Human Relations Are Beautiful

Human relations are complex and beautiful. Though people and their behavior is unpredictable yet they bring happiness most of the time in our life. We cherish the memories with our people and they certainly make our life worth living.

Our whole life directly or indirectly revolves around people from our birth till our last breath.

Human beings are the biggest source and contributor of energy, learning, affection, inspiration, recreation and communication for everyone. That’s why they are referred as “social beings”. Therefore, we can easily say that all our wants, needs, dreams and desires get fulfilled by people around us. Thus, we study, play, joke, talk, eat, work, ride, enjoy, party or go out with our friends, companions, colleagues, class mates, acquaintances, cousins, family. These people could subsequently become our teacher, mentor, guide, coach and philosopher at some point of time.

From times immemorial till this era of Millennium, nothing has really changed when talk about our social preferences. We are constantly engaging with people, thereby spending a significant amount of time with them on daily basis. And without any doubt, our “near and dear” ones are incredibly with us during our good and bad times. Further, let me take pride in saying that we celebrate all festivals, joyous moments, birthday celebrations enthusiastically with our lovely people. In short, their sheer presence during crisis situation provides us immense strength to fight any difficult situation or recover from the worst health complications. Thus, they motivate us to give our best even in the most stressful times. It sounds funny but true that even while dreaming, we are most of the time engaging with our people.

If people were so important to all of us, then why the hell do we condemn them or their behavior? Why do we get hurt and hurt them too? Why do we ridicule them by calling these very people complex creatures with unpredictable behavior? Why do we curse them or humiliate them?

To answer the above questions and as per my thought process, we should not generalize a behavior to conclude or form a perception from few unpleasant experiences, situations or interactions.

So, what do we do? The best we could do is to always analyse a situation through “occurrence test of reality” model. This test assesses a person and his character along with measuring his credibility by going through his past record while he had interacted with you some time in the past. Assuming, he has supported you more than fifty per cent of the time in the past. This percentage implies that he is definitely a well-wisher and only last few times, he has not been able to support you. And this change in his behavior last few times could be due to an uncontrolled circumstance at his end. This could also be due to his inability to do so on account of his changing priorities or commitments. So, this change could be a transient phase and might get over soon.

A matured person therefore could at times ignore or forget such a recent behavior than taking it personally and showing his resentment. Least he is expected to do is bitching about that person or feeling shattered with the changed behavior. To put it in a perspective, give this person a benefit of doubt once. And do remember, we as human beings do forget several things on lot of occasions.

Further, let us discuss about another issue observed in most of the relationships. Most often, as our relationship evolves, there is a whole lot of expectation burden surrounding it. As a result, this burden starts bothering our relationship, thus leading to numerous quarrels, misunderstandings and bitter feelings.

A sensible person should minimize his expectations as increasing expectations could turn beautiful relationship into unnecessary trouble. Further, please note reciprocation in any relationship is important but it should not create obstacles in a healthy relationship with boggling expectations.

Few important take away could be: Empathizing with your near and dear ones and extending our support unconditionally can work wonders thereby sowing seeds of a platonic relationship. Another take away is not reacting immediately and aggressively to hated arguments, nasty messages, sensitive points. Keeping it for another time could actually save our relationships from getting ruined for ever.

Further, there could be occasions when you continue to get perturbed by your near and dear ones changing behavior or you experienced his behavior has become negative towards you. In this case, the most preferred thing would be to speak candidly to the concerned person than keeping it within yourself and waiting for a later date in future.

Be precise, transparent and courageous to communicate your feelings. Feel free to elaborate as to how his changing behavior is affecting you.

As a rule, eliminate the scope of any negative feelings, traits and emotions in a relationship. It is not at all advisable being fake, dishonest, hypocrite, suspecting, being possessive, jealous in a healthy relationship.

Respect and value all your relationships. They are an integral part of our life. At the same time, let’s also accept that relationships could go through ups and downs of life. Every single day, you have to invest your time and positive energy for them to evolve and succeed. Being honest always helps in building a robust friendship.

