How are your relationships doing? Some people we’ve been around A LOT more than usual, and a lot of people we’ve been away from A LOT more than usual.
How has this affected your relationships?
What does having a good relationship mean to you? Maybe it changes a bit depending on who you’re thinking of.
Today I wanted to give you a couple of things to ask yourself to understand how you’re viewing your relationships, and hopefully help soften those relationships that may have become a little prickly over the last couple of months (or years…let’s be honest).
Does your definition of a good relationship depend on how the other person feels, or how the other person feels about you?
We often think that relationships are good if we get along, if we like each other, if we treat each other well, etc…
Very often our focus is very much on the other person. We’re gauging how they feel, or how they feel about us to decide whether the relationship is going well.
We think we have control over how other people feel, even how they feel about us. We also think other people make us feel a certain way, that they can control our feelings.
Have you ever had someone try to make you feel better, and you think, “That’s not helping. In fact, it’s making it worse,”?
Have you ever done something that you thought would make someone feel happy, but they didn’t feel happy about it?
I’m the youngest of my 7 siblings. I was pretty young when my first sibling got married. My mom seemed stressed about the reception, and I knew she needed to make some cookies for it. I really wanted her to feel less stressed, so I decided to bake some of the cookies for her.
To my shock, when she saw the cookies she was not grateful and relieved like I had imagined.
She was upset and more stressed. You see, I hadn’t made the cookies the way she was planning, and I had used all of the ingredients she had reserved for those cookies.
I was crushed. Why? Was it because my mom was upset with me? I thought it was, but actually it was because I had thoughts that I had failed, that she shouldn’t be mad at me, that I had done something wrong.
I didn’t feel the way I did because of her reaction. I felt the way I did because of my thoughts about her reaction.
Of course, when she saw how upset I was, she thanked me for making the cookies because she saw my intentions were good, but the point of the story is I was trying to make her feel something, and when she didn’t feel it, I had crushing thoughts.
On the other hand, she was upset and stressed, not because I had made cookies, but because of her thoughts about the cookies and the ingredients being used up.
It’s the same in all of our relationships. We think we MAKE people feel a certain way…whether positive or negative. We think other people MAKE us feel a certain way…positive or negative.
The only reason we or anyone else feels anything is because of our thoughts. It’s not because of what others say or do, and vice versa.
Your brain may resist this. I just encourage you to be open to the possibility that it’s true.
So, what are we to do? How can we improve our relationships if we can’t make other people feel good, or feel positive about us?
The answer is to see the relationship in terms of what you have control over.
The way I like to define a relationship is this: how I feel about me, and how I feel about the other person.
That’s all I have control over.
It’s all you have control over.
Let your focus be on how you feel about them, and how you feel about you and your behaviour. This also means if you don’t appreciate someone’s behaviour then the loving thing for yourself is to tell them, and remove yourself if they don’t comply.
It’s so much more freeing to only take responsibility over the things you have control over. Try it. Let me know how it goes.
P.S. Want a neutral place to talk about your relationship with someone else? Want to talk to someone who will love you AND the other person? I specialize in making that safe place for you to explore any relationship so you can use your inner wisdom to decide what to do. Sign-up for a free 45-minute session today!