Everything in your life is a collection of lessons learned about love.
Within those lessons of love, you learn sub-lessons about yourself, such as patience, forgiveness, compassion and even a commitment to become better than you were the day before.
In a nutshell, your greatest teachers in life are those you choose to be in a relationship with!
Relationships are the “stuff” that life is truly made of, and whether you realize it or not, you’re surrounded by them.
Some of your relationships may be obvious (such as the relationship you have with your spouse or children) while others may not be. They are as follows:
- The romantic relationship with your life partner or spouse;
- The parental relationship with your child or children;
- The friendship you have with those you grew up with, or have become friends with in adulthood;
- The relationships you have with your parents, siblings and extended family;
- The relationships you have with those you encounter daily: co-workers, your boss, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, clients, neighbors, teachers, drivers you pass on the freeway, etc.
When your relationships go smoothly, it’s because both parties (you and the other person) are simultaneously getting your needs met.
Each person is satisfied with the outcome. However, a relationship in which everything goes perfectly at all times is impossible to maintain.
So, what do you do when you’ve hit a rough patch, or become indifferent with those you are forced to communicate with daily?
Insist on the good, focus on what you’ve learned about yourself in the process and learn how to “up your game” — even when the other player isn’t following the “rules”!
Here are some ways to walk along the sunny side of the street in relationships (and beyond) so that you can always rise to the occasion and make your relationships the best they can possibly be.
Put the Past in the Past (and Keep it There)
Past events, experiences and interactions with others are in the past. So why do you insist on keeping them in the present?
One of the biggest and most influential game changers in relationships is staying present. It’s also one of the most transformative ways you can take a troublesome, stress-inducing relationship and turn it into a life-changing one.
Do you tend to bring up a painful moment in your marriage from months ago — as though it’s happening in the here and now?
If you do, you’re not allowing your relationship to thrive, and you aren’t giving yourself or your spouse a fighting chance to make things better for the future.
To leave the past in the past, try this simple exercise.
Close your eyes and imagine with as much intensity as possible the painful moments of your past being packed up in a suitcase. Imagine going through the emotions of pain, anger, and resentment.
Visualize each moment individually — harsh words that were exchanged, a moment in which your partner was insensitive instead of “being there” for you, etc. — and put it neatly into your suitcase.
When that’s done, envision yourself locking up this suitcase and throwing it out of your window. It no longer exists. It’s floating away in the sea of the past. Now, imagine that you are walking on a long, dirt country road.
The road extends as far as the eye can see, with only you and your partner to determine where it will lead you.
Open your eyes. Breathe deep. Give in to what lies ahead and let that be your focus point. Keep the past in the past and your relationship will take a drastic turn for the better!
Review Milestones You’ve Achieved Weekly
No relationship is perfect, which is why during the tough times, it can help to set goals. For example, if you feel like your boss is always complaining about your sales record for the quarter, set a goal such as “responding to his comments without reacting to them.”
If you tend to emotionally react by giving your boss a dirty look or sarcastic comment, a “bad” relationship will surely continue.
But you hold more power than you think you do!
You can attract positivity and appreciation into your relationship simply by taking the lead.
Set mini-goals, and celebrate when you’ve achieved them! Notice how the dynamic between you and those people in your life who used to bother you or inflict negativity on you improves—simply because they’re following your lead of positivity!
Express Gratitude for the Ones You Love
If you need to adjust your mood in your relationship, there’s no quick fix quite like gratitude. Gratitude, which is the practice of expressing appreciation for things (and in this case, people) in your life, can instantly change your focus.
It can allow you to fixate on what you love about your relationships, instead of what you loathe.
For five minutes a day, make a list on paper (or in your head) about everything you love about the relationship that’s currently giving you grief. For example, if you have trouble getting through to your teenager about the importance of studying, think of as many things as you can that you love about him/her.
It could be how proud you are of his athletic achievements, or what a kind-hearted person she is.
Taking the time to remind yourself of the many good qualities a person brings to the table can allow you to attract more of the positive to your relationship.
Everything is energy, including the relationships in your life. Bring positive energy to each and every one, and you’ll receive positivity from others.
You hold more power than you realize, and when you take the lead by coming from a place of love and appreciation, you’ll be the ongoing recipient of happy and healthy relationships — guaranteed!