How relationships thrive

Having lived amongst and seen first-hand how dysfunctional relationships work, I have learned over the years how not to do things. These are my recommendations:

  • Learn to value each other and each other’s opinion. Think about what each other brings to the relationship so that neither of you are taken for granted. Communication is key;
  • Learn to encourage and support each other regardless of what you’re dealing with on a personal level;
  • Always listen intently to what the other person says. It’s easy to listen but not listen intently;
  • Be open-minded about all conversations, so you don’t stand in judgment;
  • It’s easy to emotionally shut off. We need to emotionally switch back on so that our focus is on the relationship, not on other things;
  • We make our choice to be in a relationship, therefore we must learn to understand how to get the best out of and make the most of that relationship;
  • Learn to focus your attention on each other, without involving other family members. Family opinions can often be the cause of the conflict we have;
  • Bring compassion, empathy and kindness in the relationship and keep those attributes as your daily focus;
  • Take out assumptions altogether. We mustn’t assume anything;
  • If something is bothering you, say what you feel. There is little room for misunderstandings in any relationship, because we choose not to say anything;
  • Be grateful for what you have;
  • Learn to take each other’s feelings into account and don’t make the other person feel uncomfortable.

I believe all relationships thrive through better understanding of what that relationship means. Unfortunately, without our understanding on how we can do things better, we will have very little to base that and other relationships on.

All relationships are unique and each relationship must be honed, whilst we continue to put the above considerations into practice. Regardless of where we are in our lives, I believe all of the above considerations must apply.


7 Jul, 2015

4 thoughts on “How relationships thrive

  1. Sounds like the story of my life where most of what I learned was what NOT to do. I have had many difficulties in relationships, because my only role models were very dysfunctional, to put it mildly.

    I have always considered myself to be a ‘Nice Guy,’ which so many people took advantage of and I still allowed them to walk all over me even when I knew better! It took me a long time to realize that subconsciously I was still picking people to associate with that were very toxic. My expression lately has been, ‘You live what you know!’ which applies so fittingly in my past life.

    My niece asked me about how to deal with losing people that you care about, like dying and I didn’t know how to answer that question. We grew up moving so often and never really had a chance to connect with people on such a deep level, even with our own family.

    People came and went so quickly in my life that I got used to it and after a while, stopped connecting with people because they would usually be gone soon enough. This proved to be a major deficit, especially when I went into the Army and didn’t know how to bond with the guys I was supposed to fight alongside. I cared so little for myself and even less for most of the other soldiers who I wouldn’t associate with in the first place.

    Now after over 20+ years in AA and working on myself, am I able to at least improve to the point of being just antisocial. People still confound and amaze me but I’m slowly learning how to be human.

    Most of my life was spent disconnecting from most of my emotions just for the simple sake of survival. It’s like trying to live like a vulcan or an android, which doesn’t work well with building any type of relationships.

    The hard part now is to not slip back into old behavior patterns. I know it is possible to have a life and do so much more than just exist!

    1. Thanks Randy. The fact that you’re spelling out how not to do it, simply means you can do it and change what you’ve had with your parents, to what you can have now.

      I’m not sure how many of us get that role model parenting, but all relationships need to be positive. Of course there will be parents who raise their children, in the role model parenting style we would all be proud of, but I’m not sure in reality how many that is.

      I didn’t have the input and role models, but I did come away with a different set of ammunition, so that I could turn things around in my own life. I used to work through in my mind all the things I would change when I became an adult and that helped. All the things I wasn’t happy with and that’s what we’ve got to do.

      We can’t change our childhood. We can’t change our parents or their style of parenting. All we can do is learn, how not to do things and learn from their mistakes.

      Those lessons are more valuable because that’s how we draw on our strengths.

  2. From what I witnessed at home when I was young and now, a closed mind makes it difficult for a relationship to function properly. It makes us feel like our opinions don’t matter if we are criticized for them.

    We need to respect other’s views even if we don’t agree with them.

    1. Thanks Maria. Yes I couldn’t agree more. We must learn to respect each other’s views. Relationships do thrive on that.

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