There is a quote from Jane Eyre that has always been a favorite of mine because it encompasses a truth that is so simple about relationships and happiness jointly.
She says, “There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”
Isn’t that the root reason why people begin relationships and continue to nurture them – whether they are familial, friendly, or romantic – because being happy in relationships means feeling some sort of love? Of course it is. It’s just that simple. We love to love, and we love to be loved. It’s just a natural tendency we’re born with.
But there are so many ways people create barriers in relationships by their small actions that result in large rifts. I have always worked really hard to maintain healthy relationships because as someone who has been in plenty of bad ones, I know what I wish would have been different. Does this make me an expert on relationships? Of course it doesn’t because I’m not even sure such a title exists in this field. Relationships are essentially experiments with people and all the emotions that get thrown into the mix. Take my advice as simple observations and data analyses from some of my own ‘experiments,’ if you will.
I’m not such an alien that these thoughts can only exist in my own brain. Many of you out there will find yourself agreeing and hopefully the opposite half will take some friendly suggestions on how to better you relationships in some extremely simple but powerful ways.
Hold your tongue – and your anger
Who was the idiot that coined the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? He was a liar. I haven’t met one person in the world who can truthfully say that ignoring hurtful words is a defensive tactic that comes naturally. What boggles my mind is how people recklessly lash out without any regard that they’re passing the point of no return. It’s such a dangerous road to travel, and yet some drive down it without so much as a second thought.
Everyone, EVERYONE has a boiling point, but it really doesn’t take THAT much effort to stop yourself from saying truly mean things. However, once they’re said – they can never be taken back, and good luck assuring someone you didn’t mean what you said. Now, the ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ are just as meaningless as the other words were meaningful.
Avoid the ‘You’ statement
It is the most pathetic and infuriating, not to mention unbelievably demeaning, statement to have to hear when you’ve just had a huge fight with someone and finally patched things up, “Well, you pushed me over the edge so that’s why I did [insert hurtful action].”
Saying this is the equivalent of freeing yourself from taking any responsibility for whatever you did that was wrong, and in turn, blaming it on the other party. It is by far one of the most childish tactics to take, especially when there is a window of opportunity to apologize and put the past behind you. If both parties can be adults, then true forgiveness should be attainable through genuine remorse.
No one can ever make you say something or do something unless they’ve scientifically wired your brain to do so. By using the ‘you’ defense, it only says loud and clear that you actually have no remorse whatsoever. It also says you’re too proud and immature to be worthy of the ‘forgive’ part, and it’ll make the ‘forget’ part that much harder.
Appreciate the good, instead of harping on the bad
Why is it so unbelievably easy to find negative qualities about even someone you love, and remember those at the top of your head? Those aren’t the qualities that make you love that person, so why do you think of them first?
Appreciation really isn’t about buying presents and being sweet and loving all the time. Contrarily, people would be amazed how easily their behavior and subsequent actions towards a loved one can become 10x more respectful and considerate simply because they remember why they are worthy of appreciation. Simply remembering how much you love someone and care about them can be powerful enough to make you treat them better – just to see them happy; just to avoid hurting them.
- Why We Love Jerks (metaphoricalmind.com)
- 3 Things We Should Say More (metaphoricalmind.com)
- How to Have a Healthy Relationship (everydayhealth.com)
- On Intimacy, Getting Hurt and Superficial Relationships (itakeoffthemask.com)