The 5 Steps Revisited
It’s been a while since I shared with you. I think it’s a good idea to recap the discussion on this subject.
Today I’d like to wrap up the discussion of the 5 steps to building better relationships with a brief discussion of the overall process. To recap, here again are the 5 steps:
1. Acknowledge yourself and what you feel and think—with warmth and compassion. Now bring to mind the person with whom you are interacting. Set a firm intention to listen openly to the person, even if you disagree with what he or she says.
2. Examine your motivations in this relationship. If they are merely selfish, chances are you are missing out, both in the short and long term. The best relationships are where we honor and recognize others for who they are and what they bring—even to just the moment of interaction.
3. Before an important conversation, take a few seconds or minutes to close your eyes and set an intention to interact in a way that supports the mutual highest good and benefit. Notice what you feel. Be aware of any negative feelings you have about the other person and try to release them, in the interest of what needs to be accomplished. This can change outcomes substantially.
4. Make eye contact with the other person. That is the first step in connecting on a number of levels. People value those who are genuine and can listen to their story. A visual connection helps sustain genuine interest and attention.
5. Bring laughter and humor into your communication. Steer the interaction to a place of lightness and notice how that relaxes your communication and actually promotes more dynamic and sustainable outcomes.
Many people suffer in difficult relationships because they believe that if they could only do things right—if they could find the right technique—they could change the people they find problematic. But the hard-to-accept reality is that we can’t change others; we can’t memorize a list of techniques and then fix another person.
The only way we can influence the quality of our relationships is through our own thoughts, speech, and actions. The foundation of healthy relationships is built on our motivation and intentions. If we are motivated to act for the highest good and set an intention to treat others kindly, we tap into the source of love and healing. We begin to develop an inner attitude that when cultivated over time—with patience, kindness, and devotion—grows deeper. And as our intentions deepen, they become as much a part of us as our blood and bones. Then our relationships are rarely a problem;instead they become our source of joy.
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