Hello everyone. Welcome back. Did you miss me? I hope you're loving the blog so far. I'm really enjoying writing them. What are you snacking on this week? Right now, I've got a bowl of fruit and a sandwich I'm working on. Are you ready? Grab a snack, a drink, maybe a nice blanket, and curl up. Here we go...
This week I wanted to touch base on something a little different. For the past 4 weeks, I've been talking about things being happy, having balance, our relationships etc. This week I wanted to talk about those closest to us. I think it's just as important to help those closest to us feel like they're being listened to and understood. As we know, people are complex creatures. We have layers, like onions or parfaits (yes that's a Shrek reference). As we discussed earlier, it's easy to get caught up in the identity of spouse, partner, parent, family, friend. It is still absolutely important to find your own happiness and harmony. What about those around us? Some of us are always surrounded by our loved ones, whether it be kids, spouse, partners, family, friends, etc. Do we know how to have hard conversations? Do we know how to really ask if they're doing ok?
My husband and I always liked to think that we're good communicators. For the first 8 years of us being together, 6 of those married, we had always been in that honeymoon phase. Even now we are. The last two years have been a bit different for a few different reasons. Some big things came up in our lives that we didn't necessarily expect. Some trauma happened on my end. These changes made us realize that we weren't as big of communicators as we thought. The last two years, although there's been difficult times, it's made us so much stronger. These situations/changes, made us better communicators. We absolutely flourished. We constantly learn new things about the other one. We watch tv shows that the other likes even though we may not. We ask about their day, really ask. Ask questions about personal things to the other. If one of us is feeling off or like they're not being validated, we share that with the other one. It can be hard sometimes. But it's necessary.
What are some things we can do to better communicate with our partners/spouse? Listen. Really listen. My anxiety ridden brain goes really fast. It jumps from one thing to another quick. I'll admit that sometimes I make the horrible mistake of listening just to answer in response. Sometimes I'm done with a topic before everyone else. As a people, we're always going from one task to another. It's hard to slow things down. But we can do it. When I talk to Don, sometimes I'm distracted. He can definitely tell. I do my best, to make sure I don't have distractions. I really sit down and listen. Sometimes it feels so good to just tell someone about your day. I'll admit that I can't understand half of the stuff he's saying when it comes to his techniques at work, but I do my best to follow along. I'll ask questions about things I can follow. He does the same for me. It feels so good to just be with someone in that moment and let them into your day, and have them let you into theirs. Ask a ton of questions! I can't stress this enough. People don't normally get upset if you do. People really like knowing that you're interested and really care. Be supportive of their passions. This is a HUGE one. As I've mentioned before, I have a small business that I've been doing for about 3 years now. That would have never gotten off of the ground if I didn't have the support from Don. He not only supports me, but he helps when whenever and however he can. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty and to tell me how it is. I support his passions too. He used to love to collect those pops. He would get so excited to tell me about ones he was looking at buying. I would listen and encourage him to get it. Now he has an enormous collection. He loves playing games on the computer. They're his self care. I encourage him to get a subscription and to play them. Knowing how important self care is, I want him to do it. I don't want him to feel unhappy or burnt out. The point is, we encourage the other to find their happiness. To find what feeds their souls. It's so important to back your partner/spouse. Support them. Make sure you're asking the hard questions. Make sure they know you're a safe place to be around and talk to. Ask them what they need. Ask how you can help. Make sure you work together as a team. A united front.
Our relationships with our kids are so very important. And they're hard. They're fun. They're scary. You get a whole range of emotions there. How can you ensure that your kids are really happy? Sure, you provide them with sustenance, shelter, clothing, nurture, make sure they get education, etc. What about other aspects? They have complex emotions, problems, uncertainties, changes etc. Are we asking them the right questions? Especially as they get older? Especially now during the pandemic? It's so important to sit down with kids and ask them how they're really doing. Ask what kinds of things they're going through right now. What can you do to help with anything that's going wrong for them. You may be surprised of what you hear. When we went to therapy, the therapist had suggested to ask, "What can I do as your mom, to help you? What do you think I could do different/better as your mom?" I tried it, and I was amazed at the answer. My youngest asked me to play with her more. My son asked me to work on business a little less, and sit down with him and spend more time together. Whoa! I always feel so overwhelmed with business, work, now homeschool. That was loud and clear. So I've been doing my best to change the amount of time I spend on that. I'll adjust hours a bit. I'll make sure I'm spending time with them every day. I slip, just like in other aspects. But I always wake up and try again. I'm going to be asking them this on a regular basis. I'm sure their answers will change, but I'll never stop asking. I encourage everyone to. Let them tell you what they need. Just like with spouses/partners, show interest in what their interests are. I was just listening to songs with my kids over the holidays, and found that some of the the songs I like that I haven't heard in years, they like too. I even heard some of the newer stuff that they like, and I've never heard. But I liked it too. It may seem small, but it counts.
Our relationships with our family and friends are some very important ones. They can be some our closest relationships. Some of our family we may have a hard time tolerating, but that's ok. That may seem harsh to some, but let me stress something. If you have family that are toxic and those relationships are bad for you, it's more than ok to not have a relationship with them. People will tell you that it's your family and you need to talk/spend time etc. You don't. Hopefully you have some family that you really are close with and have amazing bonds. Hopefully you have friendships like that too. Spending quality time with these people is so important. It's a bit hard with COVID right now, but people are getting creative. Have video chats, phone calls, texts, snap chats, etc. Reach out and ask how their day is going. Ask how they're doing. What's on their minds. Show interests in their interests. I have some really close friends who I absolutely adore. I can't wait to run to them and tell them everything. They're also some of the most honest relationships you'll have. They'll tell you exactly how it is. Do the same for them. Be honest. Be brave. Cherish these relationships. It's ok to get into arguments. You may get mad at each other for a bit. That's ok. If it happens, don't let it go on too long. Talk it out. Ask what they need. Tell them what you need. Communicate.
The main thing is, in any type of relationship you have, you need to communicate. A relationship just doesn't work without it. You can't avoid hard conversations. You can be afraid of it, just don't avoid it. I've lost relationships that way. We all probably have. For some reason, it's so hard for people to do. Why? We need to. We're not mind readers. Ask questions. Listen to those around you. Show interest in them and what they're doing/into. Ask how you can help with anything. Give lots of hugs. If someone can't talk about something at the moment, that's ok. Let them have time. Sometimes, a hug is all that's needed. Tell those close to you that you love them all of the time. Life is short. Hopefully we're lucky enough to surround ourselves with those we love. Water those seeds. Keep those gardens healthy and vibrant. Thank you for joining me for another week. I really appreciate you coming back each week. Please reach out with any questions or suggestions. Thanks everyone! Stay tuned for another one coming out next week. Have a great Sunday.