Relationships are the most challenging aspect of life whether personal, professional, casual or intimate. Even with those we love deeply, such as family members, getting along can prove challenging. Consider this: more than half of all American families are estranged from one another due in part to unresolved differences. Yet it is not imperative that our differences be resolved, for if they were then we would all be in agreement with one another all of the time. Not only is that is highly unlikely (or should I say, impossible) but it would prove disadvantageous for healthy relationship as well. Differences are actually wonderful opportunities for personal growth and with some effort we can learn how to coexist successfully with one another in spite of said disparities. Consider this: I’m a neat-freak; my husband is, well…not. My style of decorating is simple but unique decor; his is early garage sale. Yet neither of us has tried to convince nor argued with the other to conform to our way of living. We each respect the other person’s taste and have found a way of blending them together. In some instances, we’ve each taken specific areas of the house that exclusively showcase our unique style while allowing our spouse space enough for theirs as well.
Acceptance: One of the greatest sources of conflict between two parties is one or both person’s unwillingness to accept the other exactly where they are in their journey through life. We complain that the other party should be different (more ambitious, responsible, adventurous, thoughtful, etc), should know better (how to treat people), should be more like someone else (honest, hard-working, independent), and so on. We compare and complain rather than accept and appreciate.
A great teacher recognizes that although her freshman class is comprised of all fourteen year olds, each one has reached a different level of maturity, has different interests and talents, and learns in their own unique way and time. The teacher will customize her teaching strategy for each child in such a way as to maximize their learning experience in school. She builds a relationship with each designed to foster a healthy learning environment as well. We would be wise to model our personal and professional relationships after the teacher’s strategy.
Respect: the second key component to supporting healthy relationships. Respect’s universal definition, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “to value; to place value on”. When we respect one another, we treat them with the dignity given to a fine work of art. On every level, we express how much we value and appreciate them as they are – as a friend, coworker, spouse, or simple as a member of our universal family. We resist the urge to pressure or shame them into being someone they’re not or behaving in a manner that contradicts where they are in their life’s journey of is not consistent with what they must learn in that moment.
One of mankind’s primary needs is to feel important, to be recognized for the unique person they are and to be held in high regard. One who is treated this way by others can more easily deal with the challenges that are a natural part of every relationship. When one feels unworthy, devalued or unaccepted the pain they experience can easily convert to anger as they fight for the recognition they deserve.
You can bring out the best in people or the worst. Always encourage their goodness to shine so that all may benefit from their gifts.
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