Now, let me start out by saying I am not an expert at relationships.
I am still growing in that sense. However, I have learnt a few things in my travels. Living in another country and being married to a foreigner has its benefits in forcing a person into different circles.
Most of my growth in the last year has been brought upon by reading Christal Fuentes’ “How to be H.O.T.” book. I highly recommend this book as a lighter take on a heavy subject. She also has a fantastic blog, plus podcasts, Snapchats and Live broadcasts.
In saying that, here’s my thoughts:
1) The majority of the time, if someone is behaving a certain way; they have a tone etc. it's got nothing to do with you. Get over yourself and figure out what the other side of the story is. They may have chosen that moment to think about how they'll pick their son up from school on Thursday when they have a meeting at 2:30pm. Honestly, it's time to stop taking everything so personally. Stop those overthinking thoughts in their tracks. They aren't doing you any good. My advice is to be a big girl (or boy) and think about the other person for a minute.
2) Stop and listen. The people you do want to be around ARE worthy of your time. They deserve respect and common courtesy. Stop and listen to their stories, frustrations, and let them bask in joy. Offer well-thought-out responses and clarify what they just said if its necessary. They will feel appreciated, cared for, loved. Even the people you may struggle with are worthy of your listening skills. You may learn more about them, understand their values better and their point of view may become clear. The chances are good you will find out that there's no issue at all, when you thought they were on for a fight. Listening takes practice. Being mindful in the moment is difficult, especially when you're thinking about what to make for dinner for the in-laws on Saturday night. So, stop yourself and listen, without thinking of a response until they're done. You will find that time slows down and sometimes, that's not such a bad thing.
3) Next point, which ties into the first two, is don't assume shit! Again, listen to what someone is going to say, instead of assuming you know and having the same fight you always have with your partner. And don't assume its got anything to do with you, or something else you know is happening.Remember that if someone is having an emotional response, try not to add to it by responding emotionally. It will turn into a huge blow-out. But if you can be aware and catch them, and yourself before things hit the fan, that will make a huge impact. Have you heard of the 30-second trick? Its about walking away, breathing, hugging or whatever works for you, for 30 seconds and then coming back to the conversation. You will find that the space can help to calm you and the other person down, by gathering yours thoughts and presenting them in a rational fashion.
4) And last but not least, if someone is awful to you, or drains your energy, don't hang around them. It's a different story if its a work thing, but I'm sure there's ways to work that as well. But don't be afraid to distance yourself from family members, friends, partners. If the relationship isn't good for you, leave it alone.
I know this is only four points but these are the most important five to me personally and have been difficult to train myself in. I’m not there yet. To be honest, I don’t feel mature enough yet. I may never be. The person I struggle to practice these on most is my poor husband. He cops all the shit.
Let me know how you go, maybe you’ll do better than me, in the comments below.