When I was originally assigned this topic, I assumed what most people do: this applies only to romantic relationships. It left me stuck. How could I write about something I don’t believe I’m an expert in? My relationships have never been saved because realizing always happened a little too late. My only real area of expertise is this, being too late.
So I put it off. I attempted but nothing came to mind. When thinking about it today, I realized I wasn’t asked to provide the tips to solving a couple’s issues through a therapy session. I was being asked how to save a relationship. Relationships are with everyone: family, friends, co-workers, and partners. Our lives revolve around these relationships. So how do we keep them? How do we make it through the breaking points?
I’m going to ask you this: how bad do you want it? How important is the person in front of you? I think the answer to that, the honest one you give to no one but yourself, determines what happens next in this situation.
I had to think about what happens in a conflict; how I choose to act when one occurs, and how I’ve seen those around me behave. I realize it’s the small things that end up cutting cords and never the big ones. Why? Because the big things are always held in. It’s never the big issues ending things; it’s a small thing that gets to be the tip of the iceberg.
Truth be told, we are people full of pride. We want to always be right, even when we’re wrong. I couldn’t even tell you why. It’s like we think we have the entire world figured out and no one else does. In reality, none of us have it figured out. We never will; all we can really do is try. Try to make it through with the people we love.
So how do you solve conflicts the right way? I’ll give you three of the hardest yet easiest steps in the world:
1. Swallow your pride.
2. Bottle nothing in, communicate and make your words mean something.
3. Listen to yourself, not your friends.
Now let me elaborate on them.
We’re human. Nothing more and nothing less. Humans are flawed and this means we are always capable of making mistakes. We’re allowed to be wrong. Sometimes, we’re even supposed to be. Every moment you grew didn’t come from being just right and successful, it came from trial and error. Ask yourself if the argument is worth it. Is being right more important than being happy?
I’m not a talker. There are a lot of people who aren’t. Maybe it’s because we feel our opinions don’t matter. This only gets you so far in life. When something bothers you, say it. Holding it in only makes you hold a grudge. It creates an unnecessary distaste towards someone. Communication really is the key to everything. Every relationship needs it. Think of how relationship starts: communication. It doesn’t work without it.
When in a tough situation, we run to our support group. We call our best friends and tell them what’s up so they feed us a line or two to feed our egos. My friends always tell me I’m right because I know if the roles were reversed, it’s what they want to hear from me. Don’t take the advice you want, take the advice you need. The right advice is in your heart 99% of the time. You want advice? You want to know what to do? Go to the person you’re trying to save. No one knows them better.
I asked before how bad you want this relationship. Now show me. Show me you want it, and what you’re willing to do for it. Words only mean so much, and for so long. No one wants empty ones. Words are our world, the key to language, how we communicate, and how we express ourselves. All of this, made up of words. Who are we to take away the power of the only thing we have to express who we are?
I can’t tell anyone the exact way to fix their issues. I could just tell them it’s a lot easier to try when you still can than it is to say “what if” when it’s all over. You never know when you’re going to make it to the last straw. So treat everyone and everything you have as if there is no room for anything but your best. In the end, if your best isn’t enough, nothing ever will be.
Featured photo credit: Nothing else matters/amira_a via flickr.com