on improving relationships

Since adding Tiny Buddha to my Google Reader, I think I’ve starred about 75% of the posts so that I could remember to come back to them! I always find their daily reminders relevant, insightful, and memorable.

Buddha…with shades!

A recent article really caught my eye though: The Relationships We Wish We Could Improve. I’m willing to wager that most of you have felt like you wanted to improve a current relationship but felt at a loss for how to do it.

This is one of those articles where I want to copy and paste the whole thing, but I’ll just provide you with a few of the points and quotes that stood out to me :

“Years ago, a therapist told me we can’t ever change other people; we can only change how we respond to them.” 

“But what do we do when we respond more calmly, or try to see things differently, but we still find ourselves getting hurt?”

“I’ve learned that changing our response to people means changing how we engage with them.”

“… it’s our job to recognize that so we don’t continually cause ourselves stress by trying to smash a square peg into a round hole.”

“…we change when we realize what we might lose if we don’t, and recognize that the discomfort of doing things differently is better than the pain of that loss.”

“We can’t make someone else make an effort. But we can make smart decisions for our own well-being. This may inspire someone else to change; it might not. Either way, we’ve honored the most important relationship in our lives: the one we have with ourselves.”

But the quote that stood out to me the most:

“It might mean refusing to feel guilty or defensive, taking things less personally, or modeling the type of behavior we’d like to see in them.”

I have a really hard time not feeling guilty even if I know or feel that I’m in the right. This guilt often prevents me from making rational decisions or standing my ground, so this point really spoke to me. I also often take things personally, even if I know it’s not about me. Lastly, I love the suggestion of modeling behavior that we would like to see- reminds me of the Golden Rule. I think it’s important to find the fine line between being kind and having a backbone, though.

Did this article speak to anyone else? What other techniques do you use for managing and improving relationships? 

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2 thoughts on “on improving relationships

  1. love this! i have a hard time with this as well…i struggled at one point with a particular friend that i’d had for a LONG time and ended up basically “giving up” on the friendship because I realized that even when things were “good,” i wasn’t getting even close to what I was giving of myself to the relationship. it was hard to let go but ended up being for the better! Made me feel terrible and like a quitter and super down at the time…but the other thing I always keep in mind is that everything happens for a reason – even hard times in a relationship or the end of one. great thoughts as usual cristina!

    • Thanks so much for commenting; always nice to know that someone relates..and is reading 🙂 I had a friend like that too and it’s a tough tough thing. I came to the realization that I would always be there for said friend, but couldn’t maintain a regular friendship.
      It’s also challenging when you don’t have a decision whether to stay in the relationship or not, like family! That’s why these techniques were so helpful for me.

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