“Relationships with others will be difficult until we have a good one with ourselves.” Ranbir Puar
What is it that consistently makes us act inconsistently in our relationships?!
For most people, relationships provide the most exhilarating, challenging, and high-growth opportunities of their lives.
Some of us have wonderful relationships at work, but strained ones with our families. We all know people that are generous to strangers, but when you put them around family members, a consistently negative persona comes out. It’s the same person, just a different audience.
In my view, the more intimate a relationship is, the more the quality of that relationship will depend upon our relationship with ourselves. You have to see and accept yourself fully before you can see the other person clearly.
The relationship with your self is the most intricate and challenging. It can be tough to look in the mirror and take full responsibility for your life.
Of course, you are not the cause of all of your challenges, but you know the old saying, “holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. Trust me, I’ve been there! I harboured anger for years before I realized I was the one being hurt most by it.
So how can you start to have a better relationship with YOU? Here is what worked for me:
Try not blame others when things go south. I started by asking myself, “what I am responsible for?” Sometimes the response I heard in my head was simply, “your reaction”. I played the victim role for a long time and it initially required discipline for me to stay ahead of my excuses. Treat it like a learn-to-run program….do a little bit each week, and before you know it you will be off to the races.
Pay attention to your mind chatter
Particularly when you are around the core people in your life (your partner, kids, parents, co-workers, etc). Write down your thoughts. Quite often we don’t realize the sheer intensity and volume of negative self-talk we have until we consciously inspect it.
Interrupt your pattern
Very few thoughts are neutral. Any time you start beating yourself up, ask yourself “Is this helping me move toward FREEDOM?” This question provides a strong pattern-interrupt.
Respect your own personal journey
Observing the lives of other people and then putting yourself down is simply an excuse to feel bad about yourself. You have no idea about the sh** the other person may be covering up to make her life look perfect. Each person’s life is completely unique, so enjoy the journey.
The last two items require you to monitor your thoughts. Though it may be difficult at first, you will find that changing these habits will require progressively less effort with each passing week. Within one to two months, you won’t even notice the effort required to apply the new habit…. In other words, it will be your new habit!
Be the FIRST one to be considerate
This one is imperative to having a good marriage, in particular! Go out of your way to say “thank you” for every effort that any person makes on your behalf. Whether it is making a meal, passing a fork… anything. Just say it. Though we deeply believe in the purpose of the ego in the human experience, this is one of those areas where your ego will stunt your growth. Think about it… your ego is telling you to drink the poison! Even if you’re feeling mad at the other person, just take a deep breath and then say it. This will get easier with time. One of the reasons people hold back on doing this is because the other person never seems to show you this type of courtesy. Well, guess what, the other person is thinking the same thing about you!! It’s the chicken-egg conundrum… so someone has to go first! Be the first. This is guaranteed to improve your core relationships… and the effect on you will be even greater, if you develop the habit of making eye contact each time you say it.
Do not say or think cynical thoughts about others
Obviously, these thoughts add toxicity to your habitual mind chatter. You may think that they are only directed at other people. However, this is one of the pillars upon which negative SELF-TALK is built. If you speak/ think this way, it becomes a part of you and how you see yourself. It is impossible to be free within, if you do not shake this habit.
Remember: through repeated application, you will have less of those moments where you’re feeling agitated by another person. Basically, what you will come to observe is that other people do not control your emotions!
It is imperative that when you make a mistake, you do NOT beat yourself up. This will REVERSE your progress. When you make a mistake, simply commit to doing it right the next time. (And that next time is likely to be right around the corner).
This process requires repeated conscious effort. Like anything that requires you to dig in and commit, the payoff is that much greater. The impact on your self-image will be life-altering because you will, with progressively less effort, just learn to BE this way.
This movement towards improving your relationship with your SELF is at the core of creating a happy life and feeling free within.
In time, you will find that your external relationships will begin to change as your internal dialogue and perception change. And so it goes, the change in your perception will define your new and improved reality.
Are you struggling in relationships with people closest to you?
How are you feeling about yourself?
Do you see a pattern?
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