10 Practices for Happy and Fulfilling Relationships
We are wise enough to know that materialism is not the basis of happiness and peace. The basis of happiness is rather knowing that we are loved and accepted and in a similar manner to have people to love. That is to say, Relationships are the most important factors in our lives.
Still most of us, especially those living in the fast paced cities, are suffering from chronic imbalance in our lives. Imbalance in life comes from stress and low (and sometimes no) emphasis on our relationships. When we think of relationships, a plenty of them come to mind: siblings, spouse, friends, relatives, extended families, colleagues, customers and so forth. What about our relationship with self?
You are the most important person in your life
Emphasis! of all the relationships we are born with or we make, the most important is the relationship with self. All of us carry our universe around ourselves. I, me, myself, my – perhaps these are the most used words. When self is the most important person in our lives, then how is it that we can choose to not-to-be-in-harmony with self? The next question I ask is how do I relate better with self? To help myself understand myself better, I ask myself some questions:
The questions we should ask
What is my ultimate goal in life?
What is and who is important to me?
What is it that gives me maximum contentment?
What is it that is my strength?
What is it that I fear?
What is it that I need to develop to move closer to my goals?
Am I spreading happiness around?
What am I doing for the people I care about?
Am I making a positive difference to somebody’s life?
It seems easy on the surface, but these are the most difficult questions to answer. People spend their entire life and they realize in the end that they were never related to themselves as much as they were related to their work and their responsibilities. The importance of this emphasis on relating with self can be very easily summarized by quoting Oscar Wilde –
I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.
Who are the significant others in our relationships?
The other important relationships are the ones we have with the significant others. Who are these significant others? These are the people who have maximum impact upon the way we are and our life is. These are spouse, parents (extended parents as well), siblings and children. Besides them, the significant other can be any person who affects us heavily such as teachers and friends.
Important ingredients to successful relationships
So what do we do to establish harmonious relations with all these important people? To be honest it is no herculean task.
There are some important ingredients to successful relationships and most of us are aware of them. For the sake of summary, these are:
Communicating It Right
Two important powers are to be understood for communicating successfully viz. power of listening without judgement and power of active expression. Communication skills does not mean the right to speak incessantly using fancy words from the dictionary. It is rather the ability to express clearly and also to listen attentively. We all are mostly victims of our own perceptions and prejudices. We must overcome these and learn to listen to the other without judging them all the time. This also makes the other person more comfortable to be authentic in their expression. Also, it is equally important to raise a concern or offer a praise then and there. There is no benefit in bottling up your negative or positive feelings.
The right moment once lost is gone forever.
Mutual Freedom of Expression
It is very important to keep space for honest expression includes constructive criticism without being afraid of damaging the relationships. This calls for a reasonable level of individual growth and maturity in the relationship.
The partners must resolve to solve one problem at a time and solving it without being biased by past problems. We must fight fair. We often try to win an argument or try to get what we want by making the other one feel guilty, say for example bringing up some past failure of the other partner. Resorting to such unfair practices, you might win battle but lose the war eventually. Don’t break the other one, build them.
Be mindful. Are you breaking them up or being a channel of growth and development for them. Help them be better.
Our culture teaches us a lot about compromise and we do a lot. Compromise is a necessary evil. But I must say that it should come from within and not be forced on self. As a halfhearted or unwilling compromise can strike back like a boomerang.
Sense of Humor
Nothing is as impactful as well-timed humor. Who doesn’t like to laugh? Would it be easy to stay angry with the other ones when they are being goofy? Wouldn’t it not? Laugh and make the other one laugh. Don’t just communicate the problems and learn to laugh with the others even if it means sometimes laughing on your own self. This also makes you self-assured.
Forgiving and Acknowledging Mistakes
Although its difficult but we must forgive without being boastful. Acknowledging our mistakes cures half of the problems.
Self-awareness and Self-enhancement
It is important to know self. And it is more important to act for enhancing self. It is no hidden mystery that diagnosis of the disease is not cure, but curing is.
Appreciating others (and self too) for a deed done good is far better than rebuking for a mistake.
Like begets like.
It is important to acknowledge other’s efforts even if they are not that successful.
Genuine Intent in every relationship
However, the most important is the genuine intent to do all this. We must not forget that the intent reflects in the body language. It is quite evident that all the above mentioned factors are impossible if there is no Honesty and no Faith. Also, these are impossible to achieve if we don’t give regular time to others and to self, such as – time to self to sleep properly, time to self to think about, time to self to pursue interests, time to significant others to build and enhance relationships.
Every relationship that we are either born into or we make by choice, is an opportunity to overcoming our imperfections through the practice of love and compassion. Let us grab that opportunity and give it all we got.
Happy relating !
Love and Light,
Punam for Spiritual Punditz
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