“Because you believed I was capable of behaving decently, I did.” ~ Paulo Coelho
If you want to improve your relationships, if you want to build happier and longer lasting social connections, you have to learn how to communicate in a healthier and more effective way.
If for example you are in a relationship and your partner acts in ways that bother you, hurting your feelings, you need to know how to respond to his/her actions and behaviors. You need to learn how to stop reacting and start responding instead.
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ~ Epictetus
Do your best to focus on the behavior and not the person. Tell him/her that you love and appreciate him/her but you simply can’t accept his/her behavior, you can’t tolerate it anymore.
If you call somebody stupid when he or she does something wrong, that person becomes all defensive and can no longer hear what you are trying to communicate. The person becomes all emotional and can only think of ways to defend himself or herself. If you choose to call a person stupid, incompetent or whatever, not only you are hurting that person’s feelings but you are not helping them at all, you are not improving your relationship with that person.
You might love them and you might want to help but that is not the way to do it. If you call somebody stupid, how can that person improve?
Grow his IQ? You will not get good results with this kind of behavior. Always refer to that person’s behavior and actions. Try first to pay them a compliment, try first to tell them how great they are, how smart and capable they are and then share with them that which is bothering you.
Express your love and appreciation for that person and then express your concern for the way they are acting, for their actions and behaviors. A behavior can be corrected, can be changed, can be improved. Tell them how great they are and how they can do much more by changing some of their actions. People don’t like to be criticized and less or nothing will be achieved with criticism.
Challenge The Behavior Not The Person
So next time when your friend, mother, father, husband, wife, dog, cat or what other creatures is getting on your nerves, pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings. Observe your thoughts and do your best to not react, because when you react things only get really messy.
I am going to give you an example so you can better understand what I am talking about.
Let’s take for example Bil and Lisa who are married for almost 3 years now. One night Lisa comes home from work, exhausted and hears her husband screaming out loud from the game room:
“Lisa honey, is that you? Can you make me something to eat? I am starving.”
The sink is full of dishes, the house is a mess, clothes all over the place. She gets so mad and thinks:
“I am working from 9:00 am and it’s almost 10 pm. I am exhausted, my head is killing me, I am tired, I want to take a bath, I want to get some rest and this is what I get? More work? He is home all day long and can’t wash the dishes? Can’t he clean the house a little bit? Can’t he make something to eat? Do I have to do everything around here? I am gonna go crazy one day. I can’t do this anymore. I am gonna go and tell him what I think about him. I am going to tell him.”
She walks very fast toward the game room and suddenly stops:
“If I start screaming at him, that will only make everything worse. I love him and I really don’t want to make a scene. I can make this work. I can do it without us fighting. I can do it.”
She enters the room and there is Bil playing his favorite game. Instead of reacting to his irresponsible and immature behavior Lisa starts talking and expressing her concerns:
“Sweetie, I know how much you love this game and me now how much fun you have right now and I really don’t want to stand in the way of that, but I am really tired and I would really love to take a bath. You know, when I got in the house and saw your clothes all over the place, the sink full of dishes, I felt irritated because I want to start cooking dinner for us and I can’t do it right away with all the dishes in the sink, all these clothes lying all over the house and if I start cleaning it will take forever until the dinner is ready. So I want to ask you to help me out so we can both be happy, well fed, watch a movie and then go to bed. We are a team sweetie and if we don’t work with one another, what then?”
It’s that simple. If you let all your anger get in the way you will not get from him what you want and your day, night or whatever, it will be a disaster. It’s all about how we choose to respond to those situations, those behaviors that will eventually decide if we are going to be happy or not. If we are going to improve the relationships with those we love or destroy them little by little.
“Between what happens to us, the stimulus and how we respond to that stimulus there is a space and in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor Frankl
We have the power to choose for ourselves, we have the power to choose how we are going to respond to everything that is happening to us, and based on the choices we make our lives, So why not chose to live a happier life? Why not choose to improve the relationships we already have and also build new ones?
Always remember, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
** Why do you think so many people choose to react to whatever it is that happens all around instead of taking the time to step back for a little while and respond in a positive, healthy and constructive manner?