This is the final part in the 3 part series about how to improve your relationships. In part one we looked at the seed of any healthy relationship, the relationship with yourself. Last week we looked at the roots of growing a healthy relationship and this week we are going to talk about how to create relationships that grow and blossom.
Starting a relationship is for the most part relatively easy. Whether with a lover, a friend or even a family member; there is an underlying attraction that draws people together. At the beginning. Often after the initial excitement the relationships energy trickles away.
Imagine two children on the playground they meet, find something in common, become best friends, the bestest ever best friends, two days later one of them meets another child and has a new best friend.
As adults our relationships often can and do follow a similar pattern (albeit over a longer period of time.) And after a while you may find yourself wondering where are these people who were once so special in your lives or why do your relationships start out with such promise and then turn into nothing. This is the point where you need to take action and get out of some destructive habits.
Someone once told me it takes more energy to work at having a healthy relationship than it does to make a successful business. And it’s true .However work does not need to be difficult, it can be easy when kept simple. You basically get what you give. With a little effort, patience and sometimes compromise your relationships will blossom. At the same time you will be able to identify if a relationship is good for you or not.
Here are 8 guidelines to having a healthy, happy relationship with anyone in your life – try them and enjoy the blossoming of beautiful relationships. For best results do this conciously with the person who you want to improve your relationship with, so you have the best chance.
(Remember these tips don’t just have to be for people you have an unhealthy relationship with, you can also use them to improve healthy relationships too !)
- Make time
In a busy daily life it’s easy to miss spending time with the people who matter to us. We often take the attitude that they know us so well that they will understand. However as I said in my previous article assumption is the mother of all fuckups. People do get fed up of being ignored and naturally drift away to find relationships where they are important to someone. Mr T and I have increasingly busy lives, in fact some days we will only see each other for half an hour in the whole day. So we make a point of sitting down and eating dinner together every evening we are home, even if that is only for 15 minutes. It makes the opportunity for us to check in with each other. Another solution we have found is five minutes cuddle before sleep. And my favourite is date night. One evening a week just for us.
Of course not everyone can have the luxury of a whole evening together. For example my Mum and I live in different countries and our weekly time tables do not sync at all. However we make the effort to write to each other over facebook and skype once a month. So make time for your relationships, 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, an evening or once a month, it will make a massive difference with a minimum of effort.
2. Don’t expect – talk
Ugh Expectation. One of the major issues in every relationship. Have you ever planned an evening for you and someone special that was completely not how you wanted it to be and you ended up disappointed. Of course you have, we all have.
The challenge is that we all have our own expectations, they way we expect things to be. And we also have the expectation that those who know us will automatically know and fulfill our expectations. Unfortunately they can’t. And at the same time they are expecting you to know and fulfill their expectations. A destructive catch 22. Or is it?
Of course its not break that cycle and tell them what you want. And ask them what they want. It’s really that simple. If you are going on a date or a holiday explain your expectations. I have an arrangement with Mr T that when I get upset about something he has to ask me do I want a ‘fix’ (a solution to the problem) or a ‘hug’ (comforting and listening). It saves the traditional “you’re not listening to me” conversation as a man tries to fix the problem while a woman pours her heart out.
Direct honest communication is a foundation to any relationship, explaining and discovering expectations takes communication to a healthier level.
And this naturally brings us to agreements. Making an agreement and sticking to it goes a long way in any relationship. And I don’t just mean the we agree to meet at a certain time and place kind of agreements. I am talking about small agreements we can make to show others that they are important to us and that we are important to them. For example it could be that you like the bed to be made and your partner is the last person up so he does that and at the same time he loves smoothies so you make him one for breakfast and leave it in the fridge for him. Making an agreement is different to doing little random things to make people smile. It’s an agreement between two people that says I love you and I appreciate you, so even though I don’t care about the bed being made every day I do it to make you happy.
Compromise. An oldie but a goodie. We are not all the same no matter how similar we might seem. Compromise is a nutrient to our relationships. It is a question of how important is it to be right or get our own way if this damages our relationship and hurts someone we care about. Suggesting a compromise solves arguments and discord. It is giving a little to create something stronger and more beautiful. However it is a two way thing, Both of you need to make compromises to balance the relationship.
5. Treat people how you want to be treated
It actually as straight forward as it sounds. Send out a loving vibration and it will get mirrored back to you. Fun Surprises, stupid notes in hidden places, an unexpected present or even a funny meme sent on facebook shows someone you care. The more you do it, the more they will do it for you. (And if they don’t then reconsider that relationship)
6. Sorry and Forgiveness
We all argue. We all say hurtful things. We all hurt the people we love the most. For some reason it’s in our nature. Saying sorry should be the easiest thing in the world however sometimes it isn’t. You have to learn to let things go, it’s in a way the same as compromise. If you have done something to hurt someone, even if unintended say you are sorry.
At the same time if we hold on to something that hurts us we actually only hurt ourselves. If you want a person in your life that has hurt you then you have to truely forgive them and tell them.
The best part about saying sorry and forgiving is the making up! Make sure you make up and create the happy energy between you, even if it’s just a tickle fight. Shifting the energy will make everything alright again.
7. Have fun, share experiences and make memories!
Not only is it important to spend time together, it is equally important to share experiences and make memories together. Of course this often happens naturally, however if you feel as though your relationship with someone is getting stuck in a rut then liven it up by making a memory together. I love this part. I especially like to do it on birthdays. They happen every year so if you try something new or do something lovely you will remember them all and make people happy. Also try doing something you really want to do together. Last summer I invited my Mum and Brother Rob to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour. It had been years since we had last done something together as a family. Now we have had a day we will never forget. So shake things up and do something different together, it makes a memory that will keep you both smiling long after the actual day.
8. Check in with the status of your relationship
Throughout this series I have been using the metaphor of a plant to represent the healthy growth of a relationship. However there is one other important time to take into consideration, the time when the plant dies. This does not necessarily mean that the relationship will die. After say 6 months I use this as a metaphor for evaluation. What have my efforts manifested? It could be some of the things I have tried didn’t actually improve the relationship so I can drop those. Or it can be celebrating how my relationships have grown and blossomed in which cas it’s definitely a good idea to do this together.
However by conciously trying to improve your relationship with someone you may also have noticed that they are not putting in the same energy as you. It’s at this time you have to ask yourself is this reelationship healthy for me? Do I want this relationship in my life? Can this relationship be saved? (if so talk to the person and use some of the advice above) Or is this time to walk away from a relationship where I am not valued and find a relationship where I am. This is going to be a whole another topic for another article in the new year so if you need some help with this then keep your eyes peeled.
Give your relationship an evaluation after 6 months of using all the tips and advice in this series and see where the relationships in your life are going.
So that’s the end (for now) of my series on improving relationships in 2016, more tips and advice will be coming your way in 2017. Rememeber the basic road to improving your relationships are easy to remember just think of a plant’s cycle the seed, the roots, the growth and the letting go.
Let me know how it’s going using these tools to grow a healthy relationship in your life and especially what you found the most useful in the comments below, or on the Re:root facebook page. And if you find something that works that isn’t on here, then please please share it so we can all benefit from your experience.
Have a lovely and loving week and just remember you give what you get, it’s that simple <3