Are your relationships with your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues joyous and cordial?
Or are they fraught with discord and challenges?
The state of your relationships directly affects your daily happiness and fulfilment. And unless you are living on your own in some jungle, you need to have people in your life to survive and thrive.
Harmonious and rich relationships in your life can add much joy, excitement and fulfilment. During the tough times, it’s the people you love and care for will get you through.
To learn how you can be with other people, observe young children at play. Just watch how they get on with each other and how any misdeeds are soon forgotten.
Children just get on with enjoying the moment — and you too can do the same.
The key is to always do unto others what you would have them do to you.
“Be the change that you want the world to be” — Gandhi
Keep this in mind and all your relationships will improve. Plus, you’ll create a ripple effect of other people also improving their relationships.
How to Take Responsibility for All your Relationships
To start with, know that you are responsible for the state of all your relationships.
If someone’s behaviour is upsetting you, then you are responsible for this, as you are allowing them to continue such behaviour.
Set boundaries with this person about their behaviour, letting them know what’s not acceptable and why.
People appreciate honesty and openness in relationships — so always be true to your word and tell it how it is for you.
Speak the truth directly and authentically, without being brutally rude. Be respectful of other people’s feelings and opinions, and be tactful as appropriate to the situation.
Remember that you also have the choice of ending a relationship.
Assess where improvement is needed in your relationships and get committed to improving them.
Here are my 11 strategies to help you do just that:-
1. Show Your Appreciation in All Areas of Your Life
You have so many people in your life who make it comfortable and fun.
So remember to genuinely thank and appreciate your partner, family, friends and colleagues.
Especially thank the strangers who do so much to make your life convenient and easy, such as shop assistants, waiters and waitresses, the postman and the dustman.
Keep a count of the number of times you say “thank you” every day and keep increasing your count.
2. Listen to Other People — Remember Two Ears, One Mouth
The greatest gift you can give people is your undivided attention.
When people are talking to you, stop what you are doing, look at them and avoid distractions and interruptions. No looking at your phone whilst you are in conversation with them!
Your undivided attention tells the other person that you genuinely value them.
3. Be Genuinely Interested in Other People
Become deeply curious about people and interested their stories — everyone likes to share their story so give them a chance to do so.
Remember to be interested rather than “interesting” — it is not all about you!
People can tell when you are genuinely interested in them or just faking it — so pay close attention and look for hooks in what they are saying to trigger your interest even more.
4. Make Other People Feel Important
You can create deep connections and even life-long friendships by valuing people and letting them know they count.
Everyone likes to feel they matter — and you can do wonders for them by caring and valuing them.
You’ll raise their self-esteem — and you’ll feel great too.
5. Never Take Things Personally
You can never be hurt by what others say or do.
What anyone says or does is not personal and merely a reflection of their reality.
So make yourself immune to what others say and do. Their opinion about you is just that — their opinion.
6. Stop Criticising Others
You should refrain from criticising or putting other people down in any way.
Criticism can be so demoralising and destructive for adults and children alike. So become aware of how you speak to the people you care about and recognise when you are being critical or harsh.
Ask people around you to give you feedback about your habits of criticism and be big enough to change your ways.
And do sincerely apologise and make up as soon as you realise you’ve stepped out of line.
7. Empathise with Other People
You can greatly enhance all your relationships by putting yourself in their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.
Start to listen and understand the other person’s point of view. This will eliminate energy-draining arguments and make your relationships so much more cordial and peaceful.
Anytime you are in a tricky situation, just ask yourself how you would want to be treated in such a situation.
Meet them where they are at, not where you would like them to be.
8. Stop Dumping on Others
When you have stuff going on for you, do not share your sob story with others and hope to feel better by doing so.
Don’t relieve your stress or frustration by taking it out on someone close to you. This doesn’t help either of you!
Your stuff is your stuff — deal with it. Get advice from a friend or even professional support if need be.
9. Change Yourself, Not Other People
You can never change others, only yourself.
Knowing how hard it is for you to change, accept that it is futile and a waste of time and energy to try and change anyone else.
If a situation bothers you so much, then accept the situation or get out of it.
It’s always about you and what you bring to any relationship.
10. Don’t Make Assumptions about Other People
Never assume anything about others and what they do or don’t do for you.
Learn to communicate clearly with everyone to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.
Remember that everyone is doing the best they can with their current level of knowledge, awareness and understanding.
11. Stop Gossiping and Bitching about Others
You must refrain from talking about other people behind their back.
It will inevitably come back to you and affect your relationships.
Learn to only say good things about others and your relationships will soon improve.
“Improve all your relationships with others by assuming that they can hear everything you say about them” — Stephen R Covey
Rather than gossiping, become a good-finder in all your daily interactions with people and give them generous and genuine feedback.
Time to Create Fun and Joyous Relationships
There you go — you can now transform all your relationships.
Imagine never falling out again with a friend or a family member. Instead, you can now have solid, cordial relationships which are fun, rewarding and fulfilling.
It starts with you here and right now. Grab a notepad and reflect on these questions:
1. Review your relationships and assess where improvements can be made. Can you identify any patterns?
2. List up to ten ways you can start improving the relationships in your life.
3. Think of five people in your life, with whom you would like to improve your relationship.
4. List five things you will do in the next seven days, to improve your relationships with these people.
5. A week later, reflect on what you did and how these relationships improved.
Be prepared to be blown away — and watch in wonder as your relationships with all the people in your life transform rapidly.
You’ve got this — you can do this.