Research shows that the quality of our relationships is the #1 factor determining the length and quality of our lives. But at the same time, they can be the most confusing, frustrating and heartbreaking part of our lives too.
When we don’t feel we have enough energy for the most important relationships in our lives the emotions associated with that can be heavily depleting too – frustration, anger, resentment and shame – all emotions telling us we need to change.
With our relationships, we’re often setting ourselves the expectations that we need to be the best partner/friend/parent/colleague like there is some “partner/friend/parent/colleague of the year” contest we are trying to win. And on top of that, we are trying to win every category simultaneously, setting ourselves up for failure in the process.
So instead what if you were to pause for a moment and do these two things…
1. Ask yourself what is the minimum I need to do to feel that I am doing a good job as a partner/friend/parent/colleague.
2. Have a conversation with your partner/friend/child/colleague about what good looks like to them. It’s highly likely they have a completely different (and much kinder) expectation of you.
Sometimes we might feel like our relationships aren’t growing or even worse, going backwards. If you feel this way here’s some ideas for getting unstuck.
Get to know each other’s strengths and then have a conversation of how you’ve seen those strengths come to life, what they mean to you and how your different strengths might complement each other. Read more on strengths here.
Get to know your love language, even if you’re just friends. We all give and receive love, affection differently. Take the simple test here.
Understand more about desire and how to maintain it in long term relationships from psychotherapist Esther Perel.
Get deep and philosophical on how the idea of romantic love impacts us, perhaps negatively, with this video from Alain De Botton.