Family, friends, colleagues, relatives, acquaintances, whatever the degree of intimacy of our relationships, some bring us happiness and satisfaction, and others are burdens that we suffer. We still tolerate them, and put up with them, because of a more or less self-imposed obligation or loyalty.
Cleaning up relationships, once in a while, has the significant advantage of freeing up a lot of space in our head, and keeping our energy for what really matters in our lives. So let's roll up our sleeves, open the windows, air our interiors, shake the carpets and vacuum our relationships. Because passivity and wait-and-see attitude, never work.
If you do laundry from time to time, you probably know that there are different cleaning programs for delicates, cotton, wool, etc. So as not to mix everything up (which could have painful consequences), start by sorting your relationships to put them in the right pile. For each of your relationships (friends, family, professional), ask yourself:
- What's great in this relationship?
- What's tolerable?
- What's annoying?
- And, is the relationship essential? Important? Unnecessary? Imposed?
Among our relationships, some have tarnished and settled in a routine, that's sometimes reassuring, or even comfortable. These relationships remain important and essential to our balance, however they have lost their brightness. Time has given them a yellowish stains of distance, lack of time or energy, habit, and so on.
If this is the case, a phone call, a gesture, an invitation, or a small gift, can give some brightness back to the relationships that matter.
3- Active oxygen
Other relationships will prevent you from expressing who you are, and will make you play a role, act in a way that does not suit you, accept things you don't want to accept. In short, these relationships oppress you and prevent you from breathing.
If this is the case, it's time to make some life-saving crops to get off to a good start in relationships that are important to you, or difficult to circumvent (like professional relationships), which have taken a bad smell.
Let's say it bluntly, some relationships look like sneaky bacteria that only a good disinfectant will eliminate. Manipulators, but also "victims", "saviours" and narcissists manage to rot our life by taking and taking and never giving back.
There's no other obligation to tolerate these relationships than the one we choose. So don't hesitate to put an end to the most toxic, and draining relationships.
- If you are dealing with manipulators at work, limit interactions to a minimum, and avoid getting involved in any relationship by keeping a very strict framework for exchanges: no information other than factual and professional should be exchanged.
- For other relationships, just cut them out if you can. If it's not possible, limit your interactions. Talk to them when really necessary.
5- Fabric softener
We have just discussed at length our relationships with others. And what about us? Are we squeaky clean? It's time to consider our own responsibility for that stain that's spoiling some of our relationships, and to put a good amount of softener into our expectations and behaviours.
Here's an ugly truth that some of us try to ignore: if people around us impose their annoying demands and heavy expectations, we do exactly the same thing, without questioning ourselves for a second. Take a second and:
- List and observe what you expect from your relationships.
- Determine which expectations are essential and which ones you can be more flexible about.
- People can't read your mind, so no one can know your needs and expectations if you don't express them.
- Express your expectations, your reproaches and desires, while keeping in mind that others have the right to have different expectations or to not agree.
- Avoid interpreting others' words (misunderstandings are very harmful to relationships) and ask specific questions about their expectations and needs.
6- Instant cleaning
Lastly, rather than carrying out a tedious big cleaning which implies that as the time goes by, our relationships get heavier and more difficult to clean, the idea is to set up an instant cleaning system. It requires less effort and negative energy.
When you feel disappointed, betrayed, annoyed, etc., in short, when something leaves you with a bitter taste, rather than letting the situation get bigger, you should identify the problem right away and take action.
Take care of your relationships, pamper them, watch them grow and flourish: it's also a way of taking care of yourself.
Have a great cleaning!