How well do you get on with other people? Do you find the world an unfriendly and hostile place or are most people helpful and friendly towards you? Whichever world you experience, you will find that your relationship with yourself governs all your relationships. How can this be? Your thoughts and emotions mirror your world so if you are feeling upbeat you are likely to perceive things in a positive light and this will affect your attitude to everything and everyone around you.
Gandhi said: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. In the context of relationships you could ask yourself: ‘How do I want to be? Friendly? Aloof? Hostile? ‘ Try adopting one of these attitudes and see how other people treat you! I guarantee that each attitude will produce a different reaction from people you meet, so if you are friendly you will find that others are friendly to you.
How can you use this knowledge to put the sparkle back in your relationships?
I suggest you start in a small way. Aim to brighten someone’s day when you meet them. This might just be smiling and passing the time of day with a complete stranger or paying a compliment to someone who is serving you in a shop. Challenge yourself to see if you can make them smile!
Then move on to people you meet more regularly, such as colleges and social acquaints. You may not particularly like them or find them easy to get on with so they are excellent people to practice on. Be different in the way you interact with them and see what happens. Think about what you want to achieve each time you meet and work out how you need to act or be to get your desired outcome. If it appeals to you, treat it as a scientific experiment.
We generally make friends with people whose interests and values we share and these friends satisfy some of our emotional needs, in just the same way we do for them. If you feel you would like to be closer to a friend, be bold, open and a little vulnerable and do something to become closer to them. Do not wait for them to make the first move.
Family relationships may be difficult – especially when a child becomes a teenager who knows everything and regards their parent as an old-fashioned person who knows nothing. Try to think about what the teenager really wants and try to provide it (and I’m not talking about iPods, CDs and trainers here). Listen carefully to what they are saying and what they are not saying. They may want some boundaries or even your approval. See if you can put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would react to what you are suggesting to say to them. You could try some different scenarios to find out which one would work best.
Perhaps your most important relationship is with your partner. Think what you want from the relationship. What would you have to do to be the perfect partner for your partner? You could focus on the relationship itself and give it its own identity so that you consider how your behavior would affect it. Thinking like this can eliminate the personal power struggles that often damage relations. Sometimes it’s time to put pride aside and be the first to start living a new way.
If you treat yourself with respect, kindness and compassion, you will find this is reflected in your relationships which will sparkle! Enjoy it!