Do you want to heal your relationships but don’t know where to start?
Relationships take work, but they’re much easier when you know what to do. This article shows you how to make major shifts in your relationships. Let’s get started!
1. It Starts with You
If you want your relationships to change, it has to start with you. The assumption that your partner has to change is misleading. Sometimes the other person isn’t ready to seek help. You have more power than you think. One person can set the tone simply by making small but steady changes.
For example, when you’re not getting along, manners are the first to go. Add back “please” and “thank you” and it’ll feel like you are dating again. Noticing their efforts, like what they’re doing with the kids or at work matters. Feeling appreciated makes us feel cherished and that invites intimacy!
If you want more respectful behavior in your relationship, you need to model it. Waiting for them to change isn’t constructive. What you do sets the tone. Often, they will follow your lead because its tough to argue when someone is being nice. Plus, it’s great example for your kids.
You Might Be Saying…
“But I’m not the problem. They should be changing too.” Sometimes you have be the one to jump start things. When you change, the relationship changes. For example, stop blaming and you will avoid those nasty arguments that lead nowhere. Instead, use I messages like the ones below.
Don’t say “Why can’t you just be supportive?” say, “I feel frustrated when you stayed on your iPhone when I was trying to talk to you.” Simple but effective.
2. How to Check Yourself
The second step to improving relationships is increasing awareness of what you’re doing. Sometimes, you don’t realize that you’re actually hurting the relationship that you’re trying to keep. Here’s a mini-checklist to get you started.
In your relationships…
- Can you talk things out (mostly) without having a harsh or critical tone?
- Are you able to repair hurts in the moment or soon after?
- Do you avoid asking for what you want directly?
- Is you or your partner’s anger creating problems?
- Is there something that you’re not willing to take responsibility for?
Getting clear on the problem opens the door for positive change.
Note – If you think the other person is the problem that might BE the problem! Focusing on the other person continues the cycle of blame. This has to stop before any significant improvement can be made. Instead, focus on I messages and expressing your opinions not being right. Being the authority leaves you feeling alone.
Once you figure out what isn’t working, you’re ready to move to the next step.
3. Why Being Accountable Heals
Taking responsibility separates those who struggle in relationships from those who thrive. Admitting what you contribute promotes the solution. It starts with a simple apology. Some helpful comments are;
“You may be right.”
“ I can see why you’re upset.”
“That makes sense.”
“ I could have done that differently.”
“ Let’s start over.”
“Can you say that in a different way so I can hear you?”
These comments can be a powerful bridge towards a peace.
Next time you say something hurtful go back and acknowledge it. By admitting it, you can avoid that attack/defend mode that creates distance. Your partner feels heard and you can start to feel close again. Admitting your mistakes builds intimacy and trust.
Sometimes, the other will follow and apologize for their part too!
4. Figuring Out What Action to Take
Next is figuring out which action to take in order to heal your relationships. Here are some questions to get you started.
- Do you give in too easily then feel resentful? – If so, start being honest and say no!
- Are you in an abusive or one-sided relationship? – Do you need help to end it?
- Do you blame your partner for your unhappiness? – Take responsibility for your own joy!
- Are you expecting your partner to meet all of your needs? – Get your needs met elsewhere too!
More Tips to Improve Your Relationships
- Change the focus from You to I in your communication
- Don’t neglect your needs for the relationship
- Set healthy boundaries by choosing what you’ll do ( and not do )
- Learn to use time-outs to avoid nasty arguments
- Acknowledge your part in a situation
- Have a support system to avoid dependency issues
- Find help if you can’t leave the relationship
Relationships change when you do something different even if you’re the only one practicing it. When you get healthier, the decision to leave or stay becomes more clear.
These tools help to assess your behavior and create some healing in your relationships. Focusing on your behavior is where your power lies because without that nothing really changes.
This post was previously published on CounselingRecover.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
Photo credit: Pixabay