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Managing Your Mind: Relationships Part Two

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This morning we shared some advice from Managing Your Mind on how to navigate fights and say “no” nicely. This afternoon we thought we would take a more positive approach and share some advice on how to improve relationships and hopefully avoid unnecessary conflict. Below are three tips to guide you.

  1. Work on changing yourself, not on changing others.: The temptation, particularly if a relationship is stormy, is to insist to yourself, and to others, that it is not you that needs to change but the other person. Now it may well be true that the other person should change, but since you can’t change other people, it is not worth trying. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the only way you can change another person is to change yourself-to change the way in which you relate to them. Working to change yourself is always difficult.
  2. Changes take time.: When you change the way in which you relate to others, they may resist that change and do things to make you change back. So making changes in relationships can take longer than making changes in yourself alone, and it certainly requires persistence.
  3. Work with people as they are: When you find yourself saying “If only he would tell me what he’s thinking,” or “If only she didn’t criticize so much,” stop yourself and remind yourself to be realistic. If you want to bring about some changes in those relationships, you should put away these “If only’s” and accept people as they are. Once you start to make changes in yourself, the other person is likely to begin to change. Then you will be able to find out if you can accommodate to each other and get on. If after you have tried to change you still find the relationship is no better, and you still keep wishing the other person were different, then it might be better to end the relationship.

Chapter 12, page 114

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