We are Built for Relationship
We are built for relationship! Both with God and others. We love community, even those of us who are a bit more introverted crave relationships with people. We love to be loved and to love others. However, relationships are HARD! Sometimes, relationships feel like work and sometimes they are easy. I want to share some tips and techniques to have more peace in our relationships.
A primary function most relationships have in common is communication (both verbal and non-verbal)-and this is usually where things break down.
- The veil of perceptions. Everything you experience comes through your veil of perception. Within this veil of perception are all of your life experiences and beliefs. Take a moment and ask yourself: What is stuck in my veil of perception? Some common things are Experiences, Rejection, Abandonment, Trust issues, Insecurities, (we usually become defensive about what we are insecure about!), my own lack of personal value (of course they don’t like me) YOU need to understand what is in your veil! This helps you challenge yourself and hopefully see the actions of others more clearly.
- We need to check our perceptions with the other person. If you value a relationship, check the perception – ask the awkward questions – and IF YOU value a relationship, be willing to be asked! Make agreements with the people in your life to always check perceptions with kindness. Ask the important people in your life to please kindly tell me if I am doing something that is confusing or you don’t like so we can talk it out. Be approachable in your relationships. Unfortunately, when confusion happens – we usually make stuff up to fill in the gaps – and then often relationships end prematurely.
- The process of perception happens, through our veil, after check in on our perception with the other individual if needed – we can RESPOND to the truth of what is happening. Please learn to Respond not React – SLOW IT DOWN people. This loop can get going so fast no one is listening and checking perceptions. YOU are in control of your responses!!! These responses should support who you want to be in this world. How you want others to perceive you!
Let’s take a minute and talk specifically about difficult relationships.
New International Version
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
I have seen this so misused by people. In this happening, BOTH pieces of steal get sharpened! However, often people use this verse to justify their “sharpening” or someone else; often words also said with a sharp tongue. This is verse is also about you! How can YOU be sharpened? Generally, I have found most people look at others behaviors and way more than they look at themselves. QUICK TIP! Your growth will cause peace in your life! Look to yourself first for change. Ask yourself, what do I need to learn here?
TRUTH BOMB! One of the things I have found most to be true – we want people to stop what they are doing because of how it makes us feel – how their choices impact us and our peace. Here is the problem – We don’t have control over other people’s choices. THE ONLY THING we get any control over in this world is each moment and how we choose to respond. That is, it! We can ask a person for change – but if we the person doesn’t choose change and we desire to continue to be in a relationship with that person we need to manage our responses to that person’s behavior. That is your IRON being sharpened. GOD is always using the Holy Spirit to lead you along in your sanctification – I often say to myself: ” that behavior or person just rubs up against my holy spirit!” and I KNOW there is something there for me to work on!
I believe there are three states of a relationship acceptance, change and end. – we should really focus most on acceptance – what can we accept? EVERYONE wants to feel accepted and loved for who they are. Always look to yourself first and ask “can I do anything differently” to better manage this relationship. When I do marriage counseling people are often surprised that I first ask each person to start with them self. Are you the best wife you can be? The best husband you can be? Are you taking care of your side of this street really well? I don’t think God will accept as an excuse for my behavior the behavior of someone else. If you think (you have asked God and the person) and you feel (been very in tune to emotions as an indicator) that you are doing well keeping your side of the relationship but there are things happening we can’t tolerate – if we can’t accept something – then ask for change – I would rather someone gives me the opportunity to change than to avoid being with me or ending our relationship, wouldn’t you? And if it is what we would WANT in a relationship – it is what we should GIVE in a relationship – but when all else fails end is the other state of a relationship.
Here is a truth bomb: I think we often like to hand our issues to others to fix and get mad at them when they don’t pick it up and fix it. Now it’s o.k. to ask for help but when we consistently ask people for help instead of truly healing ourselves, we are constantly giving away our peace. We hand others our wounds and ask, even sometimes demand, they fix them. If you feel lonely and then rely on others to fix your lonely by spending time with you – you are giving away your ability to create your own peace. All of your life goals should be something you are in control of creating. YOU Can create PEACE in your life – but it is hard work!!!! Choose your hard! Being Lonely is hard, creating a full life is hard; choose your hard.
I really encourage you to approach your relationships with other in a seek to understand posture – not a seek to condemn. Ask yourself “What has happened to this person that has caused them to act this way”. When I am working with people – esp. teens – their parents often say to me “I’ve told them the same thing!” lol – and I tell the parents “I do a lot of listening and asking questions first!” I seek to understand others. This creates this beautiful space between people where there is trust and positive regard and it allows the Holy Spirit to work through you to impact others.
When others don’t change – and you decide you want to try to continue in the relationship – sometimes it is our kid, spouse, boss, coworker. Again: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is some great stuff in changing the rules. When you decide to start acting in a God led manner for this person. Here are some things to consider:
- Sometimes our helping isn’t helpful. Are you helping or enabling?
- The Power of Gentle Disconnection around specific behaviors. Its o.k. to respectfully disconnect from a conversation or interaction with someone that goes against our morality. Just be kind and gentle in the disconnection.
- Move forward without a declarative conversation. We often discuss change in boundaries with others because we want others agreement but usually you won’t gain it. I encourage you to simply start acting within the boundaries you have created. If the person notices or has issues with the change they will usually ask what is going on which can lead to an honest conversation.
- Sometimes other aren’t going to like our boundaries and actions and because they are mad, we feel compelled to fix their mad. Allow others to have their feelings and still maintain your boundaries. PRAY! God is always at work!
A few just quick tips:
There are times in life when we just need to get small. Surround yourself with a small group of trusted people to know the intimate details of a life happening. If you tell anyone anything you will get lots of opinions back which can cause more confusion. Keep it small.
Not everyone’s opinion gets to matter. It can’t. The peoples whose opinions matter in your life should be people you admire.
Most importantly, you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – and that is o.k. God designed you for HIS purpose, not their purpose. Not everyone likes me and honestly, I don’t feel drawn in to a relationship with everyone. Allow yourself your uniqueness, your people will come along.
Above all – in everything PRAY and ask God! ALWAYS! am here being obedient to what I believe God has asked me to do – but what you get from reading this blog (if that is my measure of success) it not up to me. I am responsible for my Effort – but not the outcome. God controls the outcomes. I accept that I have No control – and TRULY this is the basis for a peace filled life – the peace that passes all understanding – I have found that when I find myself not at peace – it is because I am trying to find a way to control something – usually a relationship outcome. We usually try to control what we are anxious about (others happiness, others relationships, how people view us, if people like us) but really, we aren’t in control of any of that. I am only in control of how I respond to this one moment. That’s all we get. Challenge yourself next time you are feeling anxious – ask yourself am I trying to find control here? Am I taking over the outcome? Give God control of your life, daily, it’s a beautiful and peace filled way to live.
And above all these put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.