Are you experiencing challenges in your relationships?: COVID-19 Series
Whether you are in a relationship, situation-ship, marriage or partnership, although COVID-19 has provided families with much needed quality time, I have found that many are suffering with the perception of "too much" time.
Generally, many of us don't realize how wrapped up we've become in a daily routine so until recently it was very hard to recognize how little time we spent with our loved ones.
If this time has done anything for us, it has certainly allowed us to realize that with only seeing our spouses a few hours a day (before and after work) and our children-if applicable (only after school) how LIMITED (small) those interactions were. It's surreal now that we are realizing how much time we spend working, maintaining bodies, managing households and children, and preparations made for the next day, and understanding how these tasks drastically reduce the amount of time spent with loved ones,children and significant others.
However, since we've been granted the gift of time due to COVID-19 (pay attention to verbiage and perception), many are discovering that they don't like their spouse, significant other/partner or children very much. Or maybe didn't realize how much their spouse, significant other/partner or children have evolved. And that of course being directly impacted by limited interactions.
Today though, I will help as much as I can with sharing tools to use during this time to increase the likability and effectiveness (quality) of your interactions with your spouse, significant other/partner or children.
HERE ARE TOOLS TO ASSIST WITH CHALLENGES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
In order to rectify the issues we have to identify them right? So first we need to exam the specific challenges you are having before we can explore the why. And let me quickly say that if you're mad you have to stay in the house for several more weeks, GET OVER IT. It's a reality. Stop taking your frustration for lack of comfort being at home on everyone else. It's not their fault.
Nonetheless, if you happen to find that you're increasingly annoyed and frustrated for no reason, if I had to guess, your problem is related to issues with ACCEPTANCE and EXPECTATIONS more than anything else.
What do I mean?
Well, you either have too many expectations, you are confusing expectations with standards, or you have a really big issue accepting your spouse (partner or children) as the individual they have evolved into, so step 1...
RELEASE THE EXPECTATION
For clarity, let me first establish the difference between standards and exceptions.
Expectations, by definition, are responses and/or behaviors that you desire, but have not communicated (assumptions). If you haven't read my post about life without expectations (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). I promise life get's much easier when you have fewer expectations.
Conversely standards are desired behaviors, but in order to set a standard you first have to establish/communicate it. Telling someone you just met that you are used to certain behaviors and don't wish to be treated anything short of what you are used to, is an example of establishing a standard.
Standards and expectations are both similar in that we anticipate and presume a certain behavior. Only difference is that standards are communicated and expectations are not. Expectations dance around in our heads until someone messes up and we lash out at them under the assumption that they read our thoughts and fully understand how we expected to be treated.
Expectations directly impact (trigger) frustration and anger.
So before you get mad at your spouse and your children, first consider if you have set expectations or standards in your home. Have you? Because if you have not, you should probably begin there. Only after standards have been establish can you set reasonable expectations.
And if that isn't enough, you should definitely work on taking more control over your responses as suggested in step 2...
RECLAIMING YOUR ENERGY
In the event you find that your kids are being kids and your husband's behavior has not been outside of the norm, yet you are easily angered and frustrated, you may need to do more than release those expectations, so be sure to read my post on owning your energy HERE.
It's about reclaiming your energy and understanding the reasons behind your anger. You'll find (if you apply the information in the post correctly) that anger is often misplaced and you can find healthier ways to address it to get back all the energy you spend being upset over matters you can not change!
Now if you've done all of that and you and your spouse are still at odds, it may be time to look at whether you and your spouse are compatible with one another, and if you and your spouse have issues with accepting one another, which takes us to step 3...
LOOKING AT COMPATIBILITY & ACCEPTANCE
COVID-19 only brought you to this step because now you are with your spouse, significant other/partner so much that you anticipate that they should act in a behavior that's pleasing to you. Many of you didn't realize before COVID-19 that you went into these marriages and partnerships expecting your partner to be what you wanted them to be. And or even made the assumption that he or she would "grow" to be everything that you want.
So what a lot of you are noticing is that NOTHING has changed. And it's not because your partner doesn't love you or want you to be happy. Nothing changed because you expected your partner to become something that they never would. Your focus was on "change" when it should have been on "acceptance".
Because of this, a lot of relationships are doomed before they even start.
Despite what many of us may think, compatibility is NOT only about having things in common. Compatibility by definition, thanks to Google, is the ability to coexist without conflict. The element of coexistence, with regard to compatibility, is often ignored, but it's the most important thing.
And I get that someone somewhere is saying well ideally we can coexist with those we have things in common with, yes that's true but that's not the meaning of the definition in its entirety.
So if you find that you and your spouse, significant other or partner are more at odds than you'd like to be, it may be time to consider if you and your spouse are still compatible.
"Because the ability to coexist without conflict is NOT possible without acceptance."-Audreyanna Garrett
And also consider the fact that just because you love someone doesn't mean you accept them. And those you don't accept, you can NOT coexist with.
It's really quite that simple. You just have to be willing to commit to doing the work, talking with your spouse, significant other/partner and agreeing to hear what they need from you (and visa versa) and either accepting him/her or agree to making changes that benefit you both.
It is also important to be able to receive your spouse's (significant other or partner) criticism. Understand that you may not be acting in a manner that is acceptable for him/her. Because a lot of the conflict in relationships (whether you choose to agree or not) start with lack of understanding spouse's (significant other or partner) needs and/or inability to accept one's spouse and his/her behavior.
If your spouse, significant other or partner is worth the discussion and change, do it. And if you find that post that discussion the best decision is to sever ties than do so, but either way once you make that decision, it's time for step 4...
Has your spouse (significant other or partner) made some recent choices or changes you don't agree with? Are you someone who thought you were past all of the issues you had, but you didn't actually process them? Maybe your spouse was out of sight out of mind, so you ignored the issue you had with him/her but now you are with them 24/7 and can't get it out of your mind. Or maybe the teenage child that you hardly saw you didn't realize you were still upset with him/her for past wrongdoings.
If this is you it's time to deal with those issues. If for no other reason than the fact that we give people power over our emotions when we do not forgive. We allow them to impact our mood, energy and peace without notice and at any moment.
It's time for some much needed internal processing work to understand the significance of and learn how to actually practice forgiveness. In turn you will be able to accept decisions in your past, move on from hardships and release anger from your past that resurfaces in your day to day activities.
And because this post is long enough as it is, I will briefly share the steps of forgiveness below.
Here are five steps in the art of forgiveness that everyone should know:
Step One: Release the Expectation
Step Two: Identify the Problem
Step Three: Take Ownership of Your Role
Step Four: Apologize for Your Role
Step Five: Acceptance
As you can see many of these steps we've discussed in this post and that is because it all really goes full circle.
But to read the act of forgiveness post entirely click HERE!
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