How to improve your relationship
Every relationship is unique. And every relationship requires you to tackle it in slightly a different way. Your relationship with your mother is not going to be like your relationship with your partner. And your relationship with your friend is not going to be like your relationship with your coworker. But, there are some common things to remember in every relationship that you have. Regardless of what relationship you are dealing with, they will help you maintain the relationship, have more fun, and get more out of it.
1. Have Authentic Conversations
Always remember that as hard as it might be, authentic conversations are necessary to make the most out of all relationships in your life. When you are authentic, the other person can feel it and you feel better about yourself, and that strengthens the bond you have with them.
That means you need to speak the truth, even when it seems scary to do so. The truth is what helps people understand you better, relate to you better, and like you more.
This should be done from the start of a relationship to avoid trust issues. But, it’s never too late to start being authentic.
If you are in a rocky relationship or feel like the people around you don’t trust you, this is one of the most important things to remember moving forward! Once you start speaking your truth – and maintaining that way of communicating – you will earn the trust of everyone around you and create much better relationships with them.
Another thing to remember is that if people don’t know the authentic you, then your entire relationship with them is a fraud and you will always be unhappy. They are in a relationship with someone other than you, and they will never be able to understand your needs, dreams, and reasons for doing what you do.
2. It’s Never All About You Or Them
A relationship has two people, which means that both of those people need to be heard, validated, and allowed to be themselves in the relationship. You can’t (nor should you) always get your way, talk about yourself, focus on your needs, or make someone else give up what they want just to please you. And neither should they.
This little bit of relationship advice would have saved me a lot of pain when I was younger, and it would have kept almost all of my relationships intact since I was a kid. Seriously, it’s that important! I spent a lot of time making my relationships about me. It wasn’t until I woke up and realized that relationships are not just about me that things started to get better.
But it’s not just enough to know it, you have to actually understand it. Because when you do, you can stop looking through your lens and start seeing things from other people’s perspectives.
When you really get this, your relationships and your happiness will change.
As a bonus, if you are in a relationship with someone who is making it all about them, you can understand how wrong that is and put a stop to it. That means you can stop being miserable and start demanding more for yourself.
For instance, a friend of mine has let her husband make their relationship all about him for over 10 years. Her needs aren’t met. She must please him at all times. She doesn’t get to share her feelings or thoughts. And just the other week he came home and told her that he booked a vacation across the country – for himself. That’s when she finally realized that their relationship was all about him, and she couldn’t put up with it anymore.
The next time you are with anyone, remind yourself that it’s never all about you or them. This will help you take into consideration their feelings and needs and find compromises that make you and them happy. It will also help you demand more for yourself.
3. Don’t Purposely Hurt Other People
This is one of those things to remember in every interaction you have with someone else. It can be easy to purposely hurt someone else no matter how close they are to us.
There are a few reasons we hurt the people we are in relationships with.
– We want them to feel bad like we do.
– We want them to understand that we don’t agree with them.
– We think it will change them.
– We want to make ourselves look better by bringing them down.
– We don’t think before we speak.
– We are so self-absorbed that we don’t even think about the pain we are causing.
– We are treating people the way we are treated by others.
But, when we purposely hurt other people, we only end up hurting ourselves. We make ourselves look bad. We fracture our relationships. We lose the trust and respect we have with other people. And, we force other people to keep us at an arm’s length so that we don’t hurt them anymore.
The bottom line is, hurting other people does nothing good for them, us, or the relationship. Nothing. So why do it?
Start making a conscious choice to not hurt other people. Sometimes you may say or do something without thinking, but I guarantee that when you start to make it a part of your awareness, you will find that you very seldom hurt other people you are in a relationship with, and when you do, you will fix it as soon as possible to help avoid all the negative consequences that come with hurting others.
4. We Are All Struggling
The other day a friend of mine – that I’ve known since elementary – set me up to look bad. It wasn’t like him. In fact, he had never done this before with me.
We were both getting the same package in the mail. It’s a subscription box that contains some stuff we both like. We live across the country from each other, but we were both excited to see what we were going to get. I got my package before him and I opened it up to see what was inside. He knew I was getting the package before him, but he waited until later in the evening to text me and let me know that he was going to wait until we both had our packages so that we could open it up together. He texted this knowing darn well that we had never discussed anything like that and I would have likely already checked my box out.
At first, I couldn’t understand why he was playing games with me like that. He was setting me up to look like the bad friend who didn’t sit around and wait for him to join in the fun. He even made a back handed comment after I told him I had already opened it and said, “Oh well, it’s hard to wait to see something like that.”
Later I found out that he was really sick. He was stressed out about his relationship. And he was fighting with one of his close friends where he lives. In short, he was struggling, and what he did was more about him than it was about me.
