With all the celebration for thanks, love and family during the holidays we all know this: relationships bring so much joy to our lives but also can bring a great deal of stress, hurt at the same time and require tons of effort.
From personal experience I have realized that my own thoughts and perceptions play a huge role in the quality of my relationships and either benefit them or take away from them. What we do and how we view things is HUGE! This does not even begin to go how we interact with others or what others say and do, it begins with our own thoughts, ideas, and stories we make in our head, assumptions.
Not making assumptions is one thing in life that can take a way so much pain and misery. Think about it. Do you ever assume the other person is thinking something or feels a certain way?
For example, someone responds abruptly to you, you either get pissed off, mad or think something is wrong. You react based simply on what you are assuming, which technically is a make believe story you created in your head. You are not alone, I do this ALL the time and it has been a constant practice of mine.
We assume, take things personally, and go about our days in self-inflicted drama and made up stories in our heads and it becomes very inwardly focused. All about ourselves.
I am quite amused as I write this because it sounds ridiculous that we can get so worked up about things that we don’t even know to be true. If you want to know ask, take people at their word, because at that point it is up to them to let you know if something is wrong, and live your in truth, free of make believe problems. We want others to be every thing we want them to be, but they are not, and thats OK!
Love and accept others for who they and learn to ask for what you need in relationships. We can always improve, grow and nurture relationships but lets do it with less expectations, assumptions and judgements.
One of our greatest traps is waiting to be happy or waiting for someone else to make us happy.
Everyone is simply doing their best. Have you ever thought about it this way? That everyone around you is just try to handle the situation in the best way they know how. Maybe becoming defensive and critical is the BEST they know how. Maybe that is how they were raised, maybe it is how they feel in the moment, maybe it is all they know.
Let’s use divorce as an example. I have witnessed friends and family go through divorce and I have seen some handle it with honest attempts to be as compassionate as possible, considering the situation, and some handle it with anger, rage and be just plain mean. Some may think one way is wrong or right but when comes down to it is the best they know how, dealing with the flood of emotions with such a huge life change.
But we also have the choice to choose how we handle situations. Make the best of it or let it ruin our days. We can play victim and view the world as everything is happening to us or we can learn to make things work for us.
Take Personal Responsibility In Your Relationships
I think part of personal responsibility intertwines with gratitude because we cannot appreciate and be grateful for our lives if we are constantly putting the blame on someone or something else. In Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is, she calls it “arguing with reality.” And when you think about it, it can almost be comical when we get frustrated, upset or negative about simply, what is real.
Your friend is always busy and rarely makes time to hang out. You get upset. This is the reality.
Your husband is watching t.v. when you want him to be hanging out. He wants to watch t.v. You do not want him too. That is the reality.
There is traffic. It is the reality.
In all these situations you can choose an alternative.
This concept helps you become aware that it is hard to practice gratitude when we are constantly arguing with reality. When we are constantly not accepting what is, or trying to change what it. Change your perspective.
You can still love and appreciate your friend, even if you don’t see each other all the time.
You can let your husband watch t.v. and do something you want to do. Sip some wine. Read a book. Go workout.
There is traffic. I get be frustrated the whole way or enjoy time to chat, listen to music etc.
The problem with “I’m Fine” in relationships.
You know what I am talking about. Someone asks if you are ok and you say, “fine” even though something is eating away at you. You somehow expect that person to know what you are upset about and try to manipulate the situation by making them feel bad about what you never expressed to them, though they asked you what was wrong and you said, “fine.”
We tend to use passive aggressive behavior to get our point across and this solves all of the following:
This type of behavior encourages:
Someone in the dark about what you are feeling. It is YOUR job (personal responsibility) to bring them into the light to talk, communicate and understand. They actually did their job by asking you what was wrong.
Causes you to feel resentment, anger and hostility towards the other person for not having a superhero mind reading power.
Does NOTHING for the relationship.
I bring this up again because I feel this is such a normal, innocent sounding ( but very detrimental) aspect to so many relationships from those I have observed to my own experiences. So the next time someone asks you if you are ok, instead of saying “fine” say what you feel. Just do it. Have enough faith in the person you are dealing with that they can handle what you choose to share with them.
Learn to let go of the past, be more engaged in the present and anticipate the future with excitement, even though you know there will be struggles and challenges. If you can’t find something to be excited about, it has nothing to do with your life, it has to do with your mindset.
Sometimes we get caught up in how we expect life to be and we think that everyone is out to get us, to hurt us, to cause us pain and suffering. We even assume that those close to us want to cause us that hurt. It has more to do with the expectations we create, the personal responsibility we refuse to take, and the stories we make up in on our head.
Choose more responsibility and truth, with less judgement and misery.