Relationships are central and integral to most, if not all, people. The quality of our lives is often correlated with the quality of our relationships– when we feel complete with the love and joy we receive from existing relationships, we generally deal with life in a way that reflects our fulfillment. We exude a positive aura that becomes contagious to others, we look at the world and each experience it brings in a better light, we relate to others better, and we are happier.
But relationships take work. They don’t just flourish without two individuals dedicating significant time and effort in the process. It requires a solid, unwavering commitment despite changes and challenges to preserve and develop.
To have happier, more fulfilling relationships, read on 21 tips below. Hopefully these inspire you to take a look at your relationships and to keep working at them, taking and applying lessons as you go.
- The first and most important relationship in your life is your relationship to yourself. This is the relationship that is least understood and most overlooked and yet, if you are off-centre in yourself this affects all your relationships. It is essential to learn to love yourself unconditionally and to have self-worth.
- Relationships provide you with true learning experiences. These can be challenging and difficult for you but if you are prepared to acknowledge the challenges as yours you will grow through them and discover more about yourself and the other person. It is also important to acknowledge here that there are abusive relationships where the challenge is to move out of them.
- Spend time regularly thinking about what you love, appreciate and admire in yourself and others you are close to. This builds self-love and self-esteem and increases your love for another. It also truly increases your own feeling of being loved and worthy.
- Remember when your buttons are pushed this tells you that you have issues you need to look at. The generally held belief is that other people cause one’s emotions. The truth is that other people are the triggers that bring up feelings and emotions that you have repressed in yourself. When you take it on board that these are your feelings and emotions then you can begin to understand them and to clear them.
- Whatever you focus on, you increase. So if you focus on what irritates you and gets you down in the other person, you see more of it. When you focus on what you love and appreciate about them you feel more love for them and see more of their good points.
- Consciously feel gratitude and think about all the people and things and experiences that you are grateful for. Gratitude is uplifting and takes you into a very good space in yourself. It expands you and your experience and replaces that habit of thinking and focusing on what you don’t have, what isn’t suiting you and all such things that only drag you down and drain you.
- Be a love finder instead of a fault finder. This is another habit that is ingrained in most people, linked to the habit of self-criticism. It has you focused on looking for faults in yourself and in others. You can choose to be a love finder – focused on what you love in yourself and in the other.
- Organise to have time with your partner each week, time to talk and share together. This can often be overlooked and yet this effort can make a great difference and nourish the relationship. Set a date for a date!
- Realize that you are the only person you can change – generally the focus is on trying to change the other person. The great thing is that when you change yourself – for example, your attitude, your way of reacting and choose to respond – you will see real and positive changes in others around you too.
- Be ready to admit your mistakes and to love and forgive yourself and make sure you learn from your mistakes. Apologize if this is called for and you will feel strong for doing so. Mistakes are part of learning and growing. If you are caught in the belief that you shouldn’t make mistakes then you cover them up and so you don’t learn from them and are inclined to make the same ones over again.
- Never entertain guilt or shame. These are old learned and faulty habits that don’t help or improve matters in any way. Look at the thoughts and old beliefs causing negative feelings like these and change them.
- Never put yourself down, criticize or minimize yourself or give yourself a hard time – or others either. These, again, are old faulty habits that are of no help and only serve to make you and others feel bad and powerless.
- Praise yourself and others for what is well done and look for opportunities to give praise. Praise uplifts and brings out the best in you and in others. It’s a great motivator and inspirer to greater things.
- Stop discussions with another when either of you becomes negative and upset. Take time out to calm down and reflect on what happened and look at your options. Try the discussion again when you and/or the other person have calmed down.
- Keep a gratitude notebook and write in it what you are grateful for in your partner. This works especially well when both parties do it but even if just one does it, you will see a difference. The ideal is for both parties to do it and to give it to the other and this shared appreciation has an uplifting effect.
- Choose to respond instead of react to others close to you. When something happens, instead of jumping to conclusions, stay calm and breathe and choose how you want to respond. This makes for opportunity to see things differently and have a very different experience.
- Listen to the other person and give them time to say what it is they want to say before you respond. Watch arriving at hasty conclusions and interpretations.
- Allow the other person their feelings rather than try to explain them away. Acknowledge them and, while you may share how you see it from your own perspective, honor how they are seeing it too.
- Don’t hold onto unresolved issues – make time to talk them over. Acknowledge that these are your issues and that you need to talk them over to get clearer and to understand better where the other person is coming from.
- Communication is key to good relationships. Make time to communicate on things that are important to you. If you find yourself holding back or swallowing back something you want to say, take time to understand what is stopping you. This makes a really great difference as, often, what’s holding you back are old patterns of thinking from childhood. When you begin to understand these, they reduce in size and are no longer the big monsters they seemed to be from the point of view of the child.
- “To thine own self be true”. Its so easy to overlook yourself and what you value, want or believe out of fear that by expressing these you will create conflict or loose the affection or regard of the other. Healthy relationships are based on being true to yourself, honoring and loving the person you are and at the same time loving and respecting the other and their truth.
**The above list is taken from the document 21 Tips to Happier and Fulfilling Relationships from http://creatinghappyandfulfillingrelationships.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/21-Tips-to-Happier-and-Fulfilling-Relationships.doc