Most of us would agree that relationship problems are the source of a considerable amount of the emotional and mental distress we experience. Conflict in our marriages, disconnection with our children, resentments in our families of origin and frustrations in our places of employment can often drive us to distraction. If only there were a way to live in peace with those with whom we relationally interact.
When tension and conflict develop in a relationship it is tempting to first find fault in the other party. If only, they would listen. If only, they cared. If only, they would see the wisdom of doing things my way. If only.
This type of other-centered focus, however, seldom creates space for mutuality or resolution. In our efforts to get the other person to conform to our way of thinking, we lose sight of the futility of attempting to control someone else.
The more we attempt to make our case, the more we seem to drive a wedge between ourselves and the other person. If only there was another way.
The key to living in peace with others is not as elusive as we might first think. It is, however, a bit paradoxical for in order to find peace with others, we must first find peace with ourselves. In other words, the key to developing an extraordinary relationship with others is dependent upon our ability to develop an extraordinary relationship with ourselves.
Attempts to control others and bring them into conformity to our way of thinking are seldom effective. When we attempt to manage another person’s behavior, thinking, reactivity or emotions, we will generally end up triggering the very emotions, reactivity and/or thinking in ourselves that we find so distressing in others. What I identify as problematic in others is generally just a reflection of something I need to manage in my own life.
That didn’t feel good. You mean instead of focusing on how I believe the other person should behave, or act or change, I need to focus on my own behavior, emotions, and actions? Wow…that’s not fun. I agree. But it is effective.
Self Regulation and Emotional Stability
If we are truly interested in reducing the amount of tension, conflict, disconnection and frustration in our interactions with others, we must first be willing to address the true source of these issues, most notably, our intrinsic belief that we can only be happy and content and emotionally stable if we can get everyone and everything around us to behave the way we wish they would behave…or act…or believe. If only.
It can feel a bit ironic to realize that the key to emotionally stable, connectedness and truly intimate relationships with others is housed in our willingness to address our own emotional stability and tendencies for reactivity. Once I address and develop my ability to remain emotionally stable and nonreactive during relational interactions, there are few, if any, situations or events that can knock me off center and escalate into emotional and/or relational distress. From a place of calm, nonreactive stability, disagreements become less distressing and conflict more manageable.
Extraordinary relationships are not as elusive as they might first appear. They do, however, require a shift in perception that redirects our focus back to ourselves and our willingness to develop a healthy, balanced, self regulated and emotionally stable way of internal being. When I first focus on self development, self regulation and emotional maturity, extraordinary relationships become both natural and abundant.
Chrysalis Connections, LLC
Relationship Counseling and Consultation
429 E. Vermont Street, Suite 208
Indianapolis, IN 46202
There is Hope! Relational health and happiness is possible!