People must be taken as they are, and we should never try to make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them. Edmund Burke
One of the many reasons relationships fail is because we have a lot of expectations from the other party and consciously or unconsciously we keep finding faults over trivial matters and blow it out of proportion. Other times we are so full of ourselves that we fail to understand that we are actually irritating the other person by our selfish and self centered ways. There are times when we believe we have the right to harshly criticize, articulate uncouthly our feelings particularly when irritated or hurt and worse of all take liberties in ascribing motives to people’s behavior that does not appeal to us. When we let our differences become barbs, turn our expectations into demands and dogmatically spurn friendly overtures to pamper our own ego that is when the first signs of cracks in a relationship show up.
It is tackling our own ego that poses the real problem in maintaining relationships. Many a time we make an issue of a perceived slight to our ego. It could be a comment that we do not agree with or it could be indifference that we think is deliberate or it could be completely misunderstanding a gesture, a communication or even non communication. Other times we want to be given importance, want others to take the lead in touching base with us and far too often we seek to control the relationship. If we step back to take a good hard look at the reasons why we do not get along with some people, why we do not enjoy the company of others and avoid like plague certain individuals we cannot deny the fact that we are in some way at least partly responsible for the situation. Perhaps we need to also look at why the same people could possibly be giving us a wide berth too.
The challenge in any relationship is to balance expectations, minimize presumptions and maintain open communications. This is easier said than done because our personal styles are so varied, we succumb to the pressures of our own emotions and attitudes. While some of us are loud, arrogant and on your face there are others who appear docile, submissive, fearful but are constantly scheming. While those inclined to adopt the aggressive style easily provoke and snap of ties the latter are prone to mask their feelings and yet cunningly severe ties by pushing relationships to the brink. While individual styles play a crucial part in cementing or severing relationships, one can make an attempt to become aware of how to change and soothen ruffled feathers and restore balance and relationships.
The fact is we can with effort on our part, an open mind and honesty of purpose always improve relationships, cement relationships and nurture new relationships. For this the first step is to meet, greet and respect people. The next step is to acknowledge people, praise them when required, be patient if the need arises and give them their due. To scale up a relationship to a different level be more candid without being offensive, be honest without being moralistic and be open to all feedback without being judgmental. Patience, respect and acceptance are three virtues that will help us maintain healthy relationship with all those whom we interact with.
Remember: It doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.
- Recollect three pleasant memories and one unpleasant memory of your relationship with the following people. Ask why you enjoyed the relationship and how you could have helped improve the relationship that was unpleasant.
- Your father
- Your mother
- Your siblings
- Your best friend in school
- Your favorite teacher in school
- The teacher you disliked immensely
- A current colleague or batch mate
- Name one person who comes to mind in the following situations
- An actor or actress you dislike
- A player/ sportsman who you feel is overrated
- An idol/ icon who you would love to meet
- The sweetest person you can think of immediately
- A person known to you personally for whom you feel really sorry for.
- Someone you need to really apologize to.
(In the first three cases are you justified in your feelings since you do not know the people concerned personally)
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