13 Simple Steps to Improve Your Relationship – Relationships are the foundation of our personal growth and expansion in this lifetime. We are naturally wired to connect and collaborate with others—those with the same energy source contained within ourselves—the collective human life force.
Regardless of whether the relationship is with a family member, significant other, co-worker, friend, or acquaintance, all of our relationships are extremely powerful and assist us in creating our life stories.
Here are 13 Ways to Better Relationships:
All relationships begin with you. The words “Know Thyself” were inscribed on the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi thousands of years ago. Knowing your current limitations and learning from your experience continue to be essential today. Take the time to develop the most important relationship—the one with yourself.
To know yourself is to love and accept yourself as you are—even with the attributes you strive to improve. Being in a healthy relationship with yourself starts with the awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and intuition, and then using that knowledge in your life and relationships. Your experiences become your story. Only you are the expert on your life.
Relationships with others are always a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself. When you know yourself—your strengths, joys, limitations, and fears—you can present yourself to others with truth and transparency. Take the time to know yourself—your best self. Know that you have worth and value. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you.
Through communication, we interact with others, sharing beliefs, values, and intentions. Words, though powerful, are only a small part of giving and receiving information. We also communicate through tone, expressions, and body language. Open, effective, two-way communication is the cornerstone of all healthy balanced relationships. Effective communication in relationships is founded on honesty and truth.
In order to communicate in healthy and balanced ways, we must pay attention to how we are feeling as we are sending or receiving information. Becoming aware of our emotions helps us to communicate and sort through our thoughts and feelings, especially when our emotions have been triggered.
Even though our human nature is to be reactive, we can have full control over how we respond to the world around us. By acknowledging our feelings and thinking carefully before we speak, we can choose our words wisely and respond to others clearly and calmly.
Boundaries are the visible and invisible rules of engagement that we put in place for protection and safety. Boundaries create a personal space within which we are able to choose whom we allow access and how we want to be treated. Boundaries provide a framework for mutual understanding and respect for natural differences in all relationships.
Having healthy personal boundaries facilitates self-reliance and contributes to creating nurturing, productive, and respectful relationships with others. Having clear boundaries requires that we focus on ourselves and learn to communicate our desires in healthy and respectful ways.
Setting our personal boundaries allows us to express our truth and beliefs to others with confidence and courage. Acknowledging others’ boundaries demonstrates respect and builds trust.
Our “frequency” is our personal energetic level. Personal frequencies fluctuate between higher or lower levels depending on our present state of health, mood, or well-being. Similar to radio stations broadcasting different types of music, we feel a variety of energetic vibrations—or “vibes”—coming from other people. Being around someone who raises your frequency, or lifts your mood, feels much different than someone who brings you down.
Connect with your feelings and intuition to sense frequency. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual energy levels are influenced by our environment, and it’s up to each of us to pay attention and maintain our own frequency. Sometimes this means disconnecting or detaching from others energetically for the purpose of self-preservation.
Frequency plays a critical role in relationships. Matching frequencies in the workplace can be challenging, as our ability to choose our relationships is more limited. Our personal relationships offer us more freedom of choice. The interplay of frequency in relationship is often overlooked but worth paying attention to. The frequencies of the people around us can reinforce our own, or they can act as a counter-balance. Either can be beneficial depending on the situation. Awareness is key.
Love comes from reconnection to the flow of well-being that is a natural and abundant part of our lives. Love is the connection to God, Source Energy, The Universe—the life force of which we are all made. Love is the spiritual glue that binds us together. It may be difficult to explain what love is, but we know how love feels.
Our relationships with others are the manifestation of the love we have inside reflected back to us through the eyes and hearts of others. When our hearts are filled with love for ourselves, we have a larger capacity to feel and experience love for others.
Loving and being loved increase and heighten our sense of well-being— when we love, we are less resistant and open to more of the positive energy that is flowing to and through us. Relationships with those who know your heart create opportunities for mutual expansion.
When someone says “I love you,” they are putting their faith in you and the potential for a deeper connection is created. This kind of love is truth-telling and unconditional—it respects someone for their strengths while acknowledging their shortcomings.
Trust, the foundation for all healthy and balanced relationships, is believing in someone’s reliability, integrity, competence, or strength. In close personal relationships, trust means believing that someone is essentially on your side and that differences are not fundamental barriers to your connection. Trust creates and maintains connections between people.
Trust begins with you. Trust is grounded in your personal integrity and in your empathy for other people. When you know yourself, you know your truths and beliefs. When you trust yourself, you give others the opportunity to trust you. Integrity, truth, honesty, and transparency build trust. Kindness, compassion, and a spirit of genuine connection maintain trust and create authenticity and respect.
