What Takes Me Off Track in My Relationships: A Relationship Expert’s Journey (Part II)
Below is the continuation from my previous post of things that have taken me off track in my relationships. I hope some of these will serve as a reminder to you to pay attention to the moves you make that may also be taking you off track in your relationships. After being married for twenty years, I’m sure I could probably come up with many more but I don’t want to overwhelm you.
- Let fear drive my actions. Fear of failure, success, financial problems, future happenings etc., all keep me out of the present and have often lead me to make poor choices. Some times the fear leads me to making no choices. Either way, fear has taken me down the wrong path too many times. If the bad thing is not happening now, I’ve learned to stop fretting about it (on a good day). I’m realizing that if the bad thing does happen, I’ll only have to fret about it later anyway so why not give myself a break now.
- Assumed that as my kids got older they wanted to see less of me. I’ve learned that universally kids want their parent’s time and attention. Of course there are times when they need a their space, however, even then they need to know you’re always there for them. Pay attention, listen to their stories and don’t assume they don’t care. I’m learning everyday to be more present and to SHOW I care, I’m listening and I have their back.
- Shut down and shut others out when I was angry/hurt. Although I’ve come a long way on this issue, this has been an ongoing edge for me. All I can say is shutting down and stewing is not productive. Giving someone the silent treatment is not justified, okay or helpful. I’ve learned through the years that resolution cannot happen if there is no conversation to work issues through. I’ve had to learn to speak it in the moment…or at least as soon as I can find the strength to do so.
- Forgot to lean into the good moments. This is so big and something I am still trying to remind myself to do every day. LEAN IN. There are little moments that occur all the time that so many of us forget to take in. We have to learn to take them in. Breathe in: A moment of laughter with your child, a spark of tenderness with your spouse, a great conversation, a cool success, a healing moment etc. We have to learn to notice the gifts…especially if we’re going to be so hyper-vigilant to the struggles/imperfections of life. Feel the joy and… LEAN IN.
- Allowed perfectionism to get in the way of acceptance. If I could re-do the first 6 years of my parenting I would do my very best to stop the tweaking and critiquing and instead enjoy my children’s imperfections and journey of discovery. I would also have started much earlier to let go of all the self-tweaking as well. Perfection is an impossible feat and it’s time we all stop demanding it of others and ourselves.
Relationships can be amazing opportunities for self-growth if we dare to allow ourselves to see our fault lines. We all have our own particular vulnerabilities when it comes to life and relationships and it’s up to each of us to be aware of what those are. It’s also up to each of us to be conscious of when we’re going down the wrong path and then, have the courage to take steps to self-correct.
Challenge: I encourage you to make a list of the ways you can go off track in your relationships. Pay attention to signs that you’re headed down the wrong path and learn to self-correct. You and your loved ones will thank you for it!