3 Simple Tips That Can Eliminate The Pain
Relationships… some are a joy, and some are… well… not that. However, life without them would be pretty boring and lonely so we deal with it. Even the relationships that make you crazy are still usually adding some value to your life so you put up with those too.
I’m sure if we could have it any way, we’d all pick having happy, healthy, and harmonious relationships. The trouble is for most of us, learning how to have those types of relationships isn’t something we’ve ever really effectively taken the time to learn. For most of us, we’ve learned from trial and error and by watching the people around us – and when we do that we often pick up some really ineffective habits.
With that in mind I figured it would be worthwhile to share with you 3 basic effective relationship-building tips:
- STOP JUDGING
- STOP BLAMING
- STOP PRETENDING/ TOLERATING
Not what you were expecting? Did that feel a little abrasive maybe? Like you were being yelled at? What if I said it this way instead:
- Be accepting
- Take responsibility
- Tell the truth
Is that a little easier to swallow? Somehow it is, isn’t it? Shall we look at why that is? Let’s start with #1 from the list and I’m sure that will shed some light on how basic and important these rules are.
#1. Stop Judging & Start Accepting
So, if you have even a mild reaction to words on a page like ‘STOP JUDGING’ in all capital letters, imagine how sensitive you are in real life to the tone, body language, and implied meaning from the people in your life.
If you add any relationship history or personal history into that mix, I’m sure you can see how easy it is for things to go off the rails in a conversation because of our drive to avoid the experience of feeling judged and made wrong.
Being judged sucks.
It shakes our confidence and our sense of self, that’s why we get so reactionary when we feel any level of it happening to us. Think of an experience in your life where you’ve felt judged or made wrong and how that affected you. How did you feet during and after… not awesome right?
You probably felt defensive. You may have gotten angry? Some people shutdown and withdraw when they feel judged… The point is, feeling judged isn’t an effective relationship builder… and if it’s so easy for you to feel judged because of your sensitive radar, you have to get that everyone else has the same radar and is just as sensitive about when you’re judging them.
If you want to start creating more connection and harmony in your relationships, practice dialing back the judgment. That can be a pretty tall order for some of us since judging and assessing what’s happening and how things are going is such a natural tendency.
The technique I use to reduce the amount of time I spend in Judgmentown is the idea that there really isn’t a right or wrong answer or solution.
Huh?? Hear me out – put aside the idea of right and wrong for a sec, and consider there are simply just actions that will get you results. Some of the actions will move you towards a preferred result and some actions will move you away from it. Either way, ACCEPT that you and other people are just taking actions, ACCEPT that it’s not good or bad, ACCEPT that it just is – it either works or it doesn’t. It’s that simple.
The question you get to ask yourself and others instead of passing a judgment is:
- “Is that action serving you in regards to what you said you wanted?”
Give that a try and see what difference it makes to your interactions with people as well as the way you view yourself. It’s amazing what can happen with a small shift like that! Next on the list:
#2. Stop Blaming & Start Taking Responsibility
I know. I know… And the thing is, no matter what, you are 100% responsible for your 50% of all the relationships in your life. Let me say that again, cuz it’s a game changing life lesson and a TSN turning point kinda tip:
YOU ARE 100% RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR 50% OF ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.
Whoa right? It might feel like a bit much at first glance… and then it somehow starts to feel kind of empowering right?
Why is that? Because when you are responsible, you are in the driver’s seat. When you are being responsible for what’s happening in your life you get to decide how things are going to go.
Are you wondering what applying this tip would look like in your relationships? Especially in those where you tend to experience more drama than you might like? Let me help you out with that…
The next time you want to point a finger, no matter what is happening, stop for a moment and ask yourself: “What did I do or say (and sometimes more importantly what did I not do or not say) that may have contributed to this situation?” In order for this to work, you’ll have to be really honest… and responsible.
If you can see what you might have done to contribute to the situation or drama, own it. Take responsibility for it and clean up your mess or impact.
This can be a real challenge for a lot of us, mostly because when we take responsibility for something we feel like we are saying we were wrong and that makes us feel judged… which doesn’t work to get you the results you’re looking for. If you’re struggling with this part of taking responsibility, see point 1 for clarification about this and what to do about it 🙂
#3. Stop Pretending Or Tolerating & Start Telling the Truth
I’m not gonna lie… this one is a little more challenging for most of us than #1 & #2. That’s the truth for a couple of reasons actually.
Firstly because most of us, in our self-directed-learning about relationships, have picked up the habit of being over-worried about hurting people’s feelings. Most of us have learned that we should edit what we’re saying and how we’re saying it and who we’re saying it to, in an effort to avoid making waves, hurting feelings, and creating drama. The thing is, we’ve taken that idea waaaaaaaay too far.
Sure the “Thumper Rule” still stands – there’s no point in saying something hurtful that has no value-add to a situation. Just because you don’t like someone’s pants doesn’t mean you have to tell them so, especially if it’s an unsolicited opinion.
However, if you choose to not talk about what’s important to you or set boundaries about what you’re not okay with simply because you don’t want to hurt or upset the other person, that’s where you run into ‘unworkable’ territory with the Thumper Rule.
When you compromise yourself for the sake of someone else’s feelings (especially if it’s not you’ve done that to yourself) eventually you’ll create a level of frustration and resentment that you and the relationship can’t recover from. You can’t pretend you’re ok with something significant or important when you’re not. You can’t tolerate actions perpetrated by others at a cost to you and your self-esteem… That’s called disempowerment, or not empowered, or not in power – essentially you’re not in the driver’s seat of your life.
First take a moment right now and think about the last time you compromised yourself for the sake of someone else. What was the situation and why did you feel compelled to pretend or tolerate that you were cool with what was happening? What was at stake? And why did you make the other person’s feelings more important than your own?? Do you see a pattern here? Where else does this exist in your life?
Now consider that your feelings are just as important as anyone else’s.
One more time for good measure:
YOUR FEELINGS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ANYONE ELSE’S
Also, give yourself permission to speak up next time… “How” you might ask? I’ll certainly agree that this tip is often a challenge to implement because it’s hard to figure out how to say what needs to be said… so let me give you some example generic statements you can tailor to your specific situation:
- “I appreciate what you’re saying AND (always always ALWAYS use ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ – no exceptions) I’m feeling _________ about it.”
- “You make an excellent point regarding ______________ AND I’m curious about whether you’ve considered _________________ as well?”
- “I can see ____________ is really important to you AND (again with and instead of but) I’d like us to consider __________ as well before we make a decision.”
- “This is clearly an important situation for you AND (again and) I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it right now. I’m going to need some time to think about it before we talk more and come to a conclusion.”
You get the idea about how that phrasing works… You acknowledge what’s going on for them and then you state what’s going on for you. It’s pretty simple if you think about it, and it will definitely take practice to become proficient at. You can do it though. I totally know it!
That about wraps it up for the 3 Quick Tips. These ideas are straightforward and at the same time not always easy to implement. If you need a hand with any of these tips, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to support you in figuring it out or potentially working through a specific situation. I provide free consultations – just click here and send me a note!
P.S.: As a side note, the other reason people will just ‘go with the flow’, pretend they’re okay, and not speak up is usually due to having gone along with things for so long they’ve actually lost sight of how they feel and what they need. If that’s you, you’ll have a little more work to do here before you will effectively be able to start telling the truth. Here are a couple of articles that might help you get started with that:
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