Sunday, January 29, 2012

Conflict and relationship

Relationships go through motions. If there was a recipe for ‘forever happy after’ I am sure we all would pay money to get it. Arguments, discussions, conflict or just silent disapproval and unhappiness are emotions we all wish to avoid.
I find arguments and conflicts very hurting and it takes me quite long to get back to a ‘all is well’ mode. As much as we all know that these things are part of life we wish we could go without.
Here are some ideas and methods for conflict prevention and/or conflict resolution in relationships.
  • 15 minutes: Set one hour a week aside to do this exercise. It is about true listening. Each person has 15 minutes to talk. Rely messages of what is going well and not so well in the relationship. Use the time to talk without being interrupted by the other party. The other person can take notes but the most important exercise is to truly listen and trying to understand the other person not to formulate a response/defense. After the first 15 minutes there can be a short exchange and then the other person takes 15 minutes to talk.
  • Take a break. Take a weekend or a day or an evening and do something on your own. It seems obvious but still something to be reminded off. An evening on the couch does not count. Plan something separate outside of the house.
  • Write it down. If there are a few things bothering you, write it down. Don’t send it immediately. Let it simmer for a day or two, read it again, rewrite it and then send it off or talk about it.
  • Don’t argue at night. Rather go to sleep and discuss the next morning. Being tired and worn off from the day does not help in solving conflict.
  • When it gets heated, take a break. Walk around the block, prepare a meal – do something that makes you cool off. Shouting and hurting comments are more difficult to heal.
  • Talk to a friend. It’s probably an advice I don’t have to give to most women...we do share with our best friends...and it is good that we do. It’s important to hear other perspectives. Many men don’t but they really should.
  • When you argue about something, stay on the point. Don't bring other things in that are not relevant to the current situation.
  • Take some time when you are in a good space to look at your relationship from a rational point of view. Assess and analyse the relationship as if it was a business, an organisation or a process. It sometimes helps to take the emotions out.
  • If you find yourself arguing all the time it might be good to ask a third party to listen and assist.
Anything to add?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Live so you won’t regret

When people are about to die they think about their lives. Some go through a phase of remorse and regret. They are sad about things they haven’t done and those are mostly related to relationship and love. Material things fade away and what counts is the time spent with others – with family, their kids and friends.
We are often reminded of the importance to enjoy life and to live every day to the fullest as if it was your last. We forget this quickly in our daily lives and the surmounting worries seem to blind us to see the essential.
Start today and think of those small adjustments you can make to ensure that you will not regret. It could be something like switching off the TV/ipad/blackberry one evening a week and playing a board game with the family. Committing to Skype with one of your friends you have not spoken to in months.
Be true to yourself and live your life as the person you want to be, not as what others expect of you. It is almost as sad to wear masks most of the time and enclose oneself in pretending and living what others want. Say what you feel. The other person might benefit to hear it and you might regret not having said it. And lastly, be happy. Happiness and satisfaction are a choice, not something that will be given to you. It might not be instantaneously achievable but work towards it – so you have not ‘wasted’ your life with hours of sadness and unhappiness.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I am like that...nothing I can do about it

We all have our little issues – things we ascribe as our ‘problem areas’ or ‘challenges’. It could be a ‘bad habit’ or some difficulties like lack of concentration, procrastination, overweight or any other.
It is good to identify those 'problems', and maybe even get some help, some more information or even find other people with the same issue. It is good to talk about it and clearly state what the problem is.
However, it is challenging when the problem becomes so much part of oneself that it converts into a personality trait. If you convince yourself that the issue is part of your DNA – of who you are – you will not be able or willing to change anything ever. You have then accepted it as part of you.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are things that one might not be able to change – let’s say something like an illness or disease. However, if one personifies the illness or any other thing in life, it will become impossible to change. If you believe it is an integral part of who you are, then it will be impossible to change. Let me give you an example.  If you say ‘I’m overweight. I have always been like that and my whole family is like that.’ It is very likely that you won't do something about it. 

In short, acknowledge your problems, own them but do not ‘become’ them.

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