Oh boy, this one is going to be fun! Sit back and just assume I'm sharing this because I want YOU to be happy!!! Okay, here goes...
Sitting at a table of women for lunch, and the conversation turned to one of the most difficult: How can I get along with my in-laws? Tough, right!? Behind that comment came a cascade of worthy reasons to hold some resentment toward this other person we didn't even know! And it only fueled the table as we heard the blow-by-blow account of a recent event!
What is interesting, or not, is how the other women rallied "support" by justifying the ill feelings. Bam, and that is how easy it is to deteriorate the potentially good relationship those two people could have! In defense of the these good women I love and appreciate, and of most women, rallying to defend the person present is the path of least resistance. It's what makes us feel like we've done our part! However, it is not the path of healing and lifting another to succeed. Actually, it leaves them more confused and frustrated, and possibly more fueled in negative juju.
I know a young woman who speaks very little or quasi-kindly in front of the in-laws. Behind their backs, you know, with the girlfriends and in the quietness with her spouse, she judges, verbalizes assumptions as truth, attaches negative labels to them and their actions, and conducts a type of whisper campaign to discredit them to her husband. This has been working so well that the parents have described name calling and labeling out of the blue. In return, the parents have distanced their selves, began criticism of their own, and ultimately they cannot seem to get through this. However, there is a way.
There are tools to begin getting along with others, even the hard to love! These tools work exceptionally well, but it requires three elements, which are: a desire to self-improve, some emotional restraint, and concise repentance. Not too good to be true! Here we go!!
- To change the path of harshness, it requires that YOU improve (I'm typing that with a gentle smile). Now, before you mentally take off with the, "You just don't understand..." comments, there is a caveat! You improving does not mean the other is not responsible! It does not mean they are not spewing their own poison into the world. What it means is that You are focusing on the power you have over, which is YOU! Yeah, it's that simple. Change the focus and you change the world, right!? Your desire to self-improve means to focus on your power over where you have power! And YOU DO HAVE POWER by-the-way!
- Emotional restraint is to pause, take a breathe (even in your mind), and to cast out the ill assumptions (even if all actions are leading that direction). It also means curiously asking a sufficient amount of questions to Know what was meant rather than assume. It also means, assuming the best and forgetting the rest. Are you still with me!?
- Concise repentance is to take responsibility for your ill feelings, your negative actions, and being responsible with how you show up. That might mean prayer, admitting a few things to yourself, and yep, it might even mean apologizing openly and pushing a restart button. You may even need to push that restart a few times before it takes hold for you. Again, this is where your power comes in.
Once you have those three traits etched on your heart, the following rules will ensure your path of success.
- Speak well of your in-laws: find the good, focus on the good, and if needed, shower your mind with the good about your in-laws. If needed, shower your mind with other good to avoid the internal argument.
- Encourage the relationship between the one you love and their family or their new family. Not in a passive-aggressive way, where you say something positive with something negative as the chaser, but simply encourage healing, connection, and inclusion with their family members.
- If you must vent, vent to someone who will listen, but not engage, and ensure it is someone who will expect you to return to speaking well of them.
Oh, I'm so excited about this. YOU have the ability to up your relationship game using these simple yet powerful tools!! May you be blessed, and share what happens. I will assume the best of your work!!
Karleen is a conflict resolution specialist sharing tips that work!
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