More often than I would like, after a family gathering or a visit with friends I think I could have interacted with them better. I said or did something that didn’t reflect who I really am inside or just simply showed them less than the best of me. And worse, unwittingly at the time, made people feel less than they are. I’m sure I am not alone in this, so here are three princilples that can help us do a little better with our relationships.
Listen More and Speak Less
The old adage that we have two ears and one mouth kind of sums up the first principle that will improve our relationships. People feel more appreciated when we genuinely listen to them. When people think someone is a good listener it’s because they are listening more than they are talking and not distracted when they do listen. Our family and friends need validation and support as much as we do. Listening validates and supports them. Talking too much is often an attempt to validate what we are doing or what we are about.
Be More Accepting and Respectful
It is easy to get irritated or argumentative when someone or some life experience has not met our expectations. We must learn to accept what people are willing to give us. This is the key to controlling our emotions when our expectation are unrealized. We might also get upset because we are passionate or sensitive about our values or beliefs. Unfortunately religious traditions and political views often bring out the worst in us. This is lamentable because we could get some fresh ideas and thoughtful viewpoints if we are less argumentative and more respectful and civil.
Try To Do What Others Want and Not What We Want
When we try do what others want and not what we want we are not selling our souls. We can never compromise our faith and our health for anyone no matter how important they are to us but all of the rest in life should be open to compromise. It is unnecessary and hurtful to drive a wedge between family and friends for incidental and collateral issues. This weakens our relationships with the people we care about. We should try to capitulation over little things for the greater good. The Scripture teaches that we should prefer others above ourselves.
Joseph C. Hutchison