Be the One to Make Relationships Great

This is the time to nurture and deepen connections with people you love.

The world has shifted since the pandemic.  Most of us have faced illness, grief and disappointment. There has been so much loss.

One thing that has come from all of that challenging stuff is that we’ve really started to understand – in a whole new way – how necessary and essential our relationships are. While pre-pandemic, we may have simply assumed that we would see our mom on holidays or share birthdays with our best friends, we now understand what huge gifts these shared times are. We no longer take it for granted that we get to hug someone we love or laugh with them across a table.

In light of this, how about we use this new phase of our lives to go deeper with people we love? Can we choose to nurture our relationships in new ways?

Let’s be willing (and courageous!) to be the person to take relationships to even more meaningful levels.

My mentor, Brendon Burchard expresses this as “Be the one to elevate your relationships.”

Why? Because there is so much more connection, joy and meaning that we can experience if we set the intention to get more real and to go deeper with people in our lives. We get this for ourselves. And we also give it to others as a gift!

What are we choosing in this new phase of time?

It’s time to focus on our friends and family even more. It’s time to love more deeply. It’s time to bring more magic, sparkle and novelty to our relationships so they feel even more meaningful than ever!

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Step One: Ask generative questions that spark love!

One of the best ways to cultivate positive relationships is to be intentional about the kind of energy you generate when you are with someone. Make it a point to start conversations (or the beginning of a visit) with uplifting questions that will feel generative and help the two of you scan for interesting topics instead of falling down obvious rabbit holes of politics, ill health or community gossip.

Here are questions you can use to spark uplifting and connecting conversations with people:

* What is something beautiful you saw or experienced today?
* Did anything out of the ordinary happen this week?
* Did something make you laugh today?
* What did you love best about your week?
* Did you read or watch anything that was thought-provoking?
* What feels juicy in your life right now?
* Did you have any interesting conversations that inspired you?
* What would make you feel more supported by me?

I know it might feel a little uncomfortable or vulnerable to shift conversation styles, but the payoff is worth it. I promise. You will feel more intimacy and a closer bond. You will also be uplifted by some new ways of thinking! And you know what? I bet the person you’re interacting with will also feel better!

Step Two: Pause when your feelings are hurt.

Here’s another way to elevate the relationships: press the pause button.

What do I mean by this? Well, even in the best, closest relationships, there are times when our feelings get hurt. The other person says or does (or doesn’t say or do!) something that stings. Maybe we get triggered and feel resentful, angry or hurt.

Instead of rushing to react by lashing out, take a deep breath and pause. Take some time to reflect on the situation and get clarity about how you want to respond. This is a way to make sure that you are nurturing your relationship and not yanking up its roots because you are upset!

Questions for myself when my feelings get hurt or I am angry at someone I love:

*  Am I coming from a place of love or fear/victimhood?
*  Can I get clarity from this person without blaming or shaming them?
*  Can I be direct about my feelings and not project what is going on?
*  Can I align with my real, true self and look at things from a wider, higher perspective?

I’m not saying don’t feel your feelings or don’t express them; just take some time to pause before responding to your person. Breathe, pause and make sure they are YOUR feelings and not ego or the small self which wants to be separate. There is some part of us, like the devil on the shoulder, who whispers things that aren’t helpful. That li’l Devil wants to keep us alone and listening to its stories of how awful everyone else is. Don’t listen and respond from that place.

Step Three: Acknowledge yourself and the other person with joy.

Whether you’ve just experienced a deepening of connection through happy conversation or by pausing to respond from love, make sure you take time to appreciate what just happened. You can say out loud, “Wow, I really loved this conversation! It made me think. I appreciate you so much!”

If your connection was a harder one, you can offer verbal gratitude: “Thank you for navigating this bumpy road with me. I love you so much and am grateful we can be honest and respectful with each other. This makes me feel closer to you!”

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Right here and now, acknowledge yourself for being the type of person to read an article like this because you CARE so deeply about your relationships. You are pretty darn awesome, aren’t you?

Your heart is wide and may love fill it to the brim!

Sherry’s mission is helping people find creative, intentional and impactful ways to celebrate life and to express love for family and friends. Visit her website or email her to say hello at Sherry’s book, “Say it Now; 33 Creative Ways to Say I Love You to the Most Important People in Your Life,” is now available on Amazon. Join Sherry’s free 5-day challenge, "Olly Olly Oxen Free: Permission and Belonging," here.

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