Your relationships, from the casual to the significant, are the most important aspect of your life for happiness. Humans are social animals. When you relate positively, you improve your well-being.
There are many books, articles, and videos about how to have good relationships. This reflects how central relationships are for us to enjoy and have good lives. I’ve come up with 5 building blocks to relate positively. These are based on reading research and literature, observing others, coaching and my own experience.
- Be kind – This may seem obvious, but you may forget at times. Perhaps you speak harshly to the people you love the most. Being Kind makes us feel less stressed, isolated and angry. It also makes us feel happier, more connected with the world, and more open to new experiences.
- Thoughtful effort and time – Relationships are built over time. While it may be that some relationships take work, most take thoughtful effort. Thinking about what is important to other person, remembering what you know about that person and bringing that to your interactions reflects thoughtfulness.
- Know and be known – Steven Covey said “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.*” Get to know the other person. Listen actively to what the person is saying and what is important to this individual. When you respond, be genuine and honest with kindness. Can you tell when others are inauthentic? At times it is important to let others know your boundaries. For many people in helping professions it is hard to set limits. Be aware of your boundaries and let others know. You also need time and energy for yourself.
- Allow for conflict – Sometimes it is hard enough not to be in conflict with yourself, let alone being with another. When thinking about conflict the definition and your perspective matter. Perhaps you experience conflict when making a decision is a difficult. Perhaps it is an opportunity to get to know what’s important to another person. When do you experience conflict? There are 2 strategies that help with conflict 1. Forgiveness and 2. Apologizing . Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.
- Appreciate the positive and the positive appreciates. Appreciate has 2 meanings, 1. Be thankful and 2. Increase in value. To be thankful for the positive, you have to notice it. What you focus on grows, as you focus on the positive you will see more of it. When you express your appreciation to the other, you reinforce the positive behavior or attitude. You may do this with a laugh, a text message or speaking. How do you like to express appreciation?
Relate positively is the “R” of the Vital Signs of Well-Being. To learn, grow and change in ways to create more positive relationships, contact me.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, Well-Being Coach
For Fun check the Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen song Accentuate the Positive
*Covey, Stephen, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 5