Relationships are a major part of the human existence and having one is pretty much inescapable. While the depth of our connections with others may vary, they are nevertheless an important part of our lives. Often, the relationships we form with others are sources of joy. However, there are two sides to every coin and experiencing pain from time to time is a matter of certainty. When our most cherished relationships become challenging, it can feel as though our whole world just turned upside down. Usually, when difficulties arise our instinct is to blame the other person. However, blame may not the best route for getting things back on track. More often than not, what we really need to do is take a good hard look at ourselves.
Recently, I came across a wonderful article in Living Buddhism, a monthly journal I subscribe to, called “The Key to Happy Relationships.” The two paged article offered wonderful insight for how to improve the important connections we share with others. Being quite good, I must have read it at least three or four different times. Below is a list of ideas that I found helpful and noteworthy.
#1 The key to developing healthy, happy, and meaningful relationships is you.
#2 Happiness is not something someone else can give us. Only we can give this to ourselves.
#3 How we feel in response to another person’s actions is our responsibility. “It’s not the other person’s behavior but our experience and response to it that causes us to feel happy or unhappy.”
#4 Happiness is achievable when we make a commitment to our own personal development and realize our full potential as human beings.
#5 If we want to improve the quality of our relationships, then we must work to change and improve ourselves first. “When we change, the people around us respond to that change.”
#6 Relationships and our interactions with others are a reflection of ourselves. For example, if my relationships are negative or filled with strife, that is a reflection of my own internal state of life. So, when I change and become more positive, the people in my life respond to that change. In this way, my interactions with others become a more positive experience.
**This last point in my opinion is the most profound.
In the end, relationships provide wonderful opportunities for us to learn, grow, and improve ourselves.