One thing we all struggle with is the relationships that exist in our lives and how to handle each one. All the relationships we have are different and they all require a specific level of finesse. Whether you could use some work in your own personal inventory or you are great at dealing with people, chances are there is someone you love who isn't exactly easy to love. Nothing you do or say seems to change the trajectory of that relationship and you are wondering if there is anything you can do. The fact is sometimes there isn't! It's important, however, when you are trying to find life transformation to settle these issues, whether it means you repair a relationship or simply move on guilt-free so you can be free to begin finding the joy and solace you deserve! Let's begin:
Is that person capable of providing what you need?
Whether it is love or acceptance, guidance, or a bro to have a beer with on a Friday night, every relationship has a purpose to each individual. It's what initially brings us together and this purpose can change, but for a relationship to function, there must be an overriding motivation to secure the relationship. If you generally just like the person, a motivation must be found or the relationship will diminish naturally. A mission is needed, so to speak. This eliminates the need to feel emotional when relationships start fading away when you acknowledge that a new purpose to the relationship only needs to be found. Wearing our heart on our sleeve and overreacting emotionally to the ever changing needs of that relationship is often what drives people apart. No matter how close that person is, if a motivation to spend time with each other cannot be found, a relationship cannot exist. If you want someone in your life, you must ask what it is that you are looking for and if that person is capable of providing it. If not, don't feel angry or guilty about it. Simply find fulfillment in other ways until you can find that motivation. If that person actually cares about you, they aren't going anywhere.
Secondly, are YOU capable of providing what the other person is looking for? Often, this is where the feelings of hurt come in. We so want to have a friendship with someone, that we forget that the other person has needs and wants as well. We feel like failures if we suddenly can't be what that person wants. If they are looking for a casual "go out" kind of friend and you are more of a stay-home-and-be-with-family type person, you could understand why this relationship could struggle. Change would be needed in this case. Either they would have to be comfortable coming over to your house and maybe watching movies and playing games or you would have to learn to be comfortable going out on the weekend OR you could find a new commonality altogether. Perhaps you both love football and enjoy watching the games together.
Make a list of all the people you would like to get into a comfortable place with and ask yourself what you would like that person to provide you with (companionship, daily interaction, occasional outings, travel, leadership, sense of belonging, etc). Then ask what that person is actually capable of providing you along with checking off the following questions in this article.
Are you ready to let the past go? Are they?
To move on in any relationship, past wrongs and errors by either party cannot have a place once addressed. By dwelling on these things, it acts like an energy vacuum. All joy and fulfillment you could be feeling will be polluted by not moving past exactly that...the past. Anger, rage, and holding grudges will end relationships as fast as they begin, no matter how close a relationship is, so you and the other person must be committed to letting the past go. Forgive and forget. For tips on forgiveness, please see my other article called "Forgiveness: Letting Go of Toxic Emotions."
Are you capable of setting boundaries and defending them tactfully?
For any relationship to flourish, boundaries must be set and lovingly defended. There is a reason why the relationship didn't work before so now that you know what you know, don't be afraid to tell that other person what you will and won't accept. After all, boundaries are part of who you are and your identity as a whole.
Recently, a friend discussed with me about the relationship between him and his mother. She often would drudge up his past mistakes, other family member's mistakes, her grudges, etc. He explained to her that discussing these topics is a boundary that couldn't be crossed and it strengthened their relationship when he agreed he would not accept it. They moved on and started having a very loving relationship. Over the course of several years, he let his guard down and because of his love for her, began allowing her to slowly creep in with her negative comments about the past as well as about the pasts of other family members as well. He began feeling alienated from her and once again, the relationship fell apart because of resent and anger from both sides.
Can you commit to action without letting emotion get in the way?
Restarting a relationship or addressing relationship issues is not easy. Are you ready to commit yourself to action? This involves making the decision that under no circumstances will you let emotion such as anger or sadness get in the way of progress. There will be times you may want to run and hide or even go down in a burning flame, but MINDFULNESS is key here. Since the relationship may already be fragile, you can bet that person's ways have not changed in the least bit. Expect that, but remember, in order to heal the relationship or make amends you must move past the past, set those boundaries, and commit to action.
Are you ready to listen to how they feel?
You may need to accept the fact that there may be something that has caused someone to take distance from you. It may not even be valid, but even if it isn't, you need to be ready to listen to what caused them to take that distance. You need to remember that the other person is doing nothing wrong by FEELING a certain way. Most people cannot help how they feel unless they are very practiced in mindful thinking. Many times, just by listening to how that person feels, situations may sometimes go from confusing to completely understandable.
Once while working as a manager at a retail store, I noticed a cashier that would always seem very shy and coy around me. She would always look incredibly nervous around me and it made me feel uneasy when being around her. I would see her change from appearing comfortable and candid to uptight. I could see her smile fading as I approached. Since she seemed inapproachable, I decided to ask about it to some of the other cashiers who knew her well. The answer I received was equal parts hurtful but also helpful. I was told that she felt as if I didn't like her. I couldn't imagine not liking her, in fact, I thought she had a great attitude and personality. What she didn't realize was that I kept myself very guarded around those I supervise so as to not give the wrong impression. If either one of us would have been willing to talk and listen sooner, instead of relying on insecurity and emotion, this problem could have been solved much earlier.
Are you ready to release your own guilt and shame?
Once you have apologized for your own actions in the past, all you can do is look forward to the future. You MUST release your guilt or shame. This continuous torment will constantly cause you to flee and ruin any chances you had with repairing that relationship. You don't have to overcompensate for your past actions or apologize endlessly. You cannot change what happened and you don't have to be a prisoner. The only thing you can do personally is acknowledge anything you did to harm the relationship, apologize, and change your actions. No matter what you've done, this is all the other person could ever want from you and if not, the real issue lies with them and they must overcome it in their own way, separate of anything you could do or say to change how they feel. You must release yourself at that point. Your joy depends on it.
In a nutshell, if you can find commonality with someone, let go of previous hurtful actions, set boundaries, commit to action, get past guilt, and start listening, there isn't any reason why you can't either flourish in a friendship, or at the very least, find common ground with someone. The choice is ultimately up to you, but whether you choose to just make peace or repair a friendship, it must always be for the sake of joy and hope. Good luck to you, my dear friends in all that you do and may you be blessed with abundant joy.
If you are interested in learning more about life transformation techniques, please be sure to check out my life transformation programs at www.searchlightorganization.com/transformation. For additional articles please see my other articles here.
Author: Jason Cook
Copyright-July 31, 2019