Last but not the least. Remember relationships could become more giving, loving, interesting, fulfilling provided we value them, respect them and work towards nurturing them. Long lasting relationships should be truly progressive than turning regressive and suffocating with time. I love my Life and all the wonderful people who have made my life so beautiful. Relationships in my life have transformed my life miraculously and made my life more livable.

Life Is What You Make Of It

It always amazes me how some people with disabilities make so much of their lives. Think of injures solders who have lost limbs and other paralympians. Or people who are blind and deaf or in other ways compromised.

Many of these people besides getting on with their lives, despite their adversity are often happy cheerful people, eager to help others.

Do you make the most of your life, are you happy and positive most of the time. Is your cup half full or half empty? do you notice sunsets with delight, enjoying the beautiful colours of the sky? O a rainbow, or the glorious rays of a sunrise creeping above the horizon. Or maybe the cozy heat of the fire on cold winter nights.

Or do you let set-backs or odd aches and pains get you down? My aged mother in her nineties is crippled with arthritis, she is losing her sight and is stone deaf. She is also living with tinnitus and is not so good on her feet but she lives alone in her flat and goes shopping with help and takes care of herself needing little help. Best of all she is always laughing, the slightest thing amuses her.

A few years ago she decided she was going to make the most of her life and stop being miserable when things got her down. The habit of finding sunshine in the darkest clouds has turned her life around. It is a joy to visit her.

I have had a difficult two years with illness and did let it get to me, I found it hard after a lifetime of excellent health to adapt and accept impairment. However I have decided this is the year nothing will stand in my way again! I will again work my hobby business raising it from the ashes.

I will also publish my book that has been languishing for months in a nearly finished state, I will get fit again, learn a language – supposed to protect one from dementia, and best of all start dancing again in the Spring!

Do you have things you would love to do, hobbies you would love to start, places you long to visit. Have you always wanted to start a business and earn some extra cash?

Can Someone Put Up With Controlling Behaviour When They Are Emotionally Dependent?

When two people are in a relationship, they can continue to express who they are and to fulfil their own needs. As a result of this, their time together will have a positive effect on both of them.

There will be the effect that this has on their relationship, and there will be the effect that this has on other areas of their life. There will then be no need for them to feel trapped and as though they are being held back.

Two Parts

There will be the time that they spend together, along with the time that both of them spend away from each other. Said another way, they are both going to have their own life in addition to the life that they share with each other.

Neither of them is going to act as though they are simply an extension of the other, and this will show that they have good boundaries. Through having boundaries, they will be able to share who they are without losing themselves.

An Individual

And as each of them has their own needs and feelings, this is going to allow them to express their true-self. Ultimately, they won’t be in a relationship because they no longer want to live their own life.

It is through maintaining their sense of self, that the relationship will have a positive effect on both of them. The reason for this is that one of them won’t have to ignore what is taking place within them and to completely focus on the other person.

Two Adults

One person is not going to see the other as someone who is there to save or rescue them; they will realise that they are both responsible for their own life. Being together will allow them to become aware of what they need to heal within themselves, and the experiences they have together will allow them to grow and develop.

If, on the other hand, this wasn’t the case, it would be a relationship that is there to serve a different purpose. One could feel like a child emotionally and, therefore, see the other person as a parental figure.

A Conscious Relationship

This would mean that one is not willing to face how they feel; they just want someone to take their pain away. Yet, when one is in a relationship that is there to serve a different purpose, this won’t interest them.

They will realise that the only person who can deal with what is taking place within them is themselves. This will also stop them from expecting too much from the other person, thereby making it easier for their partner to be themselves.

Stepping Back

When two people are in a relationship like this, it could be said that they will be free. One person is not going to neglect themselves just to be with the other person; this is not going to interest them.

But while there will be relationships out there that are similar to this, there are also going to be relationships out there that are based on control. In some cases, one person will be in control and the other person will be like a slave.

A Pattern

If one was to find themselves in a relationship like this, where they are being controlled, it could be the first time it has happened. Then again, it could be something that has happened on more than one occasion.

They could be with someone who tries to control just about every area of their life; it could seem as though they need their permission in order to do anything. But even though this is going to stop them from being able to express themselves, it doesn’t mean that they will walk away.