Trust is often referred to as earned since it is created over time and consciously maintained. When someone says, “I trust you,” they are putting their faith in you, and a mutual connection is created. This connection is to be taken seriously. If trust is lost—either with others or yourself—it can be restored through forgiveness and grace.
Intention is the direct reflection of our deepest truth and belief systems. Our intentions form the foundation for our attitudes, actions, and words. Intentions move from thought into word, word into action, and action into being.
Intention in relationships begins with identifying what we want. Our desires are fueled by our beliefs, goals, and the experiences of our previous relationships. Even knowing what we don’t want gives us information and the opportunity to create what we do want.
Once our intentions are known, they must still be reevaluated over time. Even the best intentions can create unexpected or undesired results. When your behavior is in alignment with your intentions, it is easier to evaluate the intentions and expectations of others. When you clearly discuss your intentions, you plant seeds for collaboration and co-creation.
Balance in relationships can be maintained as long as intentions are continually clarified and mutually understood. Nobody wants to be left out of the loop.
“Allowing” is appreciating people and experiences as they are in the present moment. When we allow, we practice acceptance, and acceptance keeps us aligned with our reality. Allowing uses a new type of patience, releases control, and honors our own process of becoming our truest selves.
Allowing places us firmly in the present moment. It keeps us from spinning our wheels in resistance. In relationships, allowing means letting go of judgment and accepting what is, including our own feelings about it.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Partner Happy
If we are truly practicing allowing in our relationships, we can accept what’s true in our circumstances without judgment. We can acknowledge our own feelings about it without expecting that circumstances will change. And finally, we can choose for ourselves without needing to make the other person wrong. Allowing lets us love and accept others while maintaining the freedom to make our own choices.
Listening is an act of intent that requires attention, focus, and concentration. Listening attentively requires allowing others to speak without interrupting or interjecting your own thoughts. Listening is important because being heard fulfills a human need. When we are heard, we feel acknowledged and validated.
Listening creates deeper connections with others. We can tune in to people on multiple energetic levels if we are truly listening to them. Not only can we hear someone’s words and tone, but we can observe their facial expressions and bodily gestures. We can connect to a person’s emotions by opening our hearts and getting in touch with our intuition.
In relationships, listening shows respect. Listening allows people to think out loud and clarify their thoughts and concerns. Listening requires patience, and the gift of our time is an act of kindness. Becoming an effective listener helps you and another person to align with each other’s thoughts and allows for a deeper and more meaningful connection.
Walk in Their Shoes
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Take a walk in my shoes,” you knew the person saying it was asking you to see things from their perspective. Perspective is what we know and believe based on what we’ve previously experienced. If we take someone’s perspective, we make an effort to understand what they know and believe based on their experience—without evaluation.
This is how wisdom is passed forward. Appreciating perspective keeps us open to making connections with people who have differing viewpoints, beliefs, and experiences. By integrating the perspectives of others, we practice compassion and deepen our relationships.
When we seek to understand perspective, we create lasting and valuable connections. This builds a foundation of trust in new relationships and strengthens trust in existing ones.
Choose For Yourself
Choice is our greatest gift. In choosing, we create our own unique experience. Each choice we make brings a different result, and our choices—like our experiences—are constantly changing. Our attitude, perspective, and behavior are choices, and when we change our minds, we create new choices.
Understanding and respecting the power to choose means learning that we ultimately can only choose for ourselves. Attempting to choose for others is a form of control that denies them the freedom to make their own choices. Sharing our opinions and perspectives when invited and without expectation allows others to still choose for themselves.
In relationships, we choose our level of commitment by considering the purpose and desired outcome of each relationship. This helps us to choose how much time and energy to invest. Our relationships are dynamic and constantly changing. One of the biggest roles choice plays in our relationships is recognizing and honoring that relationships have life cycles and choosing when to maintain, alter, or end them.
Befriend Your Family, Befamily Your Friends
As adults, we make choices regarding whom we include in our lives. Many of us have grown up with parents, siblings, and other biological family members, but some of us haven’t. Essentially, the term “family” can apply to anyone in your life who is important to you.
As we enter our adult lives, most of us leave home, create our own unique life space, and begin to fill it with new people. We form new groups consisting of our closest friends, a significant other, or sometimes even co-workers. These are the people we love, respect, and cherish most. These people become our new family.
For some adults, continuing their relationships with parents, brothers, and sisters is natural and an important part of their lives; for others, it is more difficult.
Time and distance can make fathers into foreigners and siblings into strangers. If you choose, these relationships can be transformed with time and attention. Having your family as friends requires patience, perspective, and acceptance; but we can learn to communicate effectively, respect our differences, and agree to disagree.