As we prepare to close out 2021, the word that comes to mind is RESILIENCE. Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties; getting back up when you fall. Between 2020-2021, some lost friends and family to COVID-19, others lost jobs and income, and for others, it was an opportunity to grow and stretch personally and professionally.
Self-reflection after overcoming trials is the perfect time to identify what you want for yourself in life and in love. While the holidays can cause one to feel lonely, you do not have to be alone. It is important to connect with friends and family and your faith. The new year is an opportunity to reflect and identify what you can do to improve your relationship(s) moving forward. Here are five ways to experience resilience in your relationships.
- Seek to understand the other person, first, instead of trying to be understood. When both parties take time to really hear each other before getting defensive and trying to explain yourself first, you have an opportunity to develop and convey empathy for how the other is feeling which may improve the way you feel. Positive communication is the key.
- Make quality time for each other. With careers, children, social networks, and the like, quality time becomes low priority with the person the person closest to you, your partner. It is easy to take for granted that they will always be there, however, you must remember to consistently put in the same effort and energy as you did when you met. When things get rough talk about your needs with each, or even a therapist, to get back on track.
- Let go of control. Each person brings unique personalities, likes, and experiences. When people argue, it is usually to convince the other to think or adopt their personal thoughts and ways of doing things versus respecting the other person’s way of doing thinking. Remember, you do not have to like what the other person says, thinks, or does but you have to respect it and agree to compromise to find the happy medium.
- Show appreciation, respect, and gratitude to each other for who they are and what they mean to you in your life. We tend to say, “they know I love and appreciate them,” but do they really? Learn and express your love to your partner in their love language not your own and speak to each other with the highest level of esteem and respect.
- Lastly, take a break from talking about problems in the relationship and focus on having fun. It is easy to identify things going wrong, however, try to switch gears and focus on what is going right. Go on a date night, get together with friends, or take a weekend getaway, just do something fun. Schedule a specific time to discuss problems instead of everyday or as they occur. Everything does not need to be discussed in the moment.
Remember, investing in relationships increases vulnerability which strengthens resilience to get through the tough times and makes each other feel cared for and less alone.