Every Relationship will eventually be tested. It could be a disloyal friend, an untrustworthy spouse, or bad business partner. What do we do when those turbulent times hit? It can be tempting to “jump ship” but if you stick to certain core principles, your relationship will be stronger than ever.
Here are five principles to stabilize any rocky relationship:
Respect Don’t React
Reactivity means we are making decisions based on our mood, circumstances, or situations. Unless a rabid animal is about to attack you, reacting is not your best option. Instead, choose to respect yourself and all people involved in the feud. Remember your values and don’t sink to your lowest self just because the other party is. Respond to the other person based on your highest principles.
Understand Don’t Assume
Many of us assume way too much in our communication with one another. Instead of getting into a debate, assuming you really know what’s going on, slow down and try to understand yourself and the other party. Remember that information is power, so the more you understand, the more power you have. Instead of guessing how someone else feels when they say something, try to understand the meaning beneath the words. When we show others that we sincerely want to understand them on a deeper level, they will trust us more.
Attend Don’t Defend
Remember when someone is hurting, they don’t need you to abandon them, they need to know you love and care for them. In the end, defensive behavior doesn’t solve anything. No one will listen to your reasoning until they know that you actually care. Deeper needs include making others feel loved, capable, safe, and needed. Retreating contributes to fight or flight syndrome. Fight this urge. Attending means staying in the same space and helping the other party. You can’t influence others if you’re never in the same space as them.
Share Don’t Shame
You should always feel free to share your opinion, pain, and view of the situation. However, this doesn’t mean the other party will want to listen. If you want people to listen, you need to share your message in a way they want to hear it. Go slower, make it safer, and don’t attack. We don’t have to sink another’s view to elevate our own. Shame is where we make the other person feel unworthy. Instead talk about what they did, their actions, their words, and how they impacted you.
Serve Don’t Starve
When words no longer work, try service. Serving is a form of non-verbal communication. It’s something we all universally believe in. When you serve, you are becoming your best self. This may inspire others to let go of their ego and open a conversation with you. Starving those that hurt you by not giving of yourself will hurt others and yourself. Living the higher law of service is your only principled path forward.