Relationships are great, right? Yes, and sometimes they are not. Then sometimes they are. Then sometimes they are not. There is an ebb and flow to them. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the ebbs and not be in the flow.
Take a moment to think about your relationships. It can be with a friend, a family member, spouse, partner, co-worker, or acquaintance. Do you always get along? Do you get upset and frustrated when you don’t? Do you try and try to prepare yourself before you spend time with certain people in your life – but inevitably, one of you ends up getting their feelings hurt?
No matter what relationship, there are going to be times when you get along when things feel good and then times when you don’t get along and you need time apart. It is normal. Everyone experiences the highs, lows, and everything in between within their relationships, but why do we forget that sometimes? Why does it seem like no matter what, we get stuck in the lows with certain people?
Here are some of the common reasons I have seen and experienced that can help you navigate your relationships:
- You have expectations of what a relationship “should” look like, of how the people in your life “should” act, respond, etc. Then when the person does not live up to these expectations you get upset and your feelings get hurt.
- You have unhealed trauma that gets unconsciously triggered by what someone does or does not say or does or does not do. It makes you uneasy, but you are not sure why.
- You are not loving and accepting yourself, so you are not open to receive love and acceptance from the people in your life. For example, you feel defensive or uncomfortable when someone gives you praise.
- You are highly sensitive to the feelings and emotions of the people around you. You are an empath and have a difficult time separating your feelings and emotions from the feelings and emotions of the people in your life. If someone you are interacting with gets upset you immediately find yourself also getting upset.
- You hold on to the past and allow it to define your present. People change, you change, but sometimes you hold on to how someone “used” to be or act and it affects how feel in the present.
Do any of these examples I shared resonate with you? Have you been unconsciously putting unrealistic expectations on people in your life? Is there a chance that you are a highly sensitive person and have been taking on the feelings and emotions of others? Are you holding on to something that happened in the past and keep bringing it back to the present?
Relationships are a big part of our lives and have many layers to them. Each of us has our own experiences, points of view, feelings, emotions, and thoughts that shape how we interact, how we show up, how we react. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting our relationships to be easy and to get frustrated when people don’t act, say or do what we want when we want them to.
Next time you find yourself getting frustrated about one of your relationships, take a deep breath. Can you identify an underlying reason that can help you shift the relationship? Maybe it is one I listed here or a new one you have uncovered. Sometimes you may not be able to find an underlying reason for the conflict right away, especially if the relationship has been strained for years and years.
Conflicts are going to happen. It is not our goal to avoid them. We want to stay curious about our interactions with the people in our life. As our awareness increases of why the conflicts occur, we can choose to change our perception – with the hope that our conflicts will happen less and less.
“To be an adult in a relationship is not to be conflict-free, it’s to resolve conflicts mindfully.” David Richo