Spring Cleaning Your Relationships
Most of us don’t have the time and energy to address every “needs-not-met” interaction with every important person in our lives.
So what happens to those interactions that we don’t process completely?
In my experience, there are two main possibilities (which may occur in combination):
- We “get over them”
Perhaps we realize that we were just hungry, or tired, or stressed. After a meal and a good night’s sleep, if we think of the issue, there are no negative thoughts or emotions.
- We make up a story about the other person, the relationship, or ourselves – usually a negative story.
Such as “They are inconsiderate” or “They don’t care about me as much as… [golf / their work / some other person in their lives].”
Or “I can’t my needs met in this relationship”.
Or “I’m selfish”, “I should be more understanding”, or “My needs don’t matter”.
The second option is particularly damaging to our relationships because, being efficient creatures, having made up a story to explain a negative interaction, we tend to recycle / reuse the same story over and over again, especially in the same relationship.
Each time we use a story to explain a negative interaction to ourselves, it is like adding a brick in a wall between the other person and ourselves.
It is amazing to me how quickly I can build a wall that separates me from the other person – cutting me off from the full sense of connection and aliveness in that relationship.
The good news is that it is never too late to clear the wall.
The better news is that it generally takes less energy to clear the wall than it did to build it in the first place.
Because unlike physical bricks, story bricks are connected. When I clear one story brick, it automatically also removes all the connected bricks.
The Spring Cleaning Process
To spring clean a relationship:
- Pick the relationship you’d like to work on.
I like to choose the one that’s bugging me the most.
- Identify your negative thoughts about that relationship.
- Unlock your unique “secret recipe” to satisfaction that those messages are giving you, and shift your energy from negative to positive – so you are in a more powerful place from which to create connection and change.
The Master Level 1 process – Find Peace and Power in Any Situation – is especially designed to help you do this. Click here for more information (opens in a new window).
- Identify how to move forward in a way that meets ALL your needs. One of the biggest barriers that most of us have in relationships is that we bounce back and forth between very different strategies – for example, “letting things go” for a while, and then complaining about something we really don’t enjoy.
We do this when we don’t know how to find strategies that meet all of our needs – for example, our needs for peace and ease on the one hand, and our need for understanding and support on the other.
The Master Level 1 process includes a formula you can use to get yourself out of this dilemma – so you can address problems in a way that they stay addressed. It’s a really great deal!
- If your unique way forward includes one or more conversations with the other person, use tools and techniques such as from the Master Level 2 “Effective Dialogue” course to help ensure those conversations achieve the most satisfying result possible, with the least amount of time and effort. Click here to learn more about this one-on-one personalized course (opens in a new window).
Even though I’ve done it dozens of time, I never believe it’s going to work this time. At the beginning, it feels like I’m just “going through the motions” – that not much can change in that particular relationship.
It’s like the miracle of spring coming to the relationship. Twigs that seemed dead and lifeless start to show buds and then burst into colourful, blooming life.
Connection, warmth and laughter are restored. Caring springs freshly alive in my own heart, and I can feel its warmth coming from the other person.
Is there a relationship that seems to have gone downhill?
That’s not as easy or satisfying as it once was?
I invite you to consider giving it a spring cleaning.
Because I want your life to be as fully satisfying as it can be.
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Would you like some help?
Just as we often benefit from an extra pair of hands when we’re doing physical spring cleaning, having some outside assistance can also be really valuable when doing relationship spring cleaning.
I enjoy supporting people in this way.