Suri questions the statement that it takes two to have a good relationship. She highlights the power of perception and meaning-making in shaping our experiences. She encourages listeners to approach relationships with empathy and compassion – to nurture deeper and more intimate connections in our relationships. We can take a pause to respond instead of react. We can look for stories that unite us, instead of ones that divide us 💗.
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INTRO: Hi friends. Welcome back to Doing Things On Purpose, the podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. I’m your host Suri, and I’m so glad that you could take time out of your busy schedule to join me again this week.
SURI: So last week I shared some insights far from scientific, but still insights about how most happy people rate number one, their meaningful relationships more so than the time they spent their relaxing personal growth and learning as the cornerstone to their overall happiness, more so than the time they spent relaxing and much more so than their career, which happened to be the two things that we tend to focus our attention on.
Now I have to admit that clearly the different parts of our lives can and do bleed into each other. I mean, if you’re lucky, you could have a career that has led you to form many meaningful relationships, or you could enjoy spending your time relaxing with family and friends that you love and care about.
But to simplify things, let’s assume that all things being equal. If you could relax and do nothing all year round, or you could excel exceptionally in your career this year, but you had no meaningful relationships and no personal growth to accompany that. I think most people wouldn’t see themselves as being happy.
I know I wouldn’t, it would seem empty. So since I’m all about doing things on purpose, or at least I’m trying to, this week, I thought I’d explore a bit about how building good, meaningful relationships can look like in broad strokes, because there’s a lot of pieces there.
Our relationship with ourselves is no different than our relationship with our kids and no different than our relationship with our spouse, our relationship with our boss, our colleagues, our friends. I actually see it as one and the same. Can we really simplify it that much? It’s a lot to take in. So give yourself a minute to absorb this.
Does it only take one to have a good relationship? And if you haven’t guessed that one person is you. Before we dig in, I wanna share a story about the power of perception and meaning making. In other words, the power of mindset.
Have you ever met someone who, no matter what happened in their life, they always seem to be doing okay? They’re one of those people who are always hopeful, always trying to see things in a positive light. It’s not that they never complain, but even if they do, it just seems to be a statement that galvanizes them into action.
No, I’m not talking about Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, who let’s all face it, are obvious examples of exceptionally great human beings. I’m talking about regular people, somebody you know in your life.
For example, I personally know a woman living alone with a lifelong debilitating disease who’s actually much stronger in character, much more imbalanced and content with her life than many other able-bodied human beings that I know her problems are part of her life, but they don’t define her. They don’t affect her attitude and how she chooses to show up in the world.
And then there are other people who seem to have more than enough health and wealth. They’re constantly surrounded by people, but who can’t seem to find happiness even in their relatively abundant life.
So what’s the difference?
I don’t think we can ever find the definitive answer. There are theories that suggest it’s a mix of genes and how we grew up. It’s our personality, it’s our tendency for resilience. These traits can evolve over time, but some say most of our basic personality traits remain intact throughout our lives. So for instance, if you’re an introvert, you’ll probably always stay an introvert at the core.
Some of us are born with a glass half full kind of mentality, and some of us are the opposite. I love research-based findings just as much as the next person, but for me, at one point, I wonder if it dehumanizes us more than it serves us. I get that the goal is to understand humans better and help us live well, but sometimes we can start dec size each other up using too much of our brain, weaponized by theories and definitions, and we say things like, oh, So now I think I get you, you’re this kind of person because of this trait that you have, these things that you say and these signs that I’ve noticed about you.
So that means you are this kind of person and you are able to do certain kinds of things, but probably not other kinds of things. I think when we put each other into these kinds of boxes, We are in danger of not really seeing what is, we’re not seeing our child, we’re not seeing our partner as they are our colleagues, cuz we’ve already decided who they are and who they are.
Evolves over time, preferences can change just how we probably don’t have the same favorite color as we did when we were six. So we have to always come with a don’t-know-mind when we don’t understand something, we feel this heat rising. We can ask ourselves, Huh… What story can I tell in my head, to make this interaction something beautiful?
- Maybe that person is having a rough day and all they needed was your listening ear.
- What could you do to help?
- Could you help them with something that was actually their job to do?
- Could you offer them a cup of tea?
- What would a person who is committed to building that relationship do?
- How would you respond?
So I think a lot of people talk about this idea of taking a pause when you feel that you’re about to get angry or you’re about to react and practice stopping yourself and thinking about it from the other person’s shoes.
Try to find a story in your head that makes the situation understandable to you. That you can find the compassion within to then respond in a way that helps the situation instead of burdening it even more.
And I think slowly, with each interaction when we practice this, we will be growing better, more intimate connections with each other. So I’m inviting you to try this out as an experiment.
The next time you find a challenging situation, think back about what we discussed and try to respond instead of react. And if you have trouble doing that, you have a situation or a thought that you feel, you know, sui. I just can’t think of a good story to tell about this one. Send me a mail at email@example.com.
That’s S U R I S T A H E L @gmail.com. Or you can use the contact form on my website at suristahel.com. I would love to explore this further with you, and I promise you it gets easier with time. The only thing you need to do is to try it, experiment. Be curious. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain in your relationships.
OUTRO: So that’s it for me this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Suri on Doing Things on Purpose. If you enjoyed this episode, please remember to subscribe or share it with someone you care about. And if you have the time, please rate this podcast five stars, if you like it. It really helps.
You can also check out my website at suristahel.com. That’s S-U-R-I-S-T-A-H-E-L dot com. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you next time.