Tough times in relationships

When dark clouds hover above your relationships, they offer a great opportunity for self-growth

To hone our potential, a good teacher sets us a tough exam, to make our employees work together you set them team building exercises. Similarly, life, to bring out our strength, gives us challenging relationships.

Choose peace

When caught in the cross-fire of an argument, what do we do? I would like to run from the scene, but I know that isn’t possible. Wayne Dyer, in his book There is a spiritual solution to every problem, says, “Right in the middle of a no-peace moment give yourself a gentle reminder that no one and no thing can take away your peace without your consent”. Our tough interactions are telling us this—don’t give away your peace, regain power, and choose your reactions. Peace does begin within.

Opening our hearts

When it’s pouring for days, when it’s all bleak and dark, how we long for the warm rays of the sun. Our tough relationships are giving us this message. Imagine the sunshine, the humour and camaraderie you once shared with the person you are now resenting. Re-connection is beautiful. Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, authors and founder of the Hendricks Institute believe it helps to follow the 5:1 rule. Five things to appreciate for every one criticism we have. Try this and you’ll realise that challenging interactions  are only a shout-out for attention and love. So rather than wallowing in anger, lets reminisce and re-create the love, go for a bike ride, a tennis game with your angry teenager, and laugh like you did when he was little child.

Tough love

The people who are the hardest to love are the ones that need it the most. That’s why they are emanating all that hostility and condescension. A person’s history, their own difficulty, often makes them impossible to be around. So it’s really not about us, but about their own issues, that maybe we can solve by sharing a smile. That’s the message then in our challenging relationship—of compassion and kindness. Our domineering CEO, may actually be worried about his unwell child, so rather than steaming internally about his hostile demeanour, we can have a conversation about the pressures of work and how you can help.

When we complain that no one is listening, it’s good to ask ourselves, are we listening too? As Steven Covey states in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “The essence of empathic listening is not that you agree with someone; it’s that you fully, deeply, understand that person, emotionally as well as intellectually”.

Round and round in circles

We lose our cool over the same problem, every single time. The same bully archetype seem to be following us, from our younger days at school, to college, to even our workplace. There always is a bully behind us. Or everyone is always, always taking us for granted. Why does the same challenging person and relationship pattern keep showing up? Rather than matching door slam with door slam, and staying in this pattern forever, maybe we can see what the underlying reason is.

“However good or bad you feel about your relationships, the person you are with at this moment is the ‘right’ person, because he or she is the mirror of who you are inside,” says Deepak Chopra. Following this, if we feel no one respects our time, we can ask ourselves, do we respect our own time? It’s like a mirror exercise and very insightful indeed.

“If you have a boss who is critical and impossible to please, look within. Either you do that on some level or you have a belief that bosses are always critical and impossible to please,” states Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life. Our peace then does begin within ourselves and emanates all around.

People could be our worst trouble or they could be our blessing. It’s up to us to choose to see the goodness, to find the message, and the meaning in our challenges. In the words of Emily Kimbrough, “Remember we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”

This was first published in the January 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Uzma Hyder
Uzma Hyder is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad. Her articles have been published in The Hindu and The Khaleej Times. The beauty of the written word, the wonder of Nature, the wisdom of mystical poetry and the power of personal development inspire her. She believes that life is a beautiful journey; full of great learning and wonderful joy.


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