We may be fortunate to have a wide range of relationships in our lives. Whether with a parent, child, employer, or spouse, each relationship is unique. We are all likely to experience both positive and negative aspects of relationships. It is important to protect our own health and happiness and to know when a relationship is toxic and must be left behind. But for most of us, we want to repair relationships before they ever reach that stage. Many of the most fundamental relationship problems begin as a small issue that is not addressed. Over time, the issue can fester and become a major problem or be expressed in new ways. This can be true both at home and in the workplace. If we’re experiencing a problematic relationship that we want to repair, we can apply the simple principles below.
Identify The Problem, Consider The Solution
It is important to carefully consider what we feel the problem is. A lack of communication may be different from a perceived lack of respect, for example. We may feel we are taken for granted, that we have grown apart, or that resentment is developing. There may be several problems but we should try to identify what links them all. Once we have identified the problem, we can consider how it may have started. Perhaps someone has been putting themselves first time and again. Or neglecting to mention important things. Try not to place the blame on either party but to think logically about the problem’s origin. From there, it becomes far easier to identify a solution. Solutions can range from an apology, a change in behavior, increased communication and more.
An Objective Presence
A professional or even an objective friend or family member can make all the difference to discussions. We are not trying to persuade anyone to take sides. We are trying to ensure that discussions stay logical, civil, and productive. We can attend marriage counseling as a pair, for example, or seek anger management or other help as an individual. We shouldn’t regard this step as an admission of defeat. We are showing courage and commitment to a positive life.
We may never have told the other person how we feel and so they may not be aware there is a problem. If we have told them how we feel, did they get the opportunity to do the same? Was it a calm, respectful exchange or did you both struggle to stay in control? Communication should not only be applied once there is a problem. We should try to get in the habit of communicating regularly before problems even arise. It can be helpful to ensure we mention positives and good feelings too. We should not regard communication as being important only if there is something negative to say. If we struggle to structure our thoughts or become emotional, consider writing them down. That way, the other person can hear your thoughts and feelings clearly and address them one by one. Receiving a letter or email that they can think about in their own time can also be less intimidating than having to face someone in person. You may be surprised by the response you get or at least have the opportunity to understand them more clearly.
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