Relationships: Growing together or apart?
Relationships are not easy. However, they are what keeps us bonded and grounded. If you think about your relationships with someone close to you – your mother, your partner, your child, your best friend – what do they have in common? YOU. Yes, you are a part of the equation, though not the only one. In a relationship with someone, there are always two sides and rarely are they all the time in synchrony. As individuals, we tell our side of the story based on our opinions and beliefs. How often though do we really listen to the other side of the story?
How often have you heard the motto “put yourself in other people’s shoes”? Easier said than done – you are thinking. It would be natural to assume that the closer you are to someone, the more understanding and patient you would be. It is probably tougher though when you are greatly invested in a relationship and feel you have a say in it.
Arguments can be quite exhausting wearing out relationships along the way. Accusations are made, hurtful words are exchanged, prior unsolved issues are brought into the discussion. Both parties feel disgruntled and undermined. How to break the chain then?
There are a few questions you can start asking yourself. Am I being my genuine Self? What am I learning from the other person? How open am I to change? Yes, relationships are a two-way street indeed. Despite the other person’s viewpoint, you are responsible for how you are showing up. Reflecting about your attitude and behavior toward the other person can tell you a lot about yourself and the dynamics of that relationship.
Next time you are about to have an argument with a loved one, take a minute to breathe and clear your mind.
1. Listen – really listen! – to what the other person is telling you, without immediately feeling the need to respond. Listen to understand, not to answer.
2. Ask when it is not clear or you do not understand what the other person is trying to communicate. Instead of making assumptions, just ask.
3. Accept what the other is saying even when you do not agree. You do not have to share the same truth, though you must respect other people’s truths.
4. Let go of expectations, assumptions, emotions that do not serve you, the other person nor the relationship. They are not you and do not define you.
It is not about winning or losing. It is about growing together or eventually drifting apart. You do not have to stick in a relationship or be around someone if nothing good comes out of it. Remember that relationships are a living organism. They evolve over time; the same way people change and grow. Are you ready to accept the challenge?