In relationships there are often events, upsets, episodes and periods of growth and expansion that contribute to the feeling of resistance and disharmony between the parties. This can happen in the workplace, between spouses, with family members, among friendships and even in churches. It’s a common thing, among us humans.
You see, we each and all are outfitted with an ego. That ego can take the form of the “positive ego” which quantifies the aspects of who we are as an individual – the gifts that we possess as our own self. The ego can also emerge as the “negative ego” – the one that sees everything through its own lens of preferences, dislikes and acts in judgment of others.
So, what do you do to move a challenged relationship to one that is enjoyable again?
There are the “3 A’s” of relationship enhancement that I learned many years ago from a sales book. It was just a short mention, yet it resonated with me so much that I repeatedly tested it out and validated it. The simplicity of this is just golden to raising relationships to a new level of harmony.
Acceptance – Now, this one sometimes slows people down – because it’s the step that has to be fully in place before any improvement can occur. The first step is accepting what is: accepting that your partner has certain issues, habits or idiosyncrasies; that your boss has a short temper; that someone close to you is dealing with substance-abuse issues; that your child is strong-willed; that your ailing parent has memory issues. That list can go on and on. That’s the 1st Step – accepting what is.
Approval – Once you have accepted the “is-ness” of a situation or person, now you move forward with finding things of which to approve. WHAT??? Yes – approving is the next step. Find things about the person or their situation that you can approve of – genuinely notice, in spite of whatever the negative things are that are going on. Just note that approval does not mean that you are “rubber-stamping” the negative – it means that you are shifting to noticing anything positive about the person that you can.
Appreciation – The magic is in this last step of appreciating the things that are evident and are positive. If you’ve accepted the “is-ness” of the situation and then adjusted your personal lens to find genuine things to approve of about the person, now you can spread the magic of appreciation through verbal or written communication. Words of appreciation (when genuine) can transform the most strained of atmospheres.
As I suggest with my clients: start with the first step and work through them to validate these steps for yourself. They are truly transforming for any relationship, and have been anywhere I have seen them “put into action”.
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