10 mistakes we make in our relationship with others

mistake comic
  1. We don’t apologize enough. When we make a mistake or someone feels we have made a mistake apologizing is very helpful and effective. An apology doesn’t mean you agree with the perception of another person, but it just acknowledges that you recognize their feelings were hurt and that you don’t wish for that to happen. In my life, apologizing has been key to my growth and success. I didn’t always agree that I did someone wrong, but by doing so, it enabled me to move past that impasse and continue on in life.

mistake comic2. We don’t listen enough. Listening is so hard to do because we want to show has wonderful we are and share our life. However, it is only when we listen that others feel heard and validated and they have a chance to vent and express who they are. One of the quotes I often think of from Steve Covey is “Seek first to understand then be understood.”

3. We would rather be right than happy. We all have beliefs of how the world is, and what our values and interpretations of life are. We often stubbornly cling to them so that we are right rather than allowing ourselves to be wrong or unsure. Being happy doesn’t mean you don’t have values, but you can’t enforce your perceptions of how life is on other people. You can’t force others to have your values no matter how much you think it will benefit them. It is arrogant to believe that we know better for someone else what they think is best for themselves. Certainly, we may be right, but we also may be wrong, and in that respect, we can never be sure of the advice others sometimes ask of us. Being humble with your limitations of understanding is not only honest but puts the responsibility of someone’s life exactly where it should be. On their own shoulders.

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4. We don’t treat others with respect. Being respectful to others is about allowing them to have their own values, beliefs, and space in their life to discover who they are. Relationships in which one person doesn’t feel they have enough space to explore who they are are not healthy. Life is a process of discovering who we are and letting go of the unhelpful lessons we were taught. We can not help others by burdening them with more rules. When you value someone and compliment them, or are just happy that they exist, you do the best thing you can do for someone else. You help them see their own value and they grow.

5. We use others for what they can provide for us, rather than what they are. Sometimes we think that we can have friendships or relationships with people who we discover can’t be real friends. Rather than admitting our mistakes and letting those friendships go, we hold onto people who are not helpful in our lives. We aren’t honest with ourselves that when we put more effort and time into relationships where we don’t get something back, that is ok. It is not ok to have relationships in which you feel you have to serve others at the cost of your own happiness. It is a myth to think that we have to sacrifice to be loved. The healthiest relationships can get both needs met without either party having to suffer/sacrifice. Love is not sacrifice, it is growth for both people.

6. We forget others are a mirror of our-self. Whatever bothers us in other people is something part of our-self that we haven’t acknowledged. Whatever qualities we see in others, they exist in our-self or we could not recognize them. We all have different levels of things and there are always people who are better than us, but we still are unique in whatever our levels are. As you grow in wisdom you see that interpersonal drama is just a reflection of someone’s own intrapersonal or drama inside them-self. The healthiest people have worked through that internal struggle so it is easy to treat others with respect because they respect themselves.

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7. We look to outside forces to make us happy. This is something that originally makes sense. I’ll be happy once I get the new car/job/relationship. However, every time I have gotten those things, and what I have seen in others, that is not enough. It is not enough to have things, we often feel more happy in the struggle to get things.

“After a time, you may find that ‘having’ is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as ‘wanting.’ It is not logical, but it is often true.”– Mr. Spock, Star Trek

8. We look for consistency rather than flexibility. We often tease others that their behavior is not consistent with their words or actions in the past, rather than supporting their flexibility in creatively dealing with life. We should not look to catch people being hypocrites since we all are hypocritical. Can we not learn from our mistakes and not make the same mistake twice or are we doomed to repeat things for consistency? Life isn’t a contest where the most consistent person wins. Life rewards those who can adapt to the environment. Why do we think flexibility is less important than consistency?

9. We expect life to conform to our beliefs. Life isn’t here to serve you, yet we think that we can define our life and control it. I like what Micheal Fox said that our illusion of control makes us think we are in charge, but we are not in charge. We can make small decisions, but the biggest decisions are not ours to make. That is helpful and unhelpful. I’m sure we would all fix world hunger or any of those problems, but we are not the decision-makers who can do that. On the other side, if we had the power and decision-making ability, perhaps we would make decisions that were worse than those in charge do. Perhaps. We can’t ever know until we have that kind of power. More importantly, good intentions like the war on drugs and many other policy decisions have been a disaster. Would you want your name attached to that decision?

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10. We spend our time on toys rather than experiences. In our drive to experience material things, we spend so much energy and time accumulating stuff rather than experiences. Science says that we enjoy experiences more than things, yet we stubbornly pursue things rather than experiences. Why is this? Why do we look at things and misuse them and then discard them when they could never provide what we wanted? I see in my own life and others that the happiest moments have been in what we have shared with others, not in any particular physical possession. I’m not saying that it is bad to get the car you always wanted or any particular object. I got the car I always dreamed of, and it was cool, but I would have been fine if I didn’t get it. To get that car was a bonus, not a goal that I was willing to sacrifice the high price it would have cost to get it sooner. Often just waiting for something reduces the price to almost nothing and then you can do it. Perhaps we should look at our lives as a bucket list, not just something we have to be done in a certain time frame.