Not only could they find it hard to understand why this is, but the people around them could also find it odd. That is, of course, if one doesn’t see themselves as a victim and believes that their partner has all the control.

If they do have this outlook, there is going to be no reason for them to wonder why they don’t walk away – this won’t be something that even crosses their mind. What could become clear, if one was to think about what would happen if they were to leave, is that it would be even more painful.

The Lesser Of Two Evils

Being with this person will cause them to suffer, but they could believe that this is not as bad as it would be if they walked away. What this may show is that one finds it hard to handle their own emotions.

Putting up with someone who is so controlling can then be a way for them to stop themselves from being overwhelmed. Thus, the reason they need to be with someone who is so controlling is due to the fact that their emotions are so out of control.

The Scaffolding

This is then comparable to how an unstable building will need external support to stay in place. Without this understanding, it would be easy to say that someone like this is just a victim and there is truly nothing that they can do.

On the surface, it will be clear that this is not having a positive effect on them, but at a deeper level, it will serve a purpose. One will then have traded their freedom for security, with freedom being something that is too painful for them to handle.


What this is likely to show is that one is carrying trauma, and this could be the result of what happened to them when they were younger. This may have been a time when they were abused and/or neglected.

If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, it might be a good idea for them to reach out for external support. This can be provided by a therapist or a healer.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand six hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

Four Basic Steps to Biblical Reconciliation

RECONCILING moments, situations, conflicts and relationships is the major life task. None of us is immune to the hurts that come so frequently with ferocity in life. Yet, when we show we can overcome these hurts using a tried-and-tested method that is easily learned, and practiced with persistence, we find we have overcome our world in Jesus’ name (see John 16:33).

Here is a biblical four-step process of movements, an established wisdom, for the reconciliation of relationships:


Looking upward in conflict is learning that the first step is the goal of glorifying God.

As we started to look up, finding ourselves appropriately positioned to do the next three steps, we committed to continuing to look up. God’s Holy Spirit works miracles from this position of our heart.


Looking inward is about making our best self-assessment regarding what my contribution to the conflict is. We get the log out of our own eye, to use Jesus’ own words (Matthew 7:3-5). We establish a desire to work out what our unmet demands were. Before we approach the other person. Because if we’ve got something to apologise for, we go to the other person in the conflict in a state of sustainable humility.

The other person won’t listen to us unless we’ve owned our part of the conflict.


Having readied ourselves to apologise for what we did wrong or failed to do, we go outward to the other person, who generally reciprocates – if they see we’re sincere in simply owning our fault. If they still don’t own their part of the conflict we do not yet have reconciliation. They may need time or they may never reciprocate. All in God’s timing, which we’re blessed to accept. Whatever they do, we have glorified God all-the-more in being honest about our contribution, being prepared to leave it at that, in faith. And yet if there is reciprocation, we have the last step in view.


Looking onward to a future bulging with hope, reconciliation as a vision is achieved when both parties have reckoned the results of conflict and have redeemed their contributions. Parties can indeed then look onward as trust between them is enhanced.


Reconciliation first looks upward (GOD),

then inward (MY sin),

then outward (YOUR sin),

then onward (US loved).

Is Guilt Impacting Your Relationships and? If So, How You Can Stop It?

GUILT is a bounty for the addicted, yet guilt, if anything, is the common addiction. The question is, how do we cut it from our lives?

The real problem with guilt in our lives is that it causes us to act in ways that hinder our relationships.

Whether we know it’s guilt or not is another thing. We either don’t know how to get out of the cycle of dysfunction or we don’t seem to care. The way we usually deal with relational brokenness is to minimise responsibility for our actions and blame others for theirs. This only further distances us from others, decreasing the potential present to improve our relationships, which further contributes to our burden of guilt, when we finally do either face the truth or take the hostility to heart. Do you see a cycle there?

Just about everything about life that’s lived in the bad has a vicious cycle about it.

The challenge before us, therefore, is to be honest about the role guilt has in our lives, and submit it for expulsion. It is about identifying the areas we harbour guilt and eradicating it.

