If you’re unhappy with any of your relationships, you’re probably placing some of the blame on the other person. At one level, it does make it easier to handle, when we don’t think it is entirely our fault if things are not how we would like them to be. But at the same time we are only prolonging our pain and suffering, because you are in control of your own peace and happiness.. It’s time to stop waiting for the other person to change.
You probably already realize that you cannot change other people, so stop trying. Now this is not to say you can’t request cooperation or negotiate agreements, what we’re saying is you must first begin with yourself. You are in control of creating the healthier, happier relationships you want.
It’s true. Changing relationships that are not going the way you would like them to is actually possible. Sometimes talking about problems helps resolve them, other times more drastic measures are called for. Whatever the problem, you probably already know that ignoring it is not going to help. Here are four steps that you can take to improve your relationships, even if you think you’ve already done all that you can.
One – Discover What Your Values Are
Before you can fix a troubled relationship, you must clearly identify what it is that you value for yourself. Think about exactly what you want to experience in your relationships. Maybe you value peaceful, harmonious relationships, ones that do not involve conflict or fighting. You might want to have more honest and satisfying relationships.
Values are not equivalent to strategies. You cannot establish harmony and peace in a relationship simply by eliminating conflict and fighting. You have to develop a strategy that will lead you to harmony—not just to avoid fighting.
Two – Decide What it is That You Truly Want from Your Relationships
When you are identifying your values and strategies, it’s critical that you focus on the positives of what you DO want, not what you DON’T want. These two things are not one and the same.
If you identify that you do not want your significant other to spend so much time with their friends, and then they decide to work more, this is not solving any of your relationship problems. Instead, identify a value such as connection or intimacy, and then focus your attention on developing strategies that work toward that value.
If you express things in terms of what you DON’T want, this does not clarify what you DO want. Instead of saying things in negative terms, express to your relationship partners what it is that you do want and look forward to from your relationship, and you will be more likely to get those things specifically. Only then will you see the real changes you hoped for.
Three – Take Time to Find Out What the Other Person Wants
So, you have successfully identified what it is that you want in your relationship. Now, it’s time to identify what it is that the other person wants. This is the only way you can truly create a shared vision for the relationship. Identifying what you each want makes it possible for all parties to be satisfied. By taking the initiative, you are demonstrating how much you care about the relationship, opening the other person to the possibility of wanting to make it better, too.
You can help the other person identify what they value in a few different ways. One is to ask them what they want in the relationship. This is not always the most effective method; however, because others may not know what’s most important to them. Another way is to observe their behaviors, and guess what the value that may be driving them to behave in certain ways. Remember, only guess strategy free values. You can use our free value sheet as a guide.
It is very likely that if you ask the other person what they want, they’ll tell you how they want you to change something. As discussed earlier, changing the other person is not the best way to make a relationship better. They just might not realize this yet. You can help get to their underlying values by doing a little digging on your own, and even telling them about the values that you have identified for yourself and how you learned to do that. Mutual satisfaction is the goal, and helping your relationship partner identify what they would like is one step you can take toward better relationship cooperation.
Four – Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself
Any relationship difficulty can leave a person feeling tremendous amounts of pain, self-doubt, or insecurity. Recognize these feelings in yourself, and remember that these uncomfortable feelings can be easily triggered by small things that happen.
When triggering events happen and you react in ways you don’t enjoy, remember to shift your focus of attention to what you are trying to accomplish. Keep in mind that you cannot change the past, and let yourself off the hook a little bit for things you may have done that you regret. Don’t assume that the past will predict the future. The future is the part you have the ability to change.
You need to avoid taking your own feelings personally, too. When you experience self-doubt, guilt, or insecurity, remember that everyone feels these things at some point. Identify the triggers that have you react rather than respond in a situation, and take the necessary steps to recharge yourself and get back to the positive place that you have worked so hard to develop.
It is important to be gentle with yourself during difficult times. Relationships can be very tricky, so give yourself some credit for attempting to make your relationships healthy and happier. Stay aligned with your values, and you will reap the rewards. We guarantee it!