Relationship doesn’t always happen or evolve easily. Even relationships that seemed to flow easily in the beginning eventually come to a place where there has to be some intentional effort made on the part of each person involved for it to continue to work. Reality is that personality conflicts, misunderstanding, or error in communication can get in the way of understanding and being understood. Another truth is that while we can’t control anyone else’s behavior towards us, we do have control over our own responses. Whether the relationship you are tending is a very personal or professional one, whether it’s been complicated by years of history or is new and possibly fragile, there are some basic but important steps you can take to help your relationship get or stay on track.
It is easy to assume what someone else is saying, thinking, or feeling. Without slowing down to listen, we can make the mistake of projecting our own “stuff” (trauma, history, experience), and then creating further misunderstanding. Instead of assuming you understand, imagine that you are a blank slate and give the person an opportunity to really be heard. Then ask questions and be intentional about seeking to understand the others response.
Another caution would be to emphasize listening more than you speak. Ask questions and stay interested. Take deep breaths and be prepared to gather more information than you aim to give. Repeat back what you are hearing, and use phrases like, “So what I’m hearing you say is…. ” Listening is a skill that you can cultivate, and even learn to enjoy. A great benefit of listening well is that the person who feels like you are really listening will feel better cared for by you, and will be more likely to reciprocate the kindness.
Encourage the Positive
In relationship, it is easy to take for granted the positive that another person brings and focus on the negative. Be intentional about seeking out and focusing on what the person you are in relationship with brings to you. Make a mental note and then reinforce the positive contribution to your life by saying, “I really appreciate it when you…”, or “When you do that I feel really happy inside”. Affirming what another person contributes to you reinforces the wanted behavior so that everyone continues to benefit.
Even when it’s hard, it’s important to remain honest. A healthy relationship is reciprocal and can withstand truth. Don’t lose your sense of self by hiding how you really feel. Being vulnerable is the key component to intimacy and relationship with our loved ones. Being transparent can also establish credibility in more professional venues where how you do business is dependent upon how congruent you are as a person.
If you find yourself stumbling over recurring issues in personal or professional relationships, then there may be a deeper root issue you are missing. If you’ve directly addressed your issue with the person and sensed little or no change, then it may be time to call in support. Orlando Relationship Counseling has experience creating a plan and pointing you towards resources that will help you better your relationships with those who you love and work with.
If your needing more guidance in your relationship then call Life Counseling Solutions today at 407-622-1770. Our expert relationship coaches are here to help. Or, click here to schedule your first appointment.
Author: Zuleida Herba