If we’re guilty for what we put our parents through, guilt will convict us to continue seeking their approval. The opposite reality is the parent who enables their entitled child, who never feels guilt, which is in fact the opposite problem. Indeed, that’s a question we all need to ask; if I act out of guilt in any particular relationship, how could this person be intentionally or unintentionally manipulating me? Of course, there may be, and usually is, no manipulation in reality; though, we may feel manipulated, and this is often more an issue for us than it is for them. See how guilt twists things? See how our guilt can make us see others in ways that are untrue? See how guilt can cause us to perpetuate untruth?

Guilt will always cause us to act in ways that seem unnatural, unbalanced and uncomfortable. But we tolerate those feelings because we feel it is necessary to bargain our way out of feeling we did wrong, or to make some recompense.

What we can do is a simple audit. Are there any people with whom I feel guilty to or for? Ask it another way. Is there anyone I feel I owe?

The irony here is the relationships worth nurturing are those we have with people who don’t hold us ransom to blackmail. We may owe them in real ways, but once the debt is paid we are free. There are no strings attached.

Why Are Some People Emotionally Dependent On Their Partner?

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for someone to say that they need to be with another person in order to feel complete. Yet, even if they don’t say this explicitly, their behaviour could say this implicitly.

Popular Culture

When it comes to films, music and TV shows, this is a theme that is often played out in one way or another. Someone is then not a whole human being; they are missing part of themselves.

And the part that they need is to be found in another person, which is why they will need to find the right person. At the same time, there is also another dynamic that is common, and this is where someone comes across as though they are needless.

One Extreme to the other

This person can create the impression that they are their own island and that they don’t need anyone. So, unlike the person who is needy, they will present themselves as being strong and capable.

Nevertheless, although this person can appear to be more evolved than the other person, it doesn’t mean that this is actually the case. In reality, it could be a sign that they feel ashamed of their own needs.

A Strong Need

With that aside, if someone doesn’t feel whole it is going to be normal for them to look for another person to complete them. Also, this could be seen as the truth as opposed to something that they believe.

If they are single, then, a lot of their energy is likely to be directed towards finding someone to be with. From the outside, it could be as if they are a child who has been left by their parents.

A Struggle

This person might still be able to go to work and function relatively well, but it doesn’t mean that they will be able to perform at their best. Their need to be with someone could still consume their mind.

Alternatively, one might not be able to function unless they are with someone. This is likely to give them an even greater need to find someone to be with.

Another Experience

Conversely, one might do everything they can to make sure that they don’t end up by themselves, when a relationship comes to an end. Thus, even if one is in a relationship, they could have a number of other people on the sidelines.

Or, they could start seeing someone else before the relationship they are in comes to end. In general, this will stop them from having to experience too much pain.

The One

When they meet someone who they are attracted to, the experience they have could be similar to how a child feels when one of their parents appear (that is if this parent treats the child well, of course). Up until this point they may have felt empty, but now they will probably feel complete.

What will play a big part here will be brain chemicals that are released during this time, with these chemicals making them feel as though they have been taken to another planet. One could then come to believe that they are in love.

Separation Anxiety

As a result of this, there is a strong chance that one will find it hard to spend time away from this person. When they are with them everything could seem perfect, but when they are away from them, they could be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety.

Due to this, it might not take long before they move in with the other person, or until the other person moves in with them. And as they come across as needy and weak, the person they are with will probably come across as strong and powerful.

The Centre of Their World

One is going to feel like an empty human being, and this is why they are dependent on someone else. Their happiness, safely and survival will be seen as something that is in their partners hands.

It can be hard to comprehend why the other person would be interested in someone who is so needy and dependent, yet they are also likely to find it hard to be by themselves. The image that they present to the world – of being strong and having it all together – is likely to hide how weak and vulnerable they feel on the inside.

What’s going on?

One way of looking at this would be to say that it is love; another way of looking at it would be to say that this is what happens when someone is carrying trauma. This trauma is going to be what is stopping them from feeling like a while human being.

The reason they are carrying trauma is likely to be due to what took place when they were growing up. At this time in their life, they may have been abused and/or neglected, and this would have stopped them from getting what they needed to develop in the right way.


The parts of themselves that they haven’t realised end up being displaced onto the people they end up with. One then looks like an adult, but they view other people through the eyes of the wounded child that is within them.

