The scariest part of relationships is coming to a place where you must start dealing with one. We have all started a new job, gone somewhere we know no one, or been in a place where we have to grocery shop alone. Friends are not necessarily everywhere and able to be present in every situation to help navigate the complications of life. But those relationships play an important role in how we interact and live in the world.
Why are relationships so easy when we are younger?
As children we find it easy to make what would be seamless friendships. Whether we like the same doll, or you have a pretty shirt on, or better yet our moms have made us besties from birth with the endless play dates. But what happens when we begin to grow, and our childhood bestie starts to do things we do not like or do not agree with. Or better yet, what happens when our own parents or other relationships begin to change, we do not like or agree with how the relationship is changing? How is it we can navigate these relationship boundaries and bonds from birth?
I want to run as fast I can away from confrontation!
In every relationship there will come a time when you are faced with the world known as confrontation—it is awkward, annoying, and really uncomfortable. The last thing anyone wants to do is look at someone and say “hey, you know when you said that it was ugly and really hurt my feelings, I know your intention wasn’t to be mean, but it just really hit a nerve with me.” After saying that we can immediately feel guilty for either telling someone they hurt is or for being the person who did something hurtful or wrong. We all have had that sinking feeling of being unintentionally harmful in our language or how we treated someone. We can get caught up right there in the feelings of that moment. Ugh, now whether you are on the receiving end or giving end of this type of conversation there is a lot of emotions that will need to be worked through. And while our intention may be to never to hurt a person, including ourselves these situations still do happen! When these situations happen to us, we tend to excuse others and their behavior at the expense of our own continued hurt. Learning to deal with confrontation in a healthy way is possible and needed if we want to have life giving relationships.
How do you take care of you within your relationship?
There is a solution! Our thearpists can help! How you may ask well, let me share for a moment if you would: therapy.
Having a person who you can sit with and share some of your struggles from an unbiased, unknowing perspective is insightful. Together we will create a safe space that allows you take the time to look at the relationship and how it is affecting you. We will also help you look at yourself and determine what you need in relationships. The most important relationship is the one we must create with ourselves, and we can help you move forward with developing that. What does this look like? For everyone it will be a little different. For example, when you think of a relaxing evening, what does that include, what is your self-care routine? Are you a person who likes to be pampered or is sitting on the couch binging your favorite show something that entices you? Wherever you find your peace and can relax, let go, and breathe that is your self-care, that is your time in your relationship. It is important to spend time with yourself, listen to what your body, mind, and soul need.
How does taking care of myself help me in my relationships?
Unfortunately, as a society, some will view self-care as a selfish concept, how dare you take a moment to breath? Do you mean to tell me that you cannot work 60-hour work weeks? What, how ridiculous! The truth is: our relationships with ourselves take a backseat to everything else in our lives, every other person, place, and thing. And we must remember that the relationship we have with ourselves is reflective of the relationship we have with those around us. We cannot give to others what we do not have to give. If we are always running on empty it will be very hard to be encouraging and supportive of others.
How can I begin to take care of myself?
Here is a challenge: take a moment, take a breath, and listen what do you hear, what do you feel, and what do you smell? Take time to engage all your senses and take note of how that feels exactly. Is it a good feeling, bad feeling, indifferent? Is it strange, do you feel a bit silly just sitting there waiting? Do not worry you are not alone, and this exercise may not be one you find helpful. But when you take that moment to breath, you can start to hear something of the resounding things in your head. Things that happened at work, things that happened at the grocery store. All the interactions you had and just how that made you feel. This first step in making the time to exhale can lead to a healthy practice of reflection.
How we feel about ourselves reflects directly on all our relationships.
Think about it, when you got cut-off on the freeway this morning, did it leave you in a frantic mood and then by default left you in sort of an odd, irritated mood? Or were you able to take a breath, be grateful no one was hurt and let that go? This is how our self-relationship plays a role in the relationships around us. When we are confronted with a person who is a little more crass or abrupt, what is your reaction? Does it mirror the energy you received from the person or situation or is there a level of understanding that taking a step back, being patient and respecting that maybe this is not a relationship we need, want, or would like to be a part of. Knowing yourself and what you need in relationships is necessary in developing life-giving relationships.
What are we hoping to receive from relationships?
The next challenge here would be this: make a list, what are some of the things that bring you joy, it could be anything, a nice piece of chocolate, when someone holds the door opened for you, an awful dad-joke that leaves you chuckling endlessly. Now do you associate anyone with any of these things, do they bring a smile to your face, or bring you peace in your heart, or calm your spirit. Think of the relationships that are purely simple, that require little to no complications. The ones that make you feel warm, the ones that want to just sit and binge watch your favorite show or go on that 13-mile hike with you. Relationships are hard work, they take a lot of patience, a lot of listening, a lot of kindness, but they are innately not supposed to be harmful. They are supposed to make you think a little more, work a little harder to be the best version of yourself.
Relationships are ever evolving.
We want to be surrounded by life-giving relationships, but it is important to emphasize that not all relationships are going to be life giving or last for a long time. There are relationships that we cannot choose to like in the workplace. We all are growing and trying to be the best versions of ourselves. Sometimes those versions take different direction and that is okay.
Relationship Therapy in Greenville, SC
If you are struggling in a relationship, we would love to help you work on resolving those issues. How can we help you as you choose to be the best you can be and to build life giving relationships? For more information on resolving relationship issues please click on our service resource https://upstaterestorativecounseling.com/relationship-issues/