Words mean a lot to some people and less to others.
If words are important to someone you know why not write them a note to let them know how you feel .. or if you have writer’s block pop into a card shop and find the perfect message.
I’ve decided to take a little more time over my Xmas cards this year, to make my words a bit more personal and to the extra time to think about and appreciate how my relationships have sustained me over the past year.
It’s good to be shifted out of our routines .. once our relationships develop it’s easy to do the same things day to day. But doing new things together stimulates us to feel affection and encourages us to communicate more.
One of the things I’ve noticed about this year’s pandemic is that it’s jolted me out of my habits and forced me to find new ways of doing things. Friendships have deepened and I’ve got to know people in different ways .. who knew one of my colleagues has a chainsaw certificate!!
I invite you to reflect back on what and how you’ve done things differently this year, how that’s affected your relationships with others, and stay open to making this one thing you commit to continuing once all this is past.
The number one thing that shifts things for people I work with is when they start communicating differently with those around them. Sometimes that’s finding ways to say something difficult in a sightly different way, and often it’s about recognising and taking ownership of our part in an interaction.
Research shows that 5 positive interactions to every 1 more difficult interaction serve to strengthen relationships and make disagreements easier to manage.
So get into good habits .. Tell those around you what they did to make you happy today, whether that’s a ‘good work today’ to staff or a ‘thanks for that yummy meal’ to a family member or waiter.
Touch is so important in feeling connected, holding hands, being close, a hug .. this year has been so hard as we haven’t been able to show our affection through hugging and being around each other.
Many people also don’t have the opportunity to touch, people who live alone, maybe working from home at the moment. Studies show that when residents of care homes have affectionate consensual physical contact they report greater wellbeing.
So today how about showing someone you love them by sending a virtual hug, something to snuggle or if you can by using touch to show you care. You can even do this for yourself by wrapping yourself up in a lovely warm blanket and giving yourself a hug.
Maybe you text your friends, colleagues and family all the time, but how many of those messages are about your relationship. Using all the opportunities to communicate our appreciation is vital in order to stay connected in the face of the challenges that we face each day.
Text someone to let them know you appreciate the relationship, even if it’s just from the shed or the office next door!
It’s lovely to hear something nice about ourselves .. and how much nicer when it’s coming from someone we love. Find a reason to compliment someone in your life today, whether it’s how they look, what they do or how they do it.
Sharing gratitude is so important in our relationships and it’s such a shame that it so often gets lost in the busyness of our everyday lives. Stop and think how you might feel if someone thanked you for something you do every day at work for example .. now .. does it feel good?
Your challenge is to give someone in your life the gift of gratitude today .. Thank them for something they do for you today, or simply for being who they are.
Notice the difference that one small action makes, and consider making gratitude a bigger part of your relationships.
Happy December .. and welcome to the first day of this challenge that we’ll be carrying out together in the days leading up to Christmas!!
Today is about preparing the ground for the month ahead.
Holding on to hurt from the past can prevent us from enjoying our present .. so today take some time to think about someone who hurt you in the past, breathe deeply and send them forgiveness for 5 straight minutes.
Forgiveness is a funny thing, ideally it takes remorse and taking responsibility from the person who hurt us as well as the willingness to let go on our side.
Sometimes though the other person either won’t, or maybe can’t ask for forgiveness if they’re no longer in our lives .. this exercise isn’t for them, it’s for us to be able to let go of that hurt just a little bit more ..
“Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace.” – Edward Hays
Those who know me also know I love a good challenge, and at this time of year I usually post a daily challenge for couples to reconnect and nurture their relationships.
2020 has been a hell of a year though, so I’ve decided to widen this year’s challenge to include all our relationships. Like it or not we exist in relationship to others, at home, locally, nationally and internationally, and when we take time to approach these relationships with intention we can find great healing and joy.
December is a great time to take stock of our relationships, and to make sure loving each other is part of the run up to Christmas. Those of you who read my posts regularly will know I’m a firm believer in the power of small sustained actions to build and sustain loving relationships.
So I invite you to follow my new and improved Relationship Advent Calendar Challenge, a great way to build acts of love into each day from December 1st, as my seasonal gift to you.
So, what’s a “Relationship Advent Calendar?
A lot of advent calendars are about getting, but this one’s all about giving, because in our relationships we give to receive. Every day in December until Christmas, I’ll reveal a new action to build and sustain your relationship with others and your world.