We all want better relationships, whether it’s with a spouse/partner, parent, friend, child, or co-worker. In an attempt to make the relationship better, many people mistakenly do more of the wrong things.
If you’re not sure what the “wrong things” are, answer these questions:
How do you feel when someone criticizesyou?
How do you feel when someone blamesyou?
How do you feel when someone complains to you?
How do you feel when someone nags you?
How do you feel when someone threatens to do something to you?
How do you feel when someone punishes you?
How do you feel when someone offers you a bribe to do something?
Anger is a natural human emotion. We all get angry from time to time, and we all have the right to express our emotions appropriately. Unfortunately, anger is often the emotion that ruins relationships. That’s because anger can sting—it can come across as irrational, aggressive, mean-spirited, or even manipulative. It’s an emotion that can quickly push others away.
Therefore, the key is to control your anger rather than have it control you. When you do that, you can express your emotions in a healthy way and not destroy relationships in the process. One of the best ways to take control of your emotions is to focus on some reflective questions. When you take a moment and engage in reflective questioning, … >>>
During times of stress, it’s natural to focus on controlling people—what they do and how they act. After all, stress makes you feel like you’ve lost control, so it’s human nature to try to regain that sense of control in some way. Many people accomplish this by controlling others, including their partners, children, and co-workers. But did you know that the more you focus on controlling people, the more stress you’ll ultimately experience?
How do you know if you’re being too controlling? If you experience much stress when interacting with others, chances are that you are aiming to control them. The fact is that people being controlled have low motivation to carry out decisions IMPOSED upon them. As scores of … >>>
If there were one key question to ask yourself to gauge your relationships and your effectiveness, what do you think it would be? How can you really know how others view you? How can you know that you’re being the best person you can possibly be?
Self-evaluation is critical for personal growth. After all, you can’t improve unless you know what to improve upon. This is true for all aspects of life, whether on the job or within your family. Of course, self-reflection and self-assessment can be difficult. Libraries are filled with hundreds of books on the topic, each offering their own version of how to do it effectively.
But what if there were a simpler way? A single question … >>>
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, personality styles vary from person to person, and no two people are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.
Differences in personality styles are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you can be stressful.
Noticing behavioral and personality styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing.If you and others operate from … >>>
One of the hardest things about living during a pandemic and times of social distancing is the lack of human connection. The fact is that human brains are wired to connect. We need other people to fully enjoy life. And that sense of human connection definitely lowers stress.
Even introverts need human connection. If you’re doubting how “wired” we are to each other, consider this: Both laughter and bad moods are contagious. Yawn in front of someone and watch what happens. This occurs because of what neuroscientists call “mirror neurons.”
When we realize that even trivial interactions can affect a person’s physiology, we have to take it more seriously. For example, scientists can now show by brain imaging and other … >>>
During times of crisis, maintaining healthy relationships is more important than ever. But due to social distancing and more people working from home, it’s common for relationships to get strained. They say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but it also opens the door to misunderstandings and tension. Whether it’s with a family member, co-worker, or friend, every relationship is prone to stress during times of crisis and separation.
Rather than let these negative times ruin your once healthy relationships, a better approach is to shift from being reactive to proactive.
Make a Shift for Healthy Relationships
When you feel offended by someone’s words or deeds (and you will at some point), consider viewing the situation in multiple ways. … >>>
Your ability to truly listen to others is critical for building relationships and reducing stress. The reason is simple: The better you’re able to listen, the more the other person knows you care. When that sense of caring is present in a relationship, you and the other person experience less stress when you interact.
Unfortunately, few people know how to really listen. Have you ever talked to someone and noticed that they were not listening to you? How did it prompt you to feel? Disrespected? Unimportant? Angry? These are normal reactions. This is why listening is so important.
The key to listening is to be attentive. Don’t let your mind drift while the other person is talking. If your attention … >>>
Here is an important concept for all to remember regarding strong relationships: Not losing is more important than winning.
People’s desires will not always be fulfilled. However, as long as others are aware that they have a choice as to their responses, they are not put in a position where they feel that they lose. It’s that feeling of losing that prompts negative feelings. This is why “not losing” is a key to strong relationships.
No one likes feeling cornered, literally or figuratively. The belief of not having a choice encourages resistance because it prompts a feeling of being trapped. When a person feels there are no options, the result is not only resistance but also resentment. By contrast, offering … >>>
People do better when they feel good—not when they feel bad. This is a simple fact of life.
When your guide your thoughts and others’ thoughts to focus on the positive and constructive, then the self is nourished and enriched. That’s when people feel good.
Andrew Carnegie, the first great industrialist in America, understood this concept well. At one point he had 43 millionaires working for him. A reporter asked him how he managed to hire all of those millionaires. He responded that none of them was a millionaire when he hired them. The reporter inquired, “Then what did you do to pay them enough money so that they became millionaires?” Carnegie responded that you develop people the same way … >>>
We all want successful relationships in our life. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, a child, a co-worker, or a friend. Successful relationships help make life more enjoyable. The key is how to keep those relationships from becoming stressors in your life.
To help you navigate the many relationships you have, here are some tips for cultivating successful relationships.
Logic prompts people to think, but emotion prompts them to act. Communicate on both levels.
When someone upsets you, rather than talk about the person, focus on the behavior or comment that prompts upsetting or negative feelings.
Share your feelings about the effects of what someone does or says. It’s healthy and aids relationships to say, “That comment really
Chances are that at one point you’ve attempted to change another person. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately, most people try to prompt change in others the wrong way.
Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common approaches of imposing punishments or rewarding to control) are eventually doomed to fail. He referred to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He listed them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.
To prove his point, just respond to the following:
Having good listening skills will make your life easier and your relationships less stressful. In fact, if you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you.
Without good listening skills, no relationship can flourish. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.
This is true with children too. When the parent says, “It’s about time you started listening to me,” chances are the youngster is … >>>
We all have experienced a strained relationship from time to time. Whether it was with a spouse, child, or co-worker, dealing with a strained relationship can be a challenge. Taking the time to fix a strained relationship takes courage and finesse. Here are three suggestions for improving strained relationships with youth and adults alike.
A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have heard their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship. For adults, an affirmation, such as “I see your point and understand where … >>>
Your relationship with your spouse or significant other should be one of happiness and understanding. But sometimes it can be stressful. Learning how to strengthen your relationship with your spouse will do wonders for not only your marriage, but also your stress level in general.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when dealing with a spouse, significant other, or social partner.
1. Recognize that you can only control your own behavior. The more you try to control someone else, the less likely it is that the person will do what you want.
2. Differences in perceptions, opinions, needs, and wants need to be respected. The most effective way to accomplish this is to clarify your position rather … >>>
Sometimes in life you have to say no to others. While most people dislike saying no, it really is an important life skill to learn. Failure to say no to others can often lead to stress, overwhelm, and unhappiness.
In my books, speeches, and professional work, I stress the importance of positivity. But saying no to others feels so negative. The word itself is certainly not positive. And the feeling it leaves after a conversation can sometimes feel negative. So how can you say no to others without actually saying the word “no”? How can you protect your time, your feelings, and your needs while keeping the relationship positive?
Here is a simple four-step process to say no positively:
Your words are powerful. In fact, I often say that people do good when they feel good. This is true of adults and children. Children who act on Levels C and D of the Levels of Development chart feel good. While those who act on Levels A and B have more negative feelings. What are you doing to help others do good? Is your language uplifting others? Or are your words bringing people down?
Yes, your words are powerful and what you say often has a big impact on others. While many people don’t intentionally say outright mean or nasty things to others, they may use other subtle words or sentence patterns that disempower others.
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