Most people spend most of their time with other people. I’m not sure I was adequately prepared for dealing with the complexities of these relationships. Nowadays the school curriculum focuses more attention on equipping children with the emotional skills needed to manage and maintain good relationships, which is great … but doesn’t really help me navigate my relationships as an adult.

I’m guessing most people learn about relationships from their parents and siblings – how to communicate, look after each other, express love, resolve conflict – so if you had good role models, you’re probably doing okay. Me on the other hand, let’s just say I’ve had to make it up as I’ve gone along.

Luckily I’ve had my wits about me these past 20-or-so years so I’ve picked up a few clues by watching others. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned:

  • Treat your family as you would someone you’ve just met and really like. 
  • Pause before you take the next action or say the next word. 
  • Try to see things from the point of view of the other person. Their thoughts or actions probably make perfect sense to them. 
  • Sometimes it’s better to be happy than right (no matter how much you want them to know you’re right!).
  • Tell your loved ones you love them. You might not get the chance tomorrow. 
  • Love is an action, not just a word. You can show you care in a 1000 small ways every day. 
  • You are a champion and cheerleader of your familymembers – remember you’re on the same side. 
  • Relationships don’t just happen – you have to work at them everyday. If it’s a good relationship, it won’t feel like hard work. 

Now, I’m not saying I actually do all these things, but I do aspire to them.

What have you learned along the way?