There are a lot of things in life that feed us other than what is on our plate. Healthy relationships is a big one. You can eat all the spinach and chia seeds in the world, but if you have relationships in your life that are unbalanced and create stress, or simply a lack of connecting in relationships, it can affect not only your daily life, but your health as well. There are studies that suggest a lot of health benefits to having fulfilling relationships in our life, and we all know how much they can enhance how great our lives feel. On the contrary, having relationships that are challenging and create stress can cause ill health effects in our bodies, and take away from a life that feels really good. The absence of relationships and deep connections with people can also be a downfall for our health, and our happiness.
It's important to remember that we are all wired for connection and have an essential need to give and receive love.
Relationships can be challenging. All kinds of relationships from romantic partners, to co-workers, family, & friends. They can also help us grow tremendously if we are open to the growth. I'm a firm believer that the challenges in relationships are one of our biggest teachers in life!
Part of having a life that is healthy & feels fulfilling is making sure that we are keeping balanced in all areas. It's a good thing to check in with ourselves here from time to time, even if there isn't something major drawing our attention to the topic.
Some questions to ask yourself:
How are you doing in the area of relationships?
Are you aware of what your needs and desires are in the area of relationships?
Is there a relationship that you could improve by doing some work? Some clear communicating?
Are you feeling fulfilled in the area of relationships? Where could you do some work?
What are you craving? Is something missing for you in this area?
I'm a firm believer in continual personal work. The school of life continues as long as we are in this body. If you are on a path of self growth, I invite you to focus this week on your relationships. Take some time with the above questions, and then ask yourself this:
What came up for you as you answered the above questions?
Where could you benefit from putting some focus?
What is a specific action step that you can take this week to work on improving in the area of relationships?
I use the words 'action step', because we really do need to take action to create the life we want. We can talk about things until we are blue in the face, and it's great exploratory work, but until we put things into action, we are left with little actual change in life.
Here's my challenge to you for the week: After exploring the questions above, think of at least one solid 'action step' that you can do in the next week that will help you in some way in the area of relationships. This will look different for everyone. Ask yourself what would make the biggest difference for you right now, and follow through with it! You deserve to live a full, healthy, balanced life and working on healthy relationships to support that is an important piece.
Having a hard time deciding what a great action step could be for you? I've created a list of ideas to inspire you below!
Wishing you all a beautiful week full of time with the people that fill you up!
Action Steps to Improve The Relationships in Your Life:
#1. View each relationship with gratitude. The relationships that feel challenging can often teach us the most about ourselves. If you are currently struggling with any relationship in your life, take a little time to write a list about what you are grateful for or appreciate in that person. Maybe it is someone that you would want to show that list to? Or perhaps that list is just for you, to shift how you feel about that person to a more loving & appreciative way.
#2. Take time to communicate in close relationships. Take a few moments to express to each other what you both appreciate about your relationship, and what you feel like is going well. Taking a little time to express this can greatly increase the closeness. Then take turns expressing one or two aspects of your relationship that you wish to improve. Practice communicating about and hearing these things without blame, and focus on solutions.
#3. Focus on sharing passions, and fun time. Whether this is your significant other, or a friend or family member that you would like to feel closer to, focusing on meaningful and fun time helps the relationships deepen, and creates more fun!
#4. Create space to spend quality time together. It's so common for us to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and feel like we don't have time to really connect. It really doesn't take much to create even a little bit of quality time with someone you love if it is intentional. A couple of hours at a coffee shop, or a walk in the evening at the end of your day in good conversation can be great quality time. Put your phone away and make it quality time.
#5. Focus on the present, and let go of past things you may be holding grudges about. We are all imperfect humans and we all mess up sometimes. When we love someone, there are times that we need to allow the space for them to be human, forgive them, let go of grudges, and move on. Holding onto grudges is damaging, not just for the relationship, but for your own health & wellbeing. Forgiving someone and letting go of it is not just an act of love towards that person & the relationship, but it's a huge act of self-love as it hurts us to carry around such things.
#6. Don’t take relationships for granted. Openly appreciate them! Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why in person, via a message, or send them a card! It feels really good for both of you!
#7. Intentionally get to know each other better. Ask new questions, explore new things. We are all such complex creatures with different life stories & different passions. It's easy to become complacent in relationships that we have had for a while, and halt the 'getting to know each other' part. There is always more to learn about someone in your life, and learning more brings you closer. This can also be applied to someone new in your life that you'd like to create a stronger friendship with. Be curious in your conversation, and they will respond. Most of us LOVE to talk about ourselves :)
#8. Offer help & support. Is someone you care about struggling with something right now? Or maybe they are moving or working on a big home project that you know has them stressed? Reach out and offer your help & support. I think we know who our friends are when people show up to help you move or offer you a ride to the airport. Offering of help & support is so important in relationships. We really do need each other sometimes, and it can end up being great quality time as well.
#9. Take responsibility. Maybe you've messed up, and haven't admitted it. Maybe there is something that you could have handled with much more grace than you did. Maybe whatever it is, is still bothering you. Reach out, take responsibility and make the apology. It's so good to 'clear the air' so to speak on these things.
#10. Reach out to someone far away that you haven't kept in good touch with. I think we all have people in our lives that live far away from us that we care about deeply. Although our intentions maybe good, we are not so good at keeping in touch. Reach out to that person that you think about often, and let them know that you think about them, miss them, and take a little time to check in and see how they are.