It seems like somewhere our priorities got switched around doesn’t it? When did family and friend relationships take a back seat to work and accumulation of “stuff.” It seems like there are so many of us in this country who are living in bad relationships. The divorce rate is what, 50%? Children get abused, people are not being honest or upfront, problems happen. And nobody seems happy. What’s the deal?
We are humans. We are not designed to be by ourselves here. We are part of a bigger whole. This includes being interdependent on many things around us. These could include the air you breathe, the sun, the water, the food you eat, as well as plants, animals, and OTHER HUMANS. Somewhere along the line we started favoring not addressing certain problems in these areas in favor of distracting ourselves with other forms of “media.” Of course it is good to be nice and what not but what about being real?
If I have a problem with a friend or family member I am not going to “BRUSH” it under the rug or shrug it off. Conflict may not always be fun but at least things are always cleared out. When we deal with things in an upfront manner we refuse to set the stage for blow-ups and repressed stuff to come out later. This prevents little things from turning into big problems. Sometimes conflicts are simply misunderstandings. Other times they are just different human beings in the same space at the same time. We need to let go of this “I’m right your wrong” or “My way is better” attitude and just let people live how they want as well.
When your close relationships are working great it is a lot easier to relax and be at peace with whatever is going on in your life currently. Here are a few simple tips to start getting those relationships on the right track. These are not always easy but seem to be worth the effort.
HUMILITY: This is probably the one that stops most of us. We don’t like being WRONG! We don’t like saying SORRY! Well guess what? Sometimes we are ALL wrong and mistaken. Sometimes we say crappy things to people that hurt their feelings. Sometimes we DO things we shouldn’t have done. Whatever it is it doesn’t matter. It is amazing what a heartfelt apology can do for a relationship. It takes a lot of courage and “high-road thinking” to admit you were wrong and apologize to people. Often this step alone can fix the majority of problems when both parties are willing.
UNDERSTANDING: Understand that I am not you. You are not me. We need different diets. We need different exercise programs. We meditate and pray differently. How cool right? Would it really be very much fun here if everyone were exactly the same? I think the main reason we try to fit everyone into “our mold” is just another way to try to control our own lives. If everyone behaved in a predictable manner then maybe we could better predict our lives. Understanding on a deep level that we are all unique is very important in understanding people. What is important to you may not be important to someone else and that’s OK!
COMPROMISE: After thinking about understanding people; there will come times in ANY relationship in which you don’t want to do the same thing. Maybe it is something as simple as what movie to watch. Maybe it is as drastic as your view on God and the world. Does this mean we fight about things? Not at all. It is our job as humans to decide to compromise on things. Of course we need to realize that sometimes compromise is not the right choice as well. But compromising on the little things is usually best. Will your life be ruined if you don’t eat exactly what you want for dinner every night? Well sitting through a show or movie to please a friend or family member be that bad? When we compromise with others they are also more likely to return the favor (hopefully) =)
HONESTY/DIRECTNESS: You need to be honest plain and simple. Honesty DOES NOT just mean telling the truth with regard to factual information such as “where you were” or “what happened at school.” It means being upfront with your EMOTIONS as well. Your pissed off at somebody? Tell them! You got upset by something a friend said? Tell them! This step is about learning to be upfront instead of holding things inside all the time. If two people can do this then they will avoid a lot of problems down the road. Again, it may not always be pleasant but it works.
So these are the basics guys. Ultimately it comes down to a choice. Do you really want your relationships to work out? Do you want them to be smooth and loving? If so, we can’t keep running from the issues. Life has problems. We have just created so many in our modern world that we have trained ourselves to ignore certain ones =) So let’s reclaim a bit of our happiness back by healing our relationships with both our families, our friends, and ourselves.