It’s easy to make your relationships more complicated than they are. Here are twelve simple reminders to help you keep them on course.
- All successful relationships require some work. – They don’t just happen, or maintain themselves. They exist and thrive when the parties involved take the risk of sharing what it is that’s going on in their minds and hearts. Open communication and honesty is the key. (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
- Most of the time you get what you put in. – If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. It’s a simple practice that works.
- You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot in someone’s life. – Never force someone to make a space in their life for you, because if they know your worth, they will create one for you.
- There is a purpose for everyone you meet. – Some people will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you; but most importantly some will bring out the best in you. Learn to see and accept the differences between these people, and carry on accordingly.
- We all change, and that’s okay. – Our needs change with time. When someone says, “You’ve changed,” it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes it just means you stopped living your life their way. Don’t apologize for it. Instead, be open and sincere, explain how you feel, and keep doing what you know in your heart is right.
- You are in full control of your own happiness. – If your relationship with yourself isn’t working, don’t expect your other relationships to be any different. Nobody else in this world can make you happy. It’s something you have to do on your own. And you have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else. If you feel that it’s your partner’s fault, think again, and look within yourself to find out what piece is missing. Your partner can never ‘complete’ you because you are already whole. The longing for completion that you feel inside comes from being out of touch with who you are. (Read Stumbling on Happiness.)
- Forgiving others helps YOU. – Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
- You can’t change people; they can only change themselves. – Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example. If there’s a specific behavior someone you love has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t. If you really need them to change something, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows what you need them to do.
- Heated arguments are a waste of time. – The less time you spend arguing with the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you. And if you happen to find yourself arguing with someone you love, don’t let your anger get the best of you. Give yourself some time to calm down and then gently discuss the situation. (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
- You are better off without some people. – When you have to start compromising yourself and your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you. If someone continuously mistreats you or pushes you in the wrong direction, have enough respect for yourself to walk away from them. It may hurt for a little while, but it’ll be ok. You’ll be ok, and far better off in the long run.
- Small gestures of kindness go a long way. – Honor your important relationships in some way every chance you get. Every day you have the opportunity to make your relationship sweeter and deeper by making small gestures to show your appreciation and affection. Remember, making one person smile can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. Your kindness and gratitude matters.
- Even the best relationships don’t last forever. – People don’t live forever. Appreciate what you have, who loves you and who cares for you. You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you. And remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.
Photo by: Josh Liba