Three tools for navigating tough relationships

Things rough with mom these days? Consider how you may have contributed. Credit: NPine
Things rough with mom these days? Consider how you may have contributed.
Credit: NPine

Relationships can be our greatest teachers. We can find learning opportunities in all of our relationships, whether they’re with family, friends or lovers. Rather than stress over challenging relationships, we can shift our perspective. Intimate connections offer us a glimpse into the darker sides of our personality that we may not always want to see. For instance, if you constantly feel let down by others, there’s a strong chance you’re letting yourself down in some way. Or if you feel judged by people close to you, you probably have some deep-rooted judgment that you’ve placed upon yourself. When we are open to seeing our relationships as assignments for personal growth, then we can begin to appreciate even the toughest times.

Navigating tumultuous relationships can be tough without a road map. Here are three powerful tools to help.

Take care of your side of the street

If you’re in a difficult relationship, the first step to working on it is to see your part in the chaos. Make a list of all the ways you’ve participated in the drama. Be specific and honest.

Once you’ve clarified your part, it’s very helpful to share it with the other person. Take the time to acknowledge how you’ve been participating in the problems. This step is not an exercise in making yourself a punching bag. Rather, it’s an opportunity to make amends.

Talk it out

Nothing is more powerful than speaking your truth. This tool was taught to me by my friend Elena Brower, a world-renowned coach and yoga teacher. This exercise is designed to give each party the opportunity to say how they feel without interruption. Here’s how it works: Each person has three minutes to speak without interruption. You can say everything that is on your mind regardless of how bad it may sound. The other person cannot interrupt. When the three minutes are up the other person says, “You have been heard.” Then that person gets a chance to speak. Once the second person is finished, the partner responds, “You have been heard.”

So often in conversations we interrupt each other to “correct” the other person’s story or defend ourselves. This exercise offers each person the opportunity to share his or her side of the story and fully own it. Most importantly, it gives each person the chance to be heard.

Release

The final step is crucial. The only way to move forward happily in a relationship is to release the past. This release comes through forgiveness. This doesn’t mean you’re cutting the person out of your life; it means you release the energetic grip the relationship has had on you. To do this you can begin each day with the mantra, “I forgive you and I release you.” Whenever you are in a fight or stuck in an old pattern of negativity, repeat the mantra.

Be willing to open up to the root causes of the issues at hand so that they can be brought to the surface and mended. Take responsibility for your happiness and actively choose to enjoy your relationships today.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.