If one received the care that they needed as a child, they would feel like an interdependent human being. But as this didn’t take place, and they haven’t worked through the trauma within them, they feel like a dependent child.


If one can relate to this, and they want to embrace their inherent wholeness, they may need to reach out for external support. This can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

Why Do Some People Always Try To Fix Others When They Open Up?

It is often said that the best thing that someone can do for another person, when they are going through a challenging time, is to simply be there for them. So, when one is in the other person’s presence, it will be vital for them to be completely present.

No Agenda

This means that one is not doing anything, they are simply being in the moment. One can then let go and not have to worry about whether or not this person’s life will change or get better.

What this can also show is that one believes that this person is capable of sorting out their own life, and that it is not their reasonability to ‘fix’ them. Through being this way, it is likely to show that one has good boundaries.

A Clear Line

One will know where there they begin and end, and where other people begin and end. As a result of this, it is going to stop them from trying to define how other people live their life.

In this context, one will realise that it is not down to them to tell the other person what they should do. This will also allow them to treat the other person as an adult, as opposed to a powerless child.

A Reflection

And, if one doesn’t treat other people as though they are missing something, it is likely to show that they feel comfortable in their own skin. One will probably understand – at a deeper level – that their value is not based on what they do.

Therefore, the reason why they don’t see the other person as being incapable is due to the fact that they don’t see themselves in this way. Still, this doesn’t mean that one won’t do anything for them if they are asked.

A Huge Difference

When this happens, one is not giving unsolicited advice; they are being asked to give their advice. One is then going to be coming from a different place, which means that their advice will be presented differently.

The other person is likely to feel as acknowledged, and as though one values and respects them. And if they are going through a tough time, there is a strong chance that this is exactly how they want to feel in their presence.

A Rare Occurrence

It could be said that the above scenario is the ideal; even so, this is not something that always takes place. In a lot of cases, there is a far greater chance that someone will be told what to do.

Someone can find out that another person is going through a tough time and it can be as though they are some kind of superhero. It is not going to be possible for them to lend an ear, so to speak, as they will have to use their mouth.

One Intention

Their ears won’t have a purpose, at this point, and one’s main aim will be to do what they can to fix this person. This whole process will be about doing, not being, which means that one is not going to take the time to tune into what the other person is going through.

In a way, one won’t see the other person as an individual; they will see them as an extension of themselves. One might not know where they begin and end, and where other people begin and end.

Two Factors

When one has the need to ‘fix’ others, it can be due to at least two reasons. Firstly, this can be a sign that one believes that their value is defined by what they do and not by who they are.

Consequently, if one doesn’t solve someone else’s problems, they are likely to feel bad about themselves. Secondly, seeing another person is pain can remind them of their own pain.

Caught Up

If they were to take a step back and no longer tried to solve other people’s problems, they might end up being overwhelmed by their own pain. It is then as if one is trying to clean their window by cleaning their neighbour’s window.

This is, of course, a complete waste of time. Clearly, the only way that one will be able to solve their own problems is by fixing them directly, not by trying to solve others people’s problems.

Two Benefits

Focusing on their own issues will be more painful in the short-term, but it will make their life a lot better in the long-term. Not only this, the people who they come into contact with are more likely to appreciate their company.

Instead of feeling as though their boundaries are not being respected and that they are not being heard, for instance, they will be able to feel respected, valued, and heard. The only thing that one will have done for this to take place is to be completely present; nothing more, nothing less.


If one believes that their value is based on what they do, there is the chance that their upbringing set them up to believe this. This may have been a time when they had to fulfil their caregiver’s needs.

But regardless of why this is, if one has the tendency to try to fix others and they want to change their life, it might be a good idea for them to reach out for external support. This can be provided by a therapist or a healer.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

Why Do Some People Expect Their Partner To Meet All Of Their Needs?

If a few hundred people were asked about what the purpose of an intimate relationship is, there is likely to be more than one answer. For some people, being in an intimate relationship could be a way for them to fulfil their basic needs, to have someone to share their life, and to grow.

