Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

5 Ways to Enjoy More Peaceful Relationships

Do you often feel stressed? Ruminate for days about what someone said or did to you? Find yourself reliving negative circumstances with your friends? We all know that stress can come from doing too much. What I'm learning is that stress also comes from taking too much c--- from other people. Pardon my french. Today we'll be talking about how to reduce the stress caused by other people.

If we want  more peace in our lives, we MUST either a) eliminate the stressors from our lives or b) learn how to deal with them in a healthier way. I bet you'll agree a lot of stress comes from other people - usually those who are related to us or are emotionally connected such as a spouse, a boyfriend, a son or daughter, a close friend.
It doesn't matter who in your life is causing you stress.  For years, I have allowed too much c--- from boyfriends, relatives, ex-husband, and close friends and it has been unhealthy. It all goes back to boundaries - keeping the bad out and only allowing the good in. This was a tough lesson for me to learn and I'm getting a refresher course on it with my aging mom.

Perhaps like me you've been told "You're too nice". Nice people get hurt a lot. Until we get to the breaking point and declare "Enough is enough." I'm there - again. So what to do about people who cause you stress? Here are 5 practical tips to keep in mind.

1. Put distance between yourself and the other person. 
    This means emotional and physical distance. Give them space and give yourself a breather.
    You don't have to be the one putting all the effort into the relationship. How do feel after you've
     interacted with this person? If you feel stressed, anxious, or depleted this is a sign it is not a
     healthy interaction.

2. Be willing to give up the relationship.
    You've heard the old saying "If you love someone, let them go". If they care about you and the
    relationship they will come back, in time. The key is to be patient and not to keep going back to
    them.  When we keep going back to someone we are in effect saying:
    "It's ok for you to treat me this way" when it absolutely is NOT.

3. Tell the other person how you feel. 
    Yes, it takes vulnerability to express our hurts, but it also is a sign of self-respect and shows a     willingess to want to improve the relationship if it is to move forward. Many times the other person is oblivious to how their behavior is impacting us so it is up to us to make them aware.
The difficulty here is that many people do not know how to receive this. Don't be surprised if they get defensive, raise their voice, or get angry. If someone really and truly cares about you, they will care about your feelings.  Often, people who react this way are not emotionally mature enough to handle direct confrontation.

4. Expect the other person to put equal effort into the relationship going forward. 
    Often codependent people put all the work into relationships. We feel it is our responsibility to make a relationship work when in reality, it takes two to make any relationship work. If you feel you are constantly the one to reach out and connect, there is something out of balance. Relationships are a two-way street. When we pull back, we allow the other person to step up to the plate.

5. Refuse to allow bad treatment. 
    This might seem obvious, but I am guilty of allowing mistreatment because I valued the relationship more - apparently - than I valued my own well-being and health. I made excuses such as "Well, he's my son" or "He's my husband". No person has the right to mistreat another either emotionally, physically, or verbally. It is time to put your foot down and stop allowing them to get away with their behavior.

If we want more peace in our lives, we must learn to set healthy boundaries so we aren't continually hurt or taken advantage of. We need to know our own limits - what we will and will not tolerate. What makes us feel stressed or pressured. This is where the word "No" becomes useful and healthy. Here's a recent personal story to illustrate.

On a recent visit with my family who live out-of-state, I had the "opportunity" to hear "No" quite a bit. My 86-yr old mother refused to let me drive her car. As anyone who has driven with an elderly person knows, their reactions are not quite a timely as they used to be. With all the sudden braking and accelerating, I wound up getting motion sick several times till I finally had to refuse to go anywhere with her unless I drove.  I had to say "No" to her "No". This is called "setting healthy boundaries": say no to any behavior that is hurtful or harmful.

Practice makes perfect. 
Well, maybe not perfect, but we will get more in tune with when we need to put our foot down. We retrain our automatic response from "Yes" to "No" which is a good thing. At first, you might feel guilty because you are so accustomed to allowing things . I have a friend who really struggles with this. I had to come right out and tell her, "Instead of putting me off all the time or cancelling at the last minute, just come right and say "No". I'm a big girl and I can handle it."

If you want more inner peace, more joy living your life, I encourage you to implement these tips. You will be amazed at how empowered you will feel and you will begin the process of taking back your life.

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Stay tuned for more insights to help you find healing, wholeness, and harmony and enjoy the life you deserve!

Until next time, keep looking up!