Licensed Therapist, NC
...give people permission to be people. Remember, you need grace and you want grace, so extend grace to others.
In my line of work, I've seen it all. I've seen family split apart because of lack of communication or responsibility. I've witnessed cursing sessions between children and their parents, couples on the brink of divorce over silly things that built up over the years and I've also seen the brighter side, too. I've seen people learn to love and forgive, even when it's hard. I've seen families become stronger and lovers grow closer. I'm in the people business, so people are my business and the medicine for any happy heart is being connected and invested in happy relationships.
Setting Appropriate Boundaries
Knowing each other's limits is key to honoring each other’s space and privacy. Also it fosters respect and security for both individuals. Boundaries can come in many forms such as physical space, emotional space, or environmental spacing. Appropriate boundaries also can help others know how and when to insert their feelings, thoughts, or suggestions that concern your life. But it's a two way street. Don't give your 2 cents, if you aren't willing to respect and listen to theirs. Be responsible for yourself before you can expect others to be respectful towards you.
2. Understanding All communication Channels
Communication comes in many forms and through many avenues. Finding what ways work best for you are key to being able to help others know the appropriate ways to interact with you. Nonverbal communication speaks the loudest and usually gets the most genuine response from others. Knowing and being aware of what your body language is communicating while engaging with others will help increase understanding, love, and support. Again, this is a two way street. If you want others to get to know your perspective, feelings and other nonverbal communication styles, be willing to learn theirs, too.
3. The Art of Appreciation
Expressing a sincere “thank you” or showing an act a kindness can go along way with others. Everybody loves feeling appreciated and adored. Sometimes it can be as small as sending a text message, writing a note, sending a letter, or setting up a lunch/dinner date to show your loved one or friend how much they mean to you. Showing appreciation should always come from a selfless place with the expectation of getting nothing in return. However, the more you do for the people you care about shows your investment and dedication to them and the more they will make their own efforts to extend back to you and into you, as well.
4. Fighting Fair
It’s okay not to be always right. In fact, being wrong can be healthy, because it opens the door to fostering learning and growth. Not every disagreement should result in a winner or a loser. When we don't know what we're fighting or why we're fighting, it can be a detriment to the people we love the most. Getting into arguments with others can be very draining and emotionally taxing. Understanding that the other person sometimes will not be able to meet all of your needs is important. Sometimes you will have to seek outside relationships and things in order to be fulfilled. Also, you must be willing to negotiate and compromise so that both parties leave feeling satisfied. Most importantly, remember you can never take back things you say, so being mindful of your words before you speak them can save a lot of heartache in the long run.
There are many, many skills and exercises we can learn to help us cultivate healthy relationships. My charge is to examine where you are and look over these points. Are you administering these skills in your relationship? Are they? If not, are you willing too? As we get older, we have to take inventory, because our relationships tend to reflect more about us than the other person. So if you find yourself struggling in more than one relationship in your life, it's ok to take some steps back, evaluate yourself, take responsibility for some choices, apologize if need be and then move forward with confidence to either change something, let go of someone or work harder in one area or another. Relationships are always changing and evolving. They never stay the same because people don't stay the same. So be aware of this and give people permission to be people. Remember, you need grace and you want grace, so extend grace to others. No one is perfect and no one can or will ever be perfect for you. That's God's job. But just as He always loves us in our imperfections, He gives us the strength to love people in that way too. That doesn't mean that every person in your life is meant for you to be connected to, but it does mean that we can extend love and kindness in those hard moments of conflict or confusion, where communication is needed, where boundaries need to be put up, where we have to learn how to argue with dignity and extend our appreciation for one another.
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