The start of a new year is a well-known marker for setting goals, making plans, and adjusting our sails. Self-improvement Is often at the root of our New Year’s resolutions, as working on your self can improve the quality of your life. It is not common to look at our dynamics with others in motivation to improve our self. It is common to overlook how the relationships in our life along with how we operate in them impact us as individuals. Our relationship dynamics effect our emotions, mental health, self-care, and general well-being. We carry a concept of our self in each and every relationship we hold. When reflected on, relationships can be like mirrors as they allow us the ability to discover areas of our hearts and minds. It is true that relationships can be quite difficult. If you have close relationships in your life you have probably encountered difficulties at some point. From disagreements, disappointments, and casual indifferences in opinion, we can struggle to keep our relationships happy and healthy. These very common hurdles faced in our relationships can leave us with uncomfortable feelings. Feelings (if not properly worked through) can be internalized ultimately effecting our self-concept. Oftentimes feelings are minimized or overlooked to keep a relationship in-place. Although our means are well, this impacts the quality of our relationships in the long run.
It takes two people to develop a dynamic, however there is a lot to be learned about yourself in all of your relationships and there are things that you on your own can do to improve a dynamic. The number one thing to recognize in any relationship is if it is healthy. There are relationships we may have established in a healthy matter but have become dysfunctional over time. The good news is with the right tools and patience relationships can be transformed. In the transformation of our relationships we conquer and improve parts of our self that may need healing. Exploring the dynamics of your relationships can give you more satisfaction with yourself and others.
Below are 5 areas to explore in the dynamics of your relationships to improve the quality of your relationships and your life:
All our relationships require our attention. Life can be busy and sometimes we don’t put our relationships on our priority list. You may go about your days knowing the people closest to you will always be in reach. Although this may be true, lack of attention can diminish closeness and a deep bond. Taking time to think about our relationships and the importance they hold in our lives can help recognize the need to give them more attention. Where most our misconceptions can be found is in thinking we need to over give or over love to show others our care and appreciation. Showing attention does not have to be song and a dance, and sometimes simple gestures can mean the world to others. Reminding someone you love them, taking the time to see how they are, or simply stating expressing their importance to you can be small action that yields great love. Keep in mind there can also be relationships that acquire too much attention. Demands and exceptions are heavy to carry. Relationships that acquire you to go above and beyond can take you away from yourself and your own needs. If you find yourself carrying exceptions of others creating boundaries in a relationship can help you mentally and emotionally stay at peace. Attention in our relationships with others (or even yourself) is the most meaningful to give. If you find yourself on an extreme end of over giving, or not giving enough, feelings of guilt can be present. Guilt is not a signal that we are bad, but often a door to acknowledge where we can improve.
Exploring love languages
Love has a general definition to the population. Where we can lose out is forgetting that love is given and taken in different ways. This in itself is a very personal thing. Relationships can become hard when we feel lack of satisfaction, or others feel lack of satisfaction from us. Some of us may appreciate a surprise bouquet of flowers, while some appreciate a text during the day, and others may appreciate a hug or help during difficult times. There are so many ways to give and receive love, through touch, verbal appreciation or acts of kindness. We often give love to others in the context of our own minds; meaning we give love the way we want to receive it. Taking the time to think about how your partner, or parent, or friend show you love is great insight to how they would like to receive it. On the flip side, how you give love is great insight to understanding your own personal perception of love. In our relationships we can take the time to discuss our own personal values and expectations and this can be quite helpful in giving and receiving. It is also important to remember that people won’t always love you the exact way you expect to receive it, however the most important part of sharing love with one another is not how you do it, but that you do it, and appreciate every act of love that is given to you.
Respect is a vital part of a healthy relationship. Disagreements can happen when we not only have a difference in opinion, but loose respect and an open nature towards others. Respecting someone else thoughts and feelings does not mean dis acknowledging your own. It simply means tossing it to the acceptance of indifference. This can be quite overwhelming at times, but the larger thing to recognize is respecting other opinions and feelings can decrease a lot of stress and unwanted tension. If you find your feelings and thought are frequently in contrast with another, let it be. Getting lost on agreement can leave you in circles. Respecting others can make them feel safe and loved. This can allow the other half of your relationship to partake in giving you more respect back. If you find yourself constantly giving respect and have little on the receiving end, take the time to reflect on your feelings. Lack of respect from others can make us feel as if our feelings are unimportant. It is extremely important to remember our feeling are always important and self-validation can free us from feeling disrespected.
We all crave acceptance in our relationships. From our social life to our families as well as our intimate relationships. We crave to be good enough and sometimes forget to let others know that they are. Placing expectations on others or being overly critical can give someone the perception of not meeting our standards. Of course, we would like it if our partner didn’t snore, our best friends didn’t talk during movies, or that our mother was less forgetful. Acknowledging how another’s behaviors affects us is important, however continually pointing out your personal dislikes can become taxing to your relationship. There are things we can accept in our relationships and there are also things we know we can’t. We can make the mistake of wanting those around us to confirm to our view. Tough love is important, but as is the gentle love that allows those around us to be themselves. If you find yourself feeling unaccepted in your relationships looking at your own personal values is a great place to find self-acceptance and let, go of the burned of meeting the standards and expectations of those around you. If you frequently find yourself to be critical in your relationships, ask yourself why? You can also explore the needs you are looking to fulfill from others.
Forgiving others can be difficult when our emotions are heavy. Forgiveness is powerful and can be a tool in our relationships that hold more potential for our own personal growth and happiness than anything else. When we hold onto pain, anger and resentments, it truly harms us more than we care to believe. It is important to remember that we are all human, and with that comes the ability to make mistakes; especially in our relationships. Forgiveness is about keeping your heart open and connecting with the inescapable fact we all make errors. Forgiveness is also important for the relationship we hold with our self. We may have found errors in our own decisions in our relationships or hold judgments of where we could have done better. Although it can be uncomfortable and sometimes our pride may stand strong, opening our hearts and forgiving pain is the ultimate healing our relationships need. When you can let go of pain you are able to have a clearer view of yourself and others. Forgiveness allows us to let go of the past and move forward in the present. It is truly the most valuable tool.
As you begin to conquer your relationships you begin to conquer parts of yourself. Growth happens in the mist of conflict; the moment we realize we have a choice in how we operate. It is empowering to transform your dynamics and heal your relationships and even more empowering to conquer parts of yourself that need healing. Humans by nature desire deep and meaningful relationships. Our relationships should always increase the quality of our life and help us develop as individuals. By reflecting and improving on who we are in our relationships we can become better for our self and the ones we love.