Are you having trouble with a relationship? Dig deep and ask yourself what these troubles say about you. Am I really suggesting that his bursts of anger, her infidelity or their constant lies say something about you? Yes, . . . I am. As long as we're stuck blaming others for our troubles, we won’t be able to move forward and participate in healthy loving relationships.
When reaching an individual goal, the adage do whatever it takes may work. But when there are two people involved, doing whatever it takes’to keep the relationship alive isn't a good strategy.
Doing whatever it takes is not always a Good Strategy
Out of Balance - It's natural for friendships to ebb and flow as each person is either in need of support or able to give it. However, when we do whatever it takes to keep the friendship together, we let ourselves and the other person know that this is an unbalanced friendship. Friendships require healthy boundaries and free will so that each person can both give to and receive from the friendship.
Controlling - Although it seems valiant or loving to do whatever it takes to keep our relationship alive, it’s actually quite controlling. We're assuming that we can control the relationship and the other person's contribution (or lack thereof) isn’t necessary. The friendship isn't mine to orchestrate. It’s ours to navigate.
Fear - Sometimes we do whatever it takes because we’re afraid of losing the friendship. The beautiful risk and reward of friendships is just that! Friends choose to spend time with us not because they must but because they will! The fear we need to face is ‘how will our relationship change when I am my authentic self?’ The truth is it may end, however, it isn't a healthy friendship in the first place if you're in it surrounded by fear.
Self-Centered Thinking - Doing whatever it takes may reveal that I see my friend's actions and opinions as a reflection of me. That's self-centered thinking. It reveals my discomfort with their separateness. Friendship doesn’t mean being the same and not having disagreement. Friendship is appreciating and tolerating each other's differences. It is being our authentic self and allowing others to be their authentic self too.
What’s Your Part of the Problem?
What’s your piece of your relationship problem? Recently, I realized that I’d been hanging on to a friendship with white knuckles, trying to force love and connection when the truth was the relationship needed to change. We all have things to offer our friends. Becoming a chameleon to force connection doesn’t work. Appreciate what you have to offer and what they have to offer and let the friendship flow.
The Next Step is Up to You
If we want to improve our relationships, we have to first believe that we may be part of the problem by doing whatever it takes. It may sting or be difficult to admit it but it’s a necessary step that'll be good for both of you. Next, ask what you'll do differently as a part of this friendship.
When we begin to change the dynamics of our relationships, our friend may try as hard as they can to pull us back into the dance we’ve been in. Change can be difficult. It’s just human nature. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, relationships have to go thru this process until they finally settle in the middle.
It's up to you
To improve your friendships, look at what you may be doing to add to the problem. Make sure you aren't doing whatever it takes and not allowing the friendship to breathe. Friendships are balanced when both of you give and take. You alone can't make the friendship happen. If you become all that you think they want you to be, you won't be authentic and you may be wrong! Get rid of the self-centered thinking that believes that their every move is a reflection of you. Finally, don't let the fear of losing the friendship choke out the life that's available to both of you.
Healthy relationships are up to you.