How well do you play with others? None of our relationships are easy or perfect all the time. I’m usually a pretty congenial, let’s-all-get-along sort of person. Yet, in all of my many roles – daughter, wife, mother, friend, employee, boss – I’ve struggled at times with some of my interactions and relationships with others.
Relationships can be comforting and exhilarating. But they can also frustrate and deplete us.
I admit my initial response to challenges in relationships is to try to make the other person be the way I want. Simply put, I try to control something I have no control over. This rarely gets me very far (smile).
Most of our efforts at controlling others don’t work. But there are things we CAN do to build harmony and tranquility into our relationships:
1. Accept rather than expect.
Application: While you fear your messy teenager’s bedroom might be deemed a health hazard at times, you accept that he may not have your same cleaning standards. You decide to ease up and keep his door shut.
2. Let go rather than hold on.
Application: You love your current lifestyle, but your spouse wants to pursue a dream which involves going back to school. While you’ll need to make some sacrifices, you offer full support and encouragement.
3. Breathe rather than react.
Application: Your friend hurt your feelings by making a negative comment about your new haircut. You let it roll off your back knowing that she just got some bad news and is feeling a little down.
4. Nurture rather than demand.
Application: Stressed out from working late all week, you’ve been crabby and bossy with your family. You announce a “work-free” weekend and delight your family with your undivided, loving attention.
5. Boost rather than belittle.
Application: While you can’t stand the long, ratty hair and baggy clothes your nephew is sporting lately, you often remind him what a cool kid he is. You realize he’s just trying to figure out who he is by trying on different “roles.”
6. Teach rather than critique.
Application: Your boss drives you nuts with her procrastination and resulting last minute demands. Instead of venting to other co-workers, you show her how to use the new web application you just found that has really helped you stay more organized.
7. Balance rather than dominate.
Application: A disagreement with your spouse escalates into an out and out shouting match. While it’s hard to let go of being “right,” you take a moment to breathe. With your head cleared, you suggest a compromise that will make you both happy.
8. Ease up rather than pressure.
Application: It’s hard not to nag your unemployed sister to snap out of her funk and look for a job. Allowing her to navigate her own obstacles will help her grow into the person she is meant to be.
9. Laugh rather than lecture.
Application: Your newly-retired mother has started calling multiple times a day. You gently remind her that while you love hearing about her daily routine, you need to get some work done or else you might need to move in with her.
10. Create rather than destroy.
Application: The relationships in your monthly book club used to be fun and easy-going. But lately, the meeting has turned into a nasty gossip session. Rather than quit, you gather the gumption to kindly suggest a fresh new direction.
Living with An Island Perspective includes celebrating your relationships. Like precious jewels, the people in your life are valuable and cherished resources. Our connections with others are what make our lives worthwhile, meaningful and a whole lot more fun.
While none of your relationships will always be smooth sailing, YOU can choose to respond to the ebb and flow in a healthy and tranquil way. Like fragile and precious cargo, our relationships are meant to be handled with tender loving care.
Join the island tribe at facebook.com/IslandPerspective.
Coming soon! The complete guide . . . An Island Perspective – Finding the Path to Tropical Tranquility