It’s easy to blame the person you’re in relationship with for all the problems between you. But the fact is that relationships take two—they aren’t one-sided.
Jesus modeled what it takes to have healthy relationships with anyone—spouse, children, coworkers, and friends. Take your inspiration from Him when you seek to improve your relationships with others by implementing as many of these 10 Christ-like actions as you can manage:
- Listen. Listening with your ears and listening with your heart are vastly different things. When you listen with your ears you hear, but when you listen with your heart you understand.
- Be vulnerable. It’s impossible to connect with you if you’re a prideful person or if you’re hiding behind walls and masks. You must be willing to be vulnerable to allow others in. Will they hurt you? Maybe. But it’s better than keeping everyone locked out.
- Let go of the need to be right. “Yes, but I just want to state my side” is the classic statement of the person who’s fighting his case. Who cares how many battles you win if you lose the war? You must resist the urge to argue, even if you are right.
- Take care of you. As selfish and counter-intuitive as that sounds, if you are not healthy how can you expect to have healthy relationships? Self-care is not about being selfish, it’s about caring for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. You are of very little use to others when you’re broken.
- Give others the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty right? That motto applies to our relationships as well. Many relationships have been divided simply because of misunderstandings and assumptions.
- Assume you’re the problem. I’m not saying that you allow others to walk all over you, but if you’re having conflict, assume you’re the problem and determine how you can be a better person. This way, even if you’re wrong, you’ll have grown and improved yourself.
- Speak the truth in love. There are going to be many cases where you will need to tell someone the hard truth; but how you deliver that truth can be the difference between receiving or rejecting. Take care to think about how to say something so that the other person can take it in—no accusing, blaming, or judging.
- Set and keep your boundaries. Having healthy relationships means that you each have your own identity and your own space. Meaning, no one invades your space—physical, mental, or emotional—unless invited. It’s good to say ‘no’ sometimes.
- Ask yourself, Am I struggling with something that I am putting on them? This is defined as projecting. Often times the very thing you are irritated with in another person is the same quality that you possess.
- Forgive frequently. You will have plenty of opportunity in this lifetime to hold onto grudges, or to forgive. Choose forgiveness. It releases the weight off of you and puts it on God–He’s much more capable of handling the offense than you are anyway.
Follow His example by applying these 10 guidelines, and you too can enjoy rewarding connections to others.
As Joyce Meyer says in her book “Conflict Free Living, How to Build Healthy Relationships.” “Many people are experiencing the devastation of strife, but they don’t recognize it as the root cause of their problems”
Will you have healthy relationships with everyone? No, but learning to be healthy in relationships can lead you to more healthy relationships.