This is something I strive to remember when I deal with any relationship. It’s hard to know what they are going through or thinking, and, usually, unless I’ve been a real jerk, the way they act and talk is more about them than it is about me.
The fact is that nobody is feeling great all the time. We all get sick. We all have stress. There are plenty of bullies and haters who affect how we feel about ourselves. There are failures, setbacks, and mishaps. And all of these things can cause us to treat someone poorly.
When you can see that we are all struggling, you will be more willing to have compassion, stay the course, and forgive someone for being unhappy, rude, miserable, sneaky, or downright depressing.
5. Take The Initiative
Sometimes we get caught up in waiting for others to make plans, call us, or just tell us how they feel. But why should they be the ones who have to do all the work? Why should they be the ones who have to take the initiative to get together with us, talk to us, or make things better?
The truth is that they shouldn’t. Relationships are about give-and-take, and we should be taking the initiative just as often as they do.
So, the next time you get mad because your friend didn’t call you, don’t sit and stew in your anger. Instead, pick up the phone and call them.
Or, the next time you feel hurt that your coworker didn’t ask you to join him or her for lunch, don’t lock yourself away. Instead, go find them and sit down with them.
And if you find that your relationship is going downhill, for any reason, don’t wait for someone else to fix it. Take the initiative and communicate authentically with that person to express your concern and see if you can fix the issue. Most of the time, with honesty and a desire to fix things, your relationship will feel a million times better after you take that initiative. You will be glad you did it.
6. Your Happiness Doesn’t Depend On Anyone But You
Your happiness doesn’t stem from how someone treats you.
Your happiness isn’t decided on whether someone else makes you feel good, talks to you a certain way, or goes out of their way to make you laugh.
Your happiness stems from your thoughts. Period. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what other people do around you, it only matters what you think.
Even if your mother is a miserable person who questions everything you do in life, you can still be happy. She isn’t responsible for making you unhappy. The way you think when you are around her or after you see her is what makes or breaks your happiness.
This is another one of those things to remember in every relationship that I wish I had known when I was younger. I believed that my happiness depended on how other people treated me, so I spent (wasted) a lot of my time trying to please people, find new relationships, and fit into a mold that I just didn’t fit into. Once I became aware that I was in control of my own happiness, I stopped worrying about what other people thought and I took control of my happiness.
When you get this, one of the things you will find is that you won’t accept bad people into your life. Knowing that you are in control of your happiness helps you see when you are putting yourself in a situation that is bad for you. Jerks and manipulators are all easier to spot because they try to mess with your thoughts, and you become acutely aware when your thoughts start to deviate from a happy and sane place when you are around these people.
7. It’s Important To Lift Others Up
One of the things to remember is that your relationships are there for support. They are there to remind you that you belong somewhere and you have people out there cheering for you when you run into people who couldn’t care less about you.
Even if people you are in a relationship with right now are not being particularly supportive or cheering you on, you should take the initiative and support them and cheer them on. You will find that when you start to do it, so will they. And even if they don’t do it right away, your relationship with them will become stronger because they feel like you are someone who validates them and makes them feel like they belong.
– Tell your coworker that they are great at their job.
– Tell your mom that she is the best mother in the world.
– Tell your dad that you admire his strength.
– Tell your friends that you think they are amazing.
– Tell your partner that they are the best partner in the world.
Celebrate other’s accomplishments. Acknowledge their strengths. Help them realize their potential and, if you can, reach their potential. All of this will make your relationships so much stronger and much more rewarding!
8. Habits Will Make Or Break Your Relationships
Lastly, the way you interact with other people is based on your habits. If your relationship habits (and even some of your personal habits) suck, then your relationships are going to suck.
The habits you have while arguing, for example, can affect how your relationships go. If you are in the habit of flying off the handle for no reason, then you are going to affect a lot of your relationships negatively. Or, if you are in the habit of blaming other people, then you are going to affect a lot of your relationships negatively.
Obviously, everyone is different, so I can’t lay out what negative habits you may or may not have in your relationships in this article. But, knowing that your habits will make or break your relationships should be enough to help you keep your eyes open and spot those negative habits that are affecting your relationships.
This is one of those things to remember when you start seeing patterns in your relationships. For instance, if you constantly get into fights about the same old stuff with many people in your life, you may want to look at your habits and how they are contributing.
Are you habitually doing something bad?
Are you habitually letting someone get away with something?
Are you habitually ignoring the real problems and focusing on things that don’t matter?
Are you habitually focusing on the negative?
When you start to feel that your habitual way of doing things is affecting your relationships, dig into it. Learn why it affects your relationships negatively. Figure out a way to drop the bad habits and develop better ones. Your investigation into it and the action you take to fix it could improve your relationships dramatically and maybe even save a relationship.