5 Simple Steps to Improve Any Relationship
All types of relationships take work, whether the relationship is with a partner, parent, child, friend, colleague, and acquaintance. We are united by our similarities, but differences in opinion and personality can drag relationships down if you don’t find a way to work together to build respect and trust. Ottawa Counselling Services recommend taking these five simple steps to improve any relationship:
Do you find yourself in constant conflict with someone over their beliefs, opinions, or behaviour? Whether it’s a coworker irritating you with their quirks or your partner disagreeing with you on what channel to watch, it is a mistake to respond to these differences with anger. Instead, focus on practicing tolerance. You expect people to tolerate your opinions and preferences, so extend the same courtesy to everyone else. Remember, all of the differences combine to make a person that you presumably love or at least like. Tolerate and gain new perspective from the differences, and delight in your shared beliefs.
The Big Picture
All too often, we get bogged down in the little things. We work ourselves up toward anger instead of letting an issue go, or create a rift by trying to win an argument instead of just ceding the point. When you look back in a year or month (or even an hour), was it worth it? Whenever there is conflict in a relationship, focus instead on the bigger picture. Those little victories based on pride mean nothing in contrast with the love, memories, respect, and support that acts as the foundation of your relationship. Whenever an argument or conflict starts to heat up, take a step back and remember the importance of the big picture.
Learning to Listen
Have you ever noticed in an argument that you’re not actually engaging with the other person, but just responding to what you think they said or the assumed subtext instead of the content of their words? Do you anticipate offensive statements and put yourself on the defensive as a result? Listening is a skill, and it takes practice and focus to develop the ability to truly listen, process, and communicate with the other person in the conversation. Remember conversations are a dialogue between two people, so place value on actually listening carefully without making assumptions. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt that they’re carefully listening as well.
It’s all too easy to let verbal and physical expressions of love fall to the wayside. Make a conscious effort to show that the person is valuable to you. Show your love by hugging your daughter, or consulting with your husband on an important decision, or phoning your father to ask about their day. Love is powerful, but we don’t wield that power as often as we should in overt ways. You’re much less likely to get in a conflict with someone you just hugged good morning.
If you struggle to maintain healthy relationships, Ottawa Counselling Services can help. Individual therapy can help you gain the tools to establish healthy relationship patterns, and couples therapy can assist spouses with repairing and strengthening their relationship. Family therapy is useful for families who would like to develop healthier communication.
Any relationship can be improved with conscious effort and these five steps. Schedule an appointment with Ottawa Counselling Services and strengthen your connection with others.