As a caveat to this post, you may not have relationship “issues”. But, if you get really honest, and examine the interactions with your family, friends, partners, or pets you’ll find most of us have some sort of issue. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s take a few moments to ponder not only your romantic relationship, but also the other relationships in your life. Because whether your partner buys you flowers or your bestie throws you the biggest birthday party ever or your kids make you the best Valentine’s Day card in the world, ultimately, those things don’t define the quality of your relationship. Let’s take a look at what does.
Saying What You Mean
Do you agree when you really disagree just to keep the peace? Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do out of guilt—or fear? If you’d rather have a cozy evening in than get reservations at the chic new restaurant, speak up. If you spend the night with with a smile on your face and I don’t want to do this running through your head, that’s a problem.
I suspect there are times when we all do something we don’t want to do. We agree to what our partner wants as a compromise. Tonight we’ll see the action flick. Next week the romantic comedy. Here’s another option: both go to the movies with friends and do something else together. Either of these choices work, but if you’re always saying “What do you want to do?” instead of “I’d like to . . .” you start to lose sight of yourself. What you think and want matters.
Taking Care of Yourself
Which brings me to another question: do you put everyone else’s needs and wants first and yours last (or even never)? My kids need me. Mom and dad can’t do this stuff for themselves anymore. My friend asked if I could do her a favor . . .
It’s great to be helpful, and sometimes people we love do need help. And, yet, sometimes we need to say NO. We need to say no to others so we can say yes to ourselves. This isn’t optional.
But what if doing things for your kids makes you happy? What if you like running errands for your dad? Again, helping––not a problem. Making everyone else’s stuff your life––problem.
Communicating What You Want
Sometimes instead of saying the opposite of what we want, we just don’t say anything at all. Have you ever expected somebody to read your mind (and been ticked off when they didn’t)? But he knows what I like! I’ve told my kids to put things away when they are done with them before. Why did she throw me a party for my birthday? I’d much rather have taken a trip.
Sometimes we have ideas in our heads and we think people should know them because they know us. Word to the wise, my wise ones: none of us are mind readers—it doesn’t hurt to say what you want or expect. Really. It can even help.
Example? I know it’s been a busy week, but can we go hear some music Friday night? works a lot better than seething while your significant other zones out on their phone while you pretend to do the same on yours. Maybe they’ll say yes (and hopefully mean it). Maybe they’ll say no, but you’ll have opened the door to talk about what you could do.
Is any of this hitting a little close to home? If you find yourself agreeing when you really disagree, doing things you don’t want to do, getting irritated because somebody didn’t read your mind, or feeling burnt out because you take care of everyone else but yourself, I’m going to suggest you need some work on your relational boundaries.
Relational boundaries are one of five types of boundaries that are essential for healthy self esteem, relationships, and physical health. Assess your relational (and other) boundaries to see where underdeveloped or overly rigid boundaries may be holding you back from your best life.
Join me for a FREE call:
Boundaries: Honoring the Real You in a Demanding World on Wednesday, MARCH 2 at 6pm MT/8pm ET.
In the comments, share one way you have honored and shown yourself love today.
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