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6 steps to happiness in motherhood

Six Steps To Happiness in Motherhood

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Step 4
Building Healthy & Long Lasting Positive Friendships

VIDEO - How to consciously attract better friendships into your life

how to attract better friends

Being social and having close connections to others in your life is essential for long term happiness. In this video Lizzie O’Halloran provides advice on how to consciously attract better relationships into your life. Take time out to watch this video and begin to make conscious decisions about what types of friends you would like to attract into your life on from now on and how you can make positive adjustments to your current friends where necessary.

low-self-esteem
How to Stop Worrying About What Other People May Think

The law of attraction suggests we pick up on others energies and if we are not mindful, we will internalise these outward feelings as our own. It’s incredible how many people lose themselves in the process of trying to please others. This does not mean that you should not try to make others happy. It is a very nice part of humanity to gain joy from giving joy to others. However, when you start to second guess how others are feeling, or take their feelings on as though they are your own, it becomes a problem.

A large part of worrying about what others think, also comes from fear of getting into trouble – or upsetting others. Unfortunately a by-product of being a nice person, can result in becoming a people-pleaser. This sounds nice on one level, but it can cause a great deal of stress when it comes at the sacrifice of your needs and desires. Further, when you continuously put your needs last – in order to people others – resentment and guilt are often not far behind.

Change Automatic Reactions

In order to change automatic reactions and habits it’s important to consciously recognise the relationships that tend to bring on people-pleasing behaviour and then to approach every new interaction with the resolve to be true to yourself and not simply agree with others, so as not to offend them. For instance, if you are a parent and you have a belief about how children should be put to sleep (which is in complete opposition to a friend’s) it would be much more healthy for you to acknowledge your friend’s belief and still raise your personal views. What most people do is say nothing (or agree) with opposing beliefs and then end up feeling angry and offended, rather than addressing the issue first hand. In doing so, the peace may have been kept – but at what cost to your soul and self-esteem?

The Desire To Be Liked

Most of us have an innate desire to be liked, so we often go out of our way to make others happy and to keep the peace. However, this does not have to come at the cost of yourself – in other words – you don’t have to lose yourself in relationships in order to be happy. By relaxing with who you are and accepting that your true friends will like you for who you really are – not the mirror image on themselves – you will feel much more comfortable and less exhausted as a result of being the real you, rather than the people-pleasing you.

mums making friends

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Defining Your Relationships by How Comfortable You Are Communicating

building healthy friendhips

Communication

It’s interesting to note that whilst personal relationships should be the ideal place to communicate freely, it is in these relationships that you are likely to experience the most fear in doing so. It is the fear of rejection (on any level) that leads to anxiety over displeasing others – and… This fear of rejection usually can be traced back to your relationship within your family.

The way in which you communicate and the level to which you feel free to speak up within your family has a direct impact on how you communicate within your friendships and within your intimate relationships. When you personally experience difficulties in relationships and thus feel anxious about the consequences of speaking up, you are likely to have a deep understanding of the NEED to be assertive. On a conscious level you are likely to be a great advice giver (detailing the ways your friends should be assertive in their own relationships) because you can see objectively the result of poor communication within relationships, however, taking your own advice and acting upon it – are very different matters.
Imagine that you enter into an exciting new relationship. At the start of the relationship you are so focused on pleasing the other person that you allow many indiscretions to slide and avoid speaking up, for fear that you may be rejected or criticized. You compromise on things you would never suggest your friends compromise on and you allow things to be said that would normally upset you.
For a few months you keep up the act, but soon your self respect kicks in and you can no longer hold your tongue. Subsequently, at (most likely) inappropriate times, you explode and end up having a huge argument with your partner. Your partner then responds in a nasty manner because he/she is not used to this behaviour. Your outburst is significantly different to the passive and supportive role you have been playing up to that point.
After the outburst you apologize profusely for your behaviour and as a result avoid the conversation underlying the outburst. You revert back to passive behaviour and, as expected, in time another outburst occurs. Eventually as a result of not having sufficient grounding in the relationship, your partner is confused and disheartened by your change in behaviour.
Whilst in the example above, the partner would appear to have poor empathy, it is logical to expect anyone entering a new relationship to have low tolerance for change in one’s personality. For a partner to enter the relationship as a positive and relaxed personality and then to turn into a negative person with a temper would cause many people to wonder where their partner had disappeared to. However, this shock in one’s behaviour tends to occur as a result of feeling afraid to speak up and discuss personal issues of concern in a relationship.

Past Baggage

Often, people find themselves in over-dominant past relationships which result in a partner being aggressive every time they speak up. Unfortunately, the baggage of this past relationship can carry over into new relationships with the expectation that all partners will result in the same manner. However, HEALTHY relationships need HEALTHY and open discussions to work.

Being Assertive

In order to be assertive, you have to feel confident that your point of view has value and is justified. Then you also need to be mindful, but not too concerned about the possible outcome of addressing your concerns. If raising your concerns leads to an argument, it is likely to be unpleasant, but with calm and rational discourse, these types of discussions can in fact enhance the closeness of your relationships.

Assertiveness takes time and practice, but it’s vital to success in every relationship (personal and professional) in your life. The key assertive behaviour is believing that a small bit of discomfort is much more tolerable than losing yourself and not being true to yourself – simply to keep the peace.