Great relationships are just what you need right now. Have you been suffering for the last year of Covid restrictions like the rest of us? Tired of fighting or of avoiding loved ones and work relationships? Then it’s time for a relationship refresher to boost your mental health. Here’s the takeaway. Relationships go both ways. So, how are you doing? Are you your best self right now? What can you do to improve your relationships now? Do you know what you want and what you need from the people around you? Also, do you know what the people around you need and want from you? Is it reasonable? What you want and what you need may not be the same thing. Knowing yourself is the first step to having the loving and productive relationships that make life a pleasure. We all want stress busting-relationships instead of distress-making relationships. Here’s another reason to take a closer look at your relationships.
Did you know that difficult relationships can make you sick? Literally, you can become depressed, even suicidal when toxic relationships make your life unbearable. First if you’re in danger, get help immediately. Abuse and danger come in many forms. Know what’s healthy and what isn’t.
Where do you turn for help when relationships are too challenging to manage on your own
It’s hard to speak up and talk to family members and friends when you feel at risk. Or when your relationships have reached a low point and you just don’t know what to do. That’s the time to reach out for professional guidance. Everyone needs a professional at some time or another. Nobody’s life is perfect from beginning to end, that’s for sure. Individual and couple therapists like Dr. Sara Harowitz can help you answer the questions you have about what you want and need from your relationships and all the ways you can improve them.
First of all, know that if you are emotionally or physically abused and are at risk right now, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. There are many kinds of emotional abuse in toxic and narcissistic families, and with help you can address the trauma and begin to heal. If you’re looking to improve your relationships and want to get started right now, however, here are some ideas to work on. Great relationships are made with love, not demands or neglect. Here are our top five tips.
Cultivate emotional connection
What is emotional connection, you may well ask. It’s not having someone, either a family member or a spouse or a friend just tell you they love you or care about you, or even give you gifts. That’s behavior, not emotion. Emotional connection is when you and everyone around you feels valued and listened to and cherished.
Show your loved ones you’re connected to their feelings, wants and needs. And see if your loved ones are loving you back so that you feel the love, too. Some relationships just exist just for peaceful coexistence without any real effort to relate on a deeper level. Here’s where you can make an effort look at each other, be kind, and thoughtful, and talk about things that really matter. That’s emotional conntection.
Do things together
Good relationships are more than texting and emailing. Now that Covid restrictions are easing, get together and have some fun. This goes for every relationship that matters to you. Have a coffee with a friend or family member who’s lonely. Play games and make music and art with your children, spouse and partner. Play is an important part of relationships and living a happy life. No matter how busy your schedules make time to be together.
- Find activities each one of you enjoys.
- Make having fun together a new goal.
- Try something new that gets you outside into the sun. Is beach time possible where you live?
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Good communication is essential for every great relationship. Talk, share news. Tell the truth about what you want. No one can read your mind. If you don’t say what you mean, no one will know who you are or what you want. Communicating is having both sides share what’s going on inside. When you keep secrets or don’t dare to speak up, your relationship is not a healthy one. Can you listen? Do you always have to do what others want you to do. Are you a people pleaser? These are the qualities that make or break a relationship. Two fundamentals of a healthy relationship are communicating honestly and being able to listen, not just react.
Develop restraint and boundaries
Guess what? You don’t have to say everything you’re thinking. When you attack a loved one and say mean things, you’re not helping. You’re hurting any relationship in which you are cruel or abusive. Reacting instead of listening is another way that relationships get in trouble. Sometimes the best thing you can do is be forgiving instead of accusing. Arguing raises the heat and rarely solves conflicts. How can you be the person you want to be. Here are some ways you can develop restraint.
- Don’t attack your partner directly.
- Be willing to forgive.
- When tempers rise, take a break.
- Recognize when to let go.
- Give yourself some space for creativity and peace.
- Say no when too many demands are made of you. Your loved ones may need some time to adjust when you set boundaries.
Lower your expectations
Expectations are killers of great relationships. Expectations are disappointments waiting to happen, have you ever heard that phrase? It means life isn’t going to go the way you want it to all the time. Much of the time life is going to get in the way of your wishes.
Do you know people who are always discontented with family members or children or lovers? If you’re expecting more than you’re getting, then you need to rethink who you’re with or…who you are. Are you asking too much of those around you. No relationship is perfect because no people are perfect. The only person you can control and change is yourself. So, that’s always the first place to start. You can have great relationships when you love and work on yourself. We promise.