What do you want in relationships?

It’s so interesting that often in different types of relationships we hold back instead from just being ourselves and allowing things to work out the way they’re meant to be.

You make a conscious effort to be less of yourself instead of just modelling what you want from your relationships. This choice leaves you feeling unfulfilled. You may end up finding yourselves in spaces you don’t want to be in, sometimes even with people you don’t really like because you have sacrificed your true self.

I think sometimes we’re scared to be ourselves for fear of rejection and so we wait for others to go first and be open. But if you find yourself in a space where you think you’ll be rejected for simply being yourself, then deep down (or maybe even just beneath the surface), you know that you’re somewhere you don’t really want to be.

Perhaps you want people in your life that you can be vulnerable with, yet when you have the opportunity to open up you choose to resist. And if the people around you aren’t being vulnerable with you, you end up feeling frustrated. But I think it’s fair to ask yourself, if you’re not willing to open up why should anyone else?

And in the grander scheme, if you aren’t willing to show up as your truest self in your relationships, why should you expect anyone else will?

Bad habits

There could be habits you have that you have carried with you thorough your life for so long that you aren’t even aware the impact they have on your life.

Perhaps, you assume that those habits are ‘just the way you are’ rather than them being something you could change.

Sticking with what you know is easy, comfortable and familiar even when it negatively impacts your life.

And so you do nothing.

That’s why I’m such an advocate for regular reflection. In doing so you’re able to identify the habits you currently have and understand how they impact your life. It could be something like you always wanting to be right because you believe that you know more than most.

This may result in people not wanting to engage in conversations with you because you’re now seen as closed minded, someone that is not open to other points of view. In turn maybe you’re unable to develop close relationships because your desire to always be right pushes people away as they don’t feel respected and they find you frustrating.

Identifying that bad habit and deciding to let it go could be the catalyst to solve many of the problems that you regularly encounter.

Of course, it rarely feels good to know that you’re the problem as it forces you to take responsibility instead of the playing the blame game. But in the grand scheme of things perhaps it is much better to know that the problem begins with you and your bad habits because that way you know that the problems can end with you too.

Getting drawn in

Some people enjoy arguing.

They love it, it fuels them and they will seek it out.

They’re rarely interested in understanding other people or sharing what they know instead they want to dominate and they want to be right.

You may find yourself often getting drawn in but by then it’s too late, you’ve gotten swept up in it all. All of sudden you’re passionately explaining your point of view hoping the other person will take it in enough to agree to disagree and move on.

But the other person tells you no, they tell you you’re wrong and they try to invalidate your opinion by saying you don’t understand.

And in these kinds of situations when you’re being baited in order for the dialogue to continue it’s easy to get riled up. It’s easy to try to get the other person to accept that it’s okay to see things differently. More often than not your efforts are to no avail.

And so the growth point is in choosing to not engage even if you think this time might be different.

The exchanges are rarely helpful and you just end up leaving them frustrated wishing you didn’t once again get drawn in.

Finding a solution to the problem

When it comes to solving problems, there is a big difference between finding a solution and finding a solution to the problem.

When we’re simply just finding a solution we tend to come up with things that are short-term, quick to do and don’t really address the issue.

Lets take the example of being upset with someone. Now imagine that the solution you choose is to go off and take space until you’re no longer upset. Then, by the time you come back to the other person you’re now totally over it. That is a potential solution but it doesn’t actually solve anything.

A solution to that problem could instead be still taking space if you need it but then also voicing to the other person how you felt about their actions. That way you create space for discussion rather than being closed off and holding things in.

And so the next time you have a problem to solve don’t just find a solution, find a solution that is right for the problem.

Expectations of others

I think that quite often we expect that those with more money, more opportunities and more freedom then we have should be doing more simply because they have more. I think that’s fine up to a point but it’s also important to consider that each individual has their own desires.

You could have access to a lot of money and a lot of opportunites but maybe you’ve chosen to live a fairly quiet and (what would be considered) a simple life. Perhaps you’re not career focused even though if you were you’d have it easy.

People look down on that because there’s an assumption that if you can do something then you should, almost to compensate for those that can’t. I think it’s so important to not place these expectations on others because we all have our own life paths. Of course some people have it easier than you do but they don’t owe you anything.

I think we should let go of expectations and focus more on ourselves instead. It might be frustrating to see someone with more opportunities than you that doesn’t take advantage of them but maybe that person just isn’t interested. It’s not your responsibility to berate them, get frustrated or tell them that they should be doing more with their lives.

Instead, respect the choices they’ve made.

Figuring out where things went wrong

If you find yourself regularly having conversations that don’t go as planned, in the sense that the outcome you intended wasn’t achieved (or you just end up getting frustrated) it’s worth taking the time to figure out where things went wrong.

Sometimes, it is a simple case of two people with different perspectives not being willing to listen to each other.

Other times it could be that before you get into the meat of the conversation you need to establish what the purpose is, to avoid going off track.

So often it’s easy to blame the other person, to say that the issue is that they weren’t listening. But, maybe there are things that you can do differently even if it is simply walking away from the conversation earlier and choosing to not engage with the person.

You don’t want to find yourself in a cycle of getting swept up in a conversation you don’t actually want to be in.

And, maybe you simply picked the wrong person to have a conversation with.

If that’s the case, use your past experience as a learning point to realise that you need to have this conversation with someone else next time.

Better days

Some days will be more challenging than others.

There will be difficult days and then there will be better days.

It’s easy to forget when things are challenging and difficult that they won’t be that way forever.

It’s easy to focus on the thing that is not going to plan and you can end up doing it so much that you lose the ability to see past it.

But just because today is difficult, doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Maybe tomorrow (or the next day) will be better.

What to do when it’s not working

If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.

Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.

Knowing why

When it comes to future plans we often forget the reason behind the paths we choose.

We know what we want, when we want it and what it will take but we forget the reason why we want it.

A common example is career paths. A person may want to become a nurse in the next 3 years after they complete studying which will require time, effort, patience and dedication.

The reason the person wants to pursue that particular path, may have once been clear but now is somewhat of a mystery.

It’s only until something happens that this person then remembers that it is because they want to help people. Or maybe, when they were younger a nurse took care of them and they decided that they wanted to be able to do that for other people.

If we now take it back to more general ‘future plans’, I think knowing why you want to do something is important. It could be travel plans, moving to a new country or trying a new activity. Sometimes even though we know what we want to do we get complacent and put things off . And so knowing what to do is often not enough for you to get things done.

However, knowing why you want to do something gives you a pretty good reason to do it.

There is no right answer

I think this phrase rings true for a lot of what is going on in the world right now.

It’s easy to say that if you were in the shoes of another you would make better choices. But the truth is you don’t really know because you aren’t in that position. Furthermore, often when people comment on and criticise others they themselves will not ever get close to such a position .

It’s important to acknowledge what goes into the choices a person makes and remember that people are coming from their own worldview and experiences.

Maybe they’re focusing on the environment, the economy, the wealthy, the poor, mental health or something else. When your focuses don’t align and when there is no crossover, issues arise.

At all times, there will be at least a few different perspectives that you can choose. No one is ‘more right’ than another, it simply depends on what you choose to focus on.