Since humans are social animals, and our life circumstances generally require interactions with other people, it’s worth making an effort to improve our relationships. Good relationship skills enhance all of our connections and lead to success and happiness. The most important step is to recognize the only thing we can change is ourselves. Knowing we can change our beliefs, and through them, change our perceptions and our feelings gives us the power to transform our lives. We can adopt attitudes and take actions that enhance our relationships. And we can back out of relationships which don’t serve us. I apply this personally by being interested in other people, and willing to accept them as they are. I enjoy learning what they think and believe. I create opportunities to spend time with people whose company I enjoy, who add to my life. When I have negative feelings about someone, I look for the beliefs in myself that are leading me to those feelings. In my marriage, I choose to believe I am very lucky to share my life with this special person, and I try to treasure every minute we have together. I am comfortable being myself with him, including pursuing interests that he doesn’t share. I try not to believe I need my husband to complete my life (which would make me feel needy and dependent and afraid I couldn’t survive if something happened to him), but I do believe that his presence in my life enhances my joy and happiness. In The Five Things We Cannot Change…and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them, David Richo says “I am now more careful … not to become the CIA: Critic, Interpreter, and Advisor. We can make it a spiritual practice not to criticize others' behavior, not to interpret what they do according to our world view, and not to advise unless we are invited to do so. Eliminating these three behaviors from our repertory, especially with partners and family members, makes our communication much more loving and respectful. The five essential qualities of genuine love – attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing (what I call the five A's) – do not survive well with the CIA in pursuit."
Choose to be happier!    You have found the place        to learn what YOU can do             to have a happier,                  more fulfilling life!
© Molly L. Stranahan, Psy.D. 2017
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