The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
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Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.