Nurturing Supportive Relationships
Thanks to a plethora of communication research over the past 30 years, people know more today about how to nurture supportive relationships than they did in the past (Lamanna, Riedmann, & Stewart, 2016). Many are actively working on doing so by focusing their attention on their interpersonal (interactions between people) and intrapersonal (interactions within oneself) skills daily.
Three ways to hone your focus and nurture supportive relationships in your life are to:
1) Consciously recognize how important the relationship is to us
2) Set realistic expectations for the relationship
3) Improve your own emotional intelligence (2016)
Our relationship with ourself is the most important relationship we have (other than our relationship with God/the Universe/Source Energy). How we relate to others will be a direct reflection of how we relate to ourselves. If you are constantly focusing on your shortcomings and talking down to yourself, you will see these behaviors mirrored in your interactions with others. People will always come up short in your eyes, and you will find yourself focused on what they are not doing, versus all the beauty they bring to the table. Consciously recognizing how important it is to love ourself and feel connected to others is the first step in cultivating supportive relationships in your life.
Knowing how to set realistic expectations for ourself and our relationships is a skills worth crafting if you wish to escape the painful crash of unmet hopes and pipe dreams. Wether it be in your personal or professional life, being able to see a situation fully for what it is (strengths and limitations) and then adjusting your expectations accordingly is a preventative measure for unnecessary interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict. In fact, many relationship dissolutions conspire from an unrealistic expectation of what the relationship should be, rather than the two individuals being incompatible.
Emotional Intelligence is key to both personal and professional success. Although it is hard to measure, a lack of emotional intelligence can be felt instantly within relationships.
Four elements of Emotional Intelligence are:
a. Awareness of what we are feeling so that we can express our feelings authentically
b. Ability and willingness to repair our moods, not nursing our hurt feelings
c. Healthy balance between controlling rash impulses
and being candid and spontaneous
d. Sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others (2016)
A few techniques you can engage in daily to increase your emotional intelligence are journaling, taking deep breaths throughout your day, practicing mindfulness, exercising (even if for 10 minutes a day), positive mirror talk, active listening, sitting in silence and/or meditation.
Never underestimate the positive change you can create in your relationships simply on your own behalf. Instead of trying to change your partner, friend, parent, child...be the change you wish to see in the relationship.
Lamanna, M.A., Riedmann, A. & Stewart, S. (2016). Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making choices in a diverse society, 13th Edition.