Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
We are afraid to care too much; for fear that the other person does not care at all. Eleanor Roosevelt
Approach, avoid, attack, which mode are we living our life in? We may think we are living in one mode, but the way people react to us may show us we are actually living in a different mode.
We may think we are approachable, our partner may feel otherwise. Is it the tone of our voice, the words we say, or our actions? It may take a bit of detective work on our part to figure things out. It is worth figuring out.
We may feel they are being “way” too sensitive. This may even be true. Have we taught them to be this way? We can’t change other people, but we can change our self. When we change our self other people react to us differently.
Becoming defensive is not good for relationships, being in avoid mode, or attack mode damages our relationships. We need to be vulnerable and approachable if we want good relationships.
When relationships become cold, we may be harboring resentment which makes us act in avoid or attack mode. We may not realize how it happened. We used to be so close. We used to see each other often, laugh, joke and enjoy each other’s company. Now the phone calls are less often, more polite, less intimate, as time goes by that’s just the way it is, we tell our self.
Maybe we need to search our soul to find out if we have hidden resentments. We need to make an effort to rekindle the relationship. Often life carries on, and we don’t even realize how our relationships cool until they are cold.
When we get into a conflict with someone we can ask this question.
If this person pushed my button, which one of their buttons might I (however inadvertently) have pushed?
If we want things to change we will have to change them. We will need to forgive and give up our resentments, and our hurt feelings, holding onto them is hurting our self and others. Even if we decide to no longer have a relationship we still should forgive, so we can go forward in peace.
Many families are fractured over little things, offence was taken, and amends were never made. Sometimes we didn’t realize there was an offence until much later. We perceive things differently, we misread the situation, and our feelings are hurt.
We think someone did something to us, they don’t think they did. It is easy to take offence; it is easy to take things personally when no one meant to hurt us. It wasn’t deliberate; they were living their life, worried about what they were worried about. They were concentrating on themselves and their concerns. We may think we should be the centre of their world, but they are. Everyone is self involved. How else can we build a life if we aren’t looking after our own concerns, our own goals, and our own responsibilities? Should we be more kind and considerate? Yes, but people will not live up to our expectations, all the time. We will not live up to our own expectations all the time. We may not even know what someone else’s expectations are.
We can do the best we can, most of the time. We will not be perfect. We will hurt people’s feelings inadvertently. We need to forgive our self and others. We need to be willing to make the first move when things get awkward. We need to live with people’s imperfections; they might not be what we wish they were. We may want things from them they don’t have or know how to give. We may want a closer relationship than they want with us.
We need to negotiate our relationships; we need to be honest, upfront, approachable, understanding, kind, and forgiving. If we expect too much from people we will be disappointed, we need to deal with that. They aren’t responsible for the expectations they didn’t know about. They aren’t responsible when they are too busy to have time for us.
We are all imperfect; we are all struggling at one thing or another. We need to have some compassion for ourselves and others. We need to meet people where they are and have the relationship they are capable of, not the one of our dreams. If we deal with the relationship we can have, we can do what we can to make them better. If we believe they are deliberately not giving us what we want, how does that serve us? We build up resentments, we don’t heal our relationship.
Dr. Phil says we teach others how to treat us. If we aren’t being treated in the way we think we should be, we need to look at the real issues, theirs and ours. Our relationships with people are what they are, right now, can we make it better, probably, but something will have to change, and it probably starts with us.
Do we need to make the changes we want to see in our relationships? Can we be okay with better, not perfect?
Doctor’s won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately you have to take responsibility to save yourself. Naval Ravikant
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