoga classes. I mean those are very vague examples but hopefully you understand what I am trying to say. In my opinion, I believe that it will be beneficial to find a common ground and accept that you can’t have the same expectations for each person and relationship in your life.
Another big thing in relationships is showing genuine appreciation and gratitude. Honestly, I think it is the cutest thing when a friend straight up hits me with the “I love you and I appreciate you so much” card. I swear it brings tears to my eyes because it gives me such a nice feeling inside. It makes me feel wanted, cared for, appreciated (obvi), loved, and just happy to know I am being a good friend. You can show your gratitude in all sorts of ways: buying a small gift for them, writing a letter to them, buying their fav coffee, posting an appreciation post, doing the house chores for them, buying/sending flowers, etc. It doesn’t always have to involve money, because I know money doesn’t come easily. It can be small little things too that help out their daily life.
A few other tips on creating a safe space in each relationship are:
o Be open and honest
o Show acceptance and understanding
o Be reliable and dependable, especially when they need you most
o Show respect and build trust
o Make them a priority in your life
Over the years of learning how to be a better friend, partner, family member, etc…I have learned that it is also important to build up your self-awareness and self-acceptance for who you are. It is important to recognize your downfalls just as much as you recognize other people’s downfalls. However, I think it’s important to also remember what you’re good at and what you provide for others as well. Be aware of what you bring to the table and what improvements you can make to better yourself and to better the relationships in your life. It can be a long and lengthy process working through past trauma’s and experiences, but eventually you will become even stronger and wiser than you were before. Your relationships will thank you for your commitment, and I truly believe that YOU will also thank yourself for putting time into healing.
I hope this week’s blog put some things into perspective. I am very passionate about this topic because we, as humans, are very reliant on our relationships in life. Most of us thrive off of being social and having support from other people. This means that we also serve as a support system for others. Therefore, it is very important to prioritize these relationships in order to create a safe and reliable space for each other. This is another reason why I chose to create this blog, because I know that some people may not always have the support they need when they need it.
I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to read this blog or even just to browse my website. I am extremely proud of the commitment I have shown with this blog, and I truly do hope that you guys are enjoying it too. Thank you guys so much again and happy Tuesday! Cheers xx