Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

Nothing like a New Year for a new start!

When we think of relationships, we tend to focus on our most intimate ones. In reality, many of the dynamics which evolve in our romantic and family relationships also evolve in our friendships and workplace. Why? Because typically we all play roles within our own family unit. Roles which begin in childhood.

What does this mean?

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It means if you are the ‘golden child’ you go out into the world and continue to play that role. If you are the ‘pleaser and fixer’ you continue to please and fix in all relationships and aspects of your life.

For example, in your romantic relationship a ‘pleaser and fixer’ will continue to support say a ‘golden child’ which they have married. The ‘golden child’ will come and go with little responsibility and the ‘pleaser and fixer’ will keep the home running around them. For the sake of a workplace example…A ‘golden child’ may show up at the last minute for a meeting and the office ‘pleaser and fixer’ will compensate for them having by having their coffee and an extra report copy ready to slide their way.

Herein likes the exciting New Year’s revelation. We are far more in control of how people treat us than we believe ourselves to be.

The ‘pleaser and fixer’ ultimately gets frustrated by holding up the ‘golden child.’ The truth is they began the cycle, to begin with.

The following are ten ways to empower yourself in your relationships in the New Year.

1. Self-Awareness:

On some level, we all know the intrinsic behaviors which lead us into the relationship danger zone. It’s time to take a personal inventory of your own relationship habits.

Do you overcompensate for others? Do you rescue others? Do you make excuses for other people’s bad behavior? Do you talk too much about others? Do you hold your feelings in? Do you take your feelings out on others? Do you speak before you think? Do you complain about someone’s lack of responsibility and then make yourself responsible for them anyway?

You get the idea.

Make a candid and honest list about the aspects of your own personality which may get you into trouble.

This may also include some reflection on qualities those closest to you believe you possess. A word of caution; however, do not rely on the words of several people. Not all those closest to you will genuinely see who you are. Some people in your life may be judgemental and therefore, mischaracterize you. Choose universal, commonalities which those around you would collectively describe you as.

2. Compile a Relationship Frustration List:

Make a list of the relationships which are causing you the most heartache and frustration.

Keep in mind this is a self-accountability exercise and not a ‘blame game.’ In other words, this is not a hater list. This is a personal growth list. The question you ask yourself is…”How is my behavior playing into my own relationship frustrations?”

For instance, at the office, you keep complaining about your co-worker dumping their responsibilities on you. You can’t blame your colleague for your lack of boundaries.

Furthermore, these should be seen as constructive changes rather than emotional exchanges. You have allowed someone to take advantage of you. This should empower you and diffuse your anger and frustration towards them.

3. Make a Relationship Action List:

Take a look at your Relationship Frustration List and make a plan for each of your most frustrating dilemmas.

A simple and staggered approach of small changes which may yield better outcomes.

If your spouse continues to scatter their laundry all over the bedroom floor. Leave it there. Do not use the tired arguments which have thus far not worked. Let the dirty clothes remain until they have to wash them. A simple approach such as this could solve a decades-long tug of war. Within a few weeks, your spouse may be picking up their laundry or continue doing it themselves.

A boss without boundaries who expects you to repeatedly stay late regardless of corporate policy. Let your boss know you have obligations which require you to be home by a certain time. Eventually, individuals who take advantage will stop if you institute boundaries. If they do not, only time will tell if this is not the proper work environment for you.

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4. Listen to Your Inner-Voice:

We often ignore our inner voice which alerts us to trouble in the very beginning stages of our relationships.

A friend who tends to criticize. A boss who lacks respect. A new love who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

Down deep this has been nagging at you from the beginning but you have disregarded your misgivings.

We go beyond our best instincts because we love to see the best in people. 

The dilemma? Choosing to continue to ignore your inner voice and see the best in an individual can eventually bring about your worst. 

You may begin to criticize this person, complain about them or get angry with them.

5. Sometimes You Have to Walk Away:

Change is difficult and letting go of people can seem impossible yet it is sometimes for the best.

Another reason to listen to your inner voice as soon as it speaks.

It is far easier to separate from a person before you become overly attached.

Just because you have known someone since childhood, worked at a job for twenty years, are related or married does not mean they are healthy and happy relationships.

Walking away doesn’t have to be extreme or mean in nature. It could mean quietly distancing from someone or it could mean limited contact rather than cutting all ties. Whatever promotes an environment where you can appreciate and love this person for who they are without frustration.

If it is in fact, someone who is not at all healthy for you or a friendship which has run its course then by all means, walk completely away.

6. Create a List of Your Personal Boundaries and Values:

Make a list of what you value and will tolerate in a relationship.

If honesty, loyalty, and respect are crucial to you it quickly weeds out those you do not desire to spend time with. 

You can’t make others have your value system and you can’t make another person respect your boundaries.

Therefore, you need to gravitate to those who already share your same belief system and respectful individuals who cherish you enough to listen to your boundaries.

This is the same for all relationships in life, be it romantic, friendship or workplace.

7. Relationship Self-Improvement:

Invest in some wonderful relationship books, such as Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families or Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

Enroll in classes which teach great communication or check with your church and register for their enrichment classes or retreats.

Focus on tools which promote truly great relationships, such as respect and communication and build upon your knowledge in these areas. 

 

This is a great beginning to empowering yourself in the New Year and learning the power you have to improve your personal and professional relationships.

Change and self-reflection require dedication and an open mind. 

It takes a brave individual to turn the mirror back on themselves rather than project all of their relationship misfortunes on the other person. In doing so, you will not only enhance your relationships but discard the ones which are far too unhealthy to carry forward in the New Year.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels )

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