When someone has this outlook, it could show that they don’t feel as though they are missing something. Another person is then not there to complete them; they are there to complement them.

A Companion

And as they feel like a whole human being, there is a strong chance that they will be drawn to people who feel the same way. One is then going to have a clear idea of where they begin and end, and a clear idea of where other people begin and end.

This will allow them to realise that other people are not an extension of them, which will play a part in allowing them to see that it is not possible for another person to meet all of their needs. There will the needs that they can meet and then there will be the needs that they can’t meet.

The Right Tool for the Job

This is then going to be no different to how someone wouldn’t expect a screw driver to bang in a nail or to cut a piece of wood, for instance. They will have a number of tools that will be used for different jobs.

In the same way, there will be a clear understanding that they would be putting their partner under too much pressure if they were to look towards them to fulfil every need. Doing so could be seen as something that would end up destroying their relationship with someone.

Both Ways

One could think about how they would feel if another person expected them to fulfil all of their needs. If they were to do this, they could end up feeling smothered and overwhelmed.

Perhaps one has even been in this position in the past, and this might have caused them to feel as though they were the other person’s parent. Alternatively, one might have expected too much from others in the past.

For Example

Even though there could be a number of things that one can have in common with someone, there are bound to be things that they don’t have in common. This may mean that one of them will need to reach out to a friend instead.

Also, at times one might not be able to be there for the other person emotionally or vice versa, and one of them will need to reach out to a friend or a family member. Through reaching out to others in this way, there will be far less pressure on their relationship.

Another Outlook

There are then going to be other people who believe that the purpose of a relationship is to be with someone who will always be there for them. Not only this, but this person will be expected to fulfil just about every need that they have.

So, although another person is an individual with their own needs and feelings, it will be as though they are just an extension of them. Therefore, it might not be acceptable for them to have their own life.

The Centre of the Universe

If they are with someone, they might not want them to spend time around others or to have other interests. The reason for this is that one could feel lonely, or as though they have been rejected.

On one level, one could believe that the other person’s life needs to revolve around them and, if it doesn’t, it could be taken as a sign that they don’t love them. The more one pushes the other person, the more they could pull away.

Out of Balance

In the beginning of the relationship, the other person might be willing to put up with this kind of behaviour. This could be because they will appreciate the attention, and it could show that they also feel as though they are missing something at a deeper level.

One is then going to be an adult, but they will be behaving more like a dependent child. The only way that someone like this is going to be able to have a healthy relationship with another person is if they feel like an interdependent adult.

A Deeper Look

If someone like this was to take a step back, they may find that they are unable to view their partner as another human being. Instead, they see them as some kind of parent figure.

When someone expects a lot from other people as an adult, it can show that they didn’t get what they needed as a child. With this in mind, there is the chance that one experienced a lot of neglect.

A Lot of Power

One’s physical appearance would have changed as the years went by, but what wouldn’t have changed was how they felt on the inside. The wounded child within them will still be looking to receive what it didn’t receive all those years ago.

Another way of looking at this would be to say that when one expects another person to fulfil every need, they will be identifying with their wounded inner child. The key, then, will be for them to heal this part of themselves.


If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, it might be a good idea for them to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by a therapist or a healer.

And as one begins to grieve their unmet childhood needs, they may find that they no longer need as much from others. Along with this, the adult part of them will be able to be there for their inner child.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

5 Feelings We Hate Feeling

ACCEPTANCE, understanding, appreciation, inclusion, and being valued; all states of feeling we crave for in a social world. But the world is also a harsh place where we all get to experience the opposites of these five states of feeling.

Five feelings we hate feeling:

1. We hate feeling rejected – the feeling of rejection is akin to abandonment, which speaks of the absence of care and/or conditionality in love. If a person needs to do something specific to be loved, they quickly discover they’re not worthy of love on their own terms. Acceptance on the other hand is about unconditional love.

2. We hate feeling misunderstood – this was a particular weakness I had that I felt quite vulnerable about – until I met a biblical counselling professor who suffered the same weakness. I discovered we all suffer it to some degree. None of us like it when people assume they know us or understand us when they don’t. Understanding a person is one of the quickest ways of building intimacy in the relationship.

