Ah yes. The birds are chirping, tulips are growing, and days are getting longer. We are officially in the season of Spring, and with all these changes taking place, I’m sure you feel the urge to clean up your relationships. Before you get the broom and sweep people off to the side, first recognize what is at hand… relationships with people (e.g., family, love, friends, business, etc.). We are social beings and, at the end of the day, the people in our lives provide us with happiness, satisfaction, and positivity. Try and identify what makes you uncomfortable now, and where you want to improve it.
Does your best friend put you down in front of other people? Does your partner reinforce your bad habits? You feel crummy after talking to that family member…but guilty if you don’t? You are incredibly bored, tired, and want out of your relationship? Do people put too many demands on you, making you feel like you must have all the answers and solutions in the world?
It’s understandable, we can all relate to some type of relationship like this in our lives. Here are 3 tips on how to “refresh” your relationships and to enjoy them more.
1. Air out the bad news and differences
Listen, communicate, and accept without judgment. When we take the time to effectively listen to someone and the concerns they are having they feel we genuinely care and are interested in what they have to say. By doing so, negative feelings will be less likely to be present and both parties will be heard. Remember to communicate without interrupting, and use “I” statements.
2. Open up and breathe in the winds of change
It’s easy to judge, or even to take those people in your life for granted. This Spring, try adjusting your sails and chart new waters with your relationships. Experiment with new ways of listening (i.e., put the cell phone away and listen attentively to words and body language). Open up to trying something new – remember that embracing minor discomforts makes you a stronger person.
3. Provide the necessary components for growth
As the trees bloom leaves, flowers stretch out of the garden, and the grass grows greener, you need to recognize that it takes two to tango and take personal responsibility for what you can do to enhance your relationship.
Whether you decide to embark on one or all of the above, I am confident you will be happy you did. Relationships need attentive care and attention – just like growing a garden. Here are two good questions to consider before doing too much ‘sweeping’: How is this relationship valuable to me? And what am I willing to do to retain its worth?