We are all faced with broken relationships at some point in life. Dr Bill Price presents five practical things you can do to be reconciled with those you are in conflict with.
We are all creatures of relationship so relationships are a top priority in our lives. Peace and harmony in our relationships with other people are so important including the relationship we have with our spouse, partner, family, neighbours, work colleagues. So I encourage you to become a relationship mender, or reconciler to reduce the broken relationships in your life.
Yes married couples especially need to be transparent and open, and while this post is illustrated with photos of a couple on their journey to wholeness, the principles contained in it apply to all types of relationships. In my experience most broken relationships can be mended if at least one party is willing to put in the effort.
In order for you or I to become an effective relationship mender we need to determine the importance of relationships in our own life ethic first. There is much to learn about the principles, practice, purpose and protocol of relationships and I try and address some of these in this post, along with basic conflict management skills, with practical exercises that I hope will help you mend the broken relationships in your life.
DNA of relationships exercise
- Consider what relationships are more important to you than anything else. Write down at least three examples on a blank sheet of paper.
- If you had difficulty in completing the above step, it may be that your relationship building skills are not at the level they should be. Write down the practical steps needed to restore affected relationships you have.
The answers to the above tasks will show up the gap between what you believe and value, and what you actually do in everyday life. In essence it will show up the difference between the “theory” and “practice” of relationship dynamics in your life.
This gap is common to all of us in varying degrees, and if there is no gap (i.e. all my relationships are working at a 100% capacity) we will probably find ourselves in a state of avoiding or denying issues, and becoming defensive in our arguments. Best advice I have is to simply deal with it!
Becoming a relationship mender means that you need to manifest certain realities in your life. To help us with this process may I make the following suggestions:
5 steps to mend broken relationships
STEP ONE: MAKE SURE THAT YOUR INTENTIONS ARE CLEAR
It is essential that you pay attention to write these intentions down in the present tense and in the first person as if they already exist.
- I am grateful that I am… (being) – Write five statements.
- I am grateful that I… (doing) – Write five statements.
- I am grateful that I have…….. (having) – Write five statements.
REMEMBER: Everything that we experience in life is a result of a coming together of our thoughts, beliefs and values. It is the sum total of all our intentions to date.
STEP TWO: FREE YOURSELF FROM SELF-SABOTAGING THOUGHTS, BELIEF SYSTEMS AND FEELINGS
We grow up with certain conditioning that has forced us to self-sabotage our own dreams and desires. These conflicting thoughts, beliefs and feelings are received from parents, teachers, friends and relatives, and contribute to how we live our lives. Without realising it we’ve been unconsciously programmed by these influences.
- Look at the five statements in each of the above sections. Ask yourself how a fear of failure or fear of success has inhibited and held you back in moving forward.
- Search your heart for experiences in the past where you have not lived fully and freely in terms of relationships; also think on whether it is time to end some of those relationships.
- Describe (write down) what lessons you have learnt through doing this exercise.
- List some steps you are going to take to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.
STEP THREE: TAKE ACTION STEPS TOWARDS YOUR INTENTIONALITY
A most powerful gift we have in life is the ability to make a decision towards a desired outcome. Too many times people seem to prepare projects or activities for a long time without ever actually moving towards experiencing the results. Many people avoid taking immediate action because of the reality of the presence of a belief, thought or emotion that is counteracting their intention on the inside. Commitment is the ability to totally align our entire being with reality so that we can see our intended outcomes come into existence. This is known as the law of attraction.
The Scottish mountaineer William Hutchinson Murray once said, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
What action steps are you going to take in the next 30-60 days to move your life forward in terms of practicing and functioning in the role of a relationship mender?
STEP FOUR: MANAGE THE SHIFTS AND CHANGES THAT OCCURRED IN THE PROCESS TOWARDS THE DESIRED OUTCOMES
- Once you’ve decided to take action in the direction of your intention, you may notice the subtlety of how deviation of direction takes place. It is a time when you have to realise that a saboteur is at work. At no time can we afford to be neutral and indecisive. That is just as powerful as being negative. Become aware of all the thoughts and feelings that are contrary to your intention and outcomes. Learn to listen to them and give them space; once that is done consciously pay attention on how to pull the plug on them.
- Looking at your interpersonal relationships and networks, with whom and where are you delaying the process of restoration?
- How are you defending your non-action towards a positive solution?
- What are you avoiding and what are the reasons as to why you are doing so?
STEP FIVE. ALLOW SPACE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
We cannot control everything. With regard to broken relationships there comes a time when we need to step back and allow time to take its course. This doesn’t mean that we do nothing; it does mean that we honour the opportunity without trying to control, conceive an answer or manipulate the situation. It does mean that we have faith as we focus on the solution.
It is during this time that we give up the habit of creating expectations and getting attached to them. It does not mean we don’t have goals or intentions, but it does mean that we must not be attached to the specifics of how we believe those goals and intentions need to be achieved. Helen Keller once said that many people have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. She says it is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
When we set our goals without ego we need to understand that this is the part of us that we know about, think about, and make decisions from – basically being conscious. Our purpose is invisible to our everyday mind, yet it unfolds in our everyday life from circumstances.
A mender of broken relationships is concerned with:
- Being, not doing;
- A long-term view, sometimes beyond a single lifetime;
- Understanding that there is no such thing as an un-resourceful person, just an un-resourceful situation;
- Not superimposing personal preferences and definitions and judgement into the relationship spaces;
- Sees other people and what they do as a work of art or a journey;
- Sees experiences as teaching, learning and integration experiences and opportunities along this journey.
I want to encourage you to become a relationship mender, on purpose!
- When people live off-course to their purpose, they feel like they are “going to work because they have to versus loving what they do”.
- When people live on purpose they will feel a sense of focus and will no longer feel the inner cry to fill a void.
- Pay attention to relate to others in a transparent and real way; stop pretending and take off masks.
- Stay away from praising in such a way that it is designed to control and manipulate.
- Create an internal expectation that people are good.
- Acknowledge the positive and affirm and appreciate more often than not
- Avoid comparisons
- Avoid judgement
- Invite success into people’s lives
- Share wisdom and your experience fully and freely with no expectation that others have to do what you have just said
- Instead of criticism share growth opportunities by focusing on the desired end results
- Get beyond making life about right and wrong
- Embrace mistakes and failure are simply feedback
- Develop an abundance mentality
- Leverage people’s strengths rather than lamenting their weaknesses
- Celebrate success and delight in momentum towards completion
- Look at life through a different set of glasses and rather than seeing things as a catastrophe see it as an opportunity to learn and overcome the challenge
- Believe the best in people
The world has enough problems of its own and people are engulfed in the shadow of the pain-side of their reality. What the world needs is the presence and the power of a purpose-minded people who are prepared to mend the broken relationships around them.