3. We hate feeling unappreciated – everyone does things that are appreciable. Being recognised, or having our work recognised, is important. When others are recognised and we are not we cannot help noticing the partiality. Appreciating people for the small things they do is a great way to elicit respect.

4. We hate feeling excluded – like feeling rejected, not being included sends a clear message we’re not good enough. The Pharisees loved their exclusivity. And anyone playing the same game reveals their insecurity. Note the paradox: the insecure exclude others, making them feel insecure, to feel better and more secure about themselves. Secure people on the other hand have no problems including others, especially the outliers.

5. We hate feeling undervalued – nobody is worthless, for all have supreme worth, but we can be made to feel worthless. It is good to discern those who have worth issues and find ways to truly value them.

The simple message is this: when it comes to other people accept them, understand them, appreciate them, include them, and value them.

Wherever possible, as far as it depends on us, we should surround ourselves with people who are about acceptance, understanding, appreciation, inclusion, and valuing people. Such people are breath, hope, light, and life.

The more we recognise the need of positive feelings in ourselves, the more we’re prepared to invest positive feelings into others’ lives.

Navigating Challenging Relationships Over the Holidays

The holidays are rapidly approaching and can be a time of joy and a chance to reconnect with family and friends. But for many it can also be a time of stress due to strained relationships, unhappy memories of the past, too much to do and not enough time to rest. In addition, there can also the feelings of disappointment or failure stemming from the expectation that our holidays should be “perfect” like those seen in movies, commercials and social media. Unfortunately, many families and friends are also experiencing strained relationships over the increasing polarization of views in the country today. The good news is there are several tools we can use to manage the holidays and difficult relationships this year.

Awareness is first!

Before the holidays begin, take time to think about what you would like to be different this year. Before we can plan, we need to become aware of what our goal is, so we can set up a way to work toward it. Be as specific as possible and list what you would ideally like from your relationships. The list can also include what you do not want to happen. As you make these lists, tune into how your mind and body are reacting. If thinking about visiting your in-laws makes your neck stiffen or if going to see your Aunt Jane makes you feel excited, write that down as well. Noticing cues can help us create a plan that will increase our enjoyment of the season.

Become curious about your reactions.

Now that you have made your list, become curious about what the positives and negatives are in the relationships you have examined. Asking yourself questions like “what exactly causes my neck to stiffen when think of visiting my in-laws?” can help with planning how to do something different. Tune into your feelings and notice what arises. Maybe you feel judged or criticized or maybe just disappointed because you have different expectations than those you are with at the time. Do certain people trigger negative reactions? Noticing will help you understand your unmet needs and negative feelings.

Examine your list and begin to plan.

By examining the lists, we can begin to challenge our assumptions. This will give us information about just how important things are and if we are doing them because we feel we “should” or because we want to do them. It can also help us to see what we value and how we can use our values to help us navigate tricky situations. If we feel physically ill when we visit certain people or filled with dread before going, is it necessary that we go. What would happen if we did not? If we feel we must go, is there a way we could do it differently? For example, is instead of going to a three-hour dinner at Aunt Jane’s while trying to manage your 2-year-old or getting drawn into a political debate, maybe we could stop in before dinner for a drink or go by for dessert. Good boundaries are essential for keeping relationships positive.

Plan for challenging situations! If we must visit people who we know will be challenging, consider using these strategies:

  • Plan to get plenty of rest before you go. When we are depleted it is harder to deal with difficult people. Even taking 5 minutes to rest in your car can be helpful.
  • Have an exit strategy when you have had enough and use it when you need to. Even if it is to go in another room and wash dishes it is better than remaining in a situation where you feel triggered.
  • Take a breathing break. Head into a quiet place and take 10 breaths. Allowing for this pause will help us respond instead of reacting in a habitual way.
  • Assume positive intention in others. Many misunderstandings start when we assume the other party has a negative intention. If they do, stay calm and respond in a kind but firm way that you are uncomfortable with their comment.
  • Model positive behavior. Steer clear of gossip, judgements and strong “my way or the highway” opinions to keep the interaction positive.

And finally reward yourself for your effort. Plan something fun to celebrate the steps you have taken to do something different this year!