We all have those moments.
We coast along in our relationship with our spouse, our son, our mom — and then something breaks. In an instant, we feel like we’re surrounded by glass.
Whether you’re mending from relationship heartbreak or misunderstanding, or working on an ounce of relationship problem prevention, here are four ways to sweeten your relationships with loved ones.
1. See it, say it
Want to pour some sugar on your relationships at home? Seeing and saying things on the home-front works like magic to make relationships feel more secure — and it’s easy-peasy. All you have to do when you see something great is say it.
When you see your husband take out the garbage, say, “I appreciate you so much!” (And add a giant hug and kiss!)
When you see your kids doing their homework without being asked, say, “You rock for doing your homework, my friend!”
When you see someone (even a stranger) do something nice like holding the door open to let someone go ahead of them, say, “Wow! That was a super kind thing to do!”
Usually “see it, say it” works best if you say it immediately, but sometimes a note after the fact is more effective.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you see something that concerns you, address it as soon as you can. And, as always, pour on the love and appreciation (even for being willing to hear you out) after sharing your concerns.
2. Be a strength-finder
Everyone has things they’re good at. Sometimes, looking at the very things that annoy us helps us discover those strengths. Is your child always getting lost at stores? Perhaps his strength is curiosity! Does your loved one spend too much money? Maybe your loved one’s gift is living in the moment! We all want to feel loved for who we are — even if we have a few areas that could be polished up.
If you can’t think of a loved one’s strengths off the top of your head, sit down and make a list. Post the list so you can read it often. Observe your loved one daily, and when you see a strength, don’t forget to say it! (And round and round the love goes!)
3. Pencil loved ones into your calendar
“The proof is in the pudding” or “put your money where your mouth is” — we have these sayings to convey that our actions speak louder than words. Along with telling people you love them, write loved ones into your schedule and make time for them. With a spouse, set up an ongoing weekly date night. With your kids, plan play time with them daily. With dear friends and others to whom you want to show love, set up a lunch date, go to a movie or meet at the park so your kids can play. Schedule important events so they’ll happen.
4. Get on your knees
I’m not talking about begging here (although a dollop of humility is priceless in any relationship). I’m talking about getting on your knees and praying for your loved one. This is especially important when your feelings are hurt. Maybe harsh words were said to you. Pray to know what to say. Pray for the person whose words hurt you. Maybe you have a child who is making choices that cause you heartache. Pray that you can have peace. Pray that you will know what to do. Whatever the reason — pray. Turn your worries, hurts and thoughts over to God who has all day and night to help you to heal your relationships.
While you’re sweetening your relationships with others, don’t forget about pouring some goodness onto yourself. Acknowledge your own successes, accept compliments, give yourself a two-hour nap and, when all else fails, pray that you can get through the day.
5 Things You Should Never Say To Your Mother-In-Law
Getting married comes with a lot of new responsibilities. One important aspect is relating with your mother-in-law.
You should know that there are certain things that you should never say to your mother-in-law if you want peace to reign.
It’s not about being docile; it’s you being wise enough to avoid conflict or a strained relationship with your mother-in-law.
Ordinarily, these things shouldn’t be a big deal. But their meanings change when said to a mother-in-law.
So, you need to take note of the underlying meanings of the seemingly harmless statements that you make around your mother-in-law.
Here are five things you should never say to your mother-in-law.
Never say ‘No’
As simple as the word ‘no’ is, saying it to your mother-in-law can dig up a whole lot of issues that would otherwise be nonexistent. To avoid painting the wrong picture of yourself or sending the wrong message across, try as much as possible not to say the word ‘no’ to your mother-in-law. Instead of saying ‘no’ outrightly, you could say ‘I appreciate you ma but I sincerely cannot take/do this right now. Thank you for your understanding.’ Sounds better? It sure does. This reduces whatever friction must have been brewing.
‘I did not ask for your opinion’
Regardless of the circumstances involved, saying this to your mother-in-law can trigger avoidable conflict. As much as you may not like every intrusion from your mother-in-law, telling her directly that you did not ask for her opinion is you disrespecting her. It does not matter if you are older or about the same age. This should never be said to avoid unnecessary drama.
‘Your child prefers it this way’
This is sure to create a strained relationship between you and your mother-in-law even if you didn’t mean it that way. As a mother, she feels she knows what’s best for her child because she has been with your spouse longer than you ever have. Telling her that her child prefers something done a particular way that is contrary to what she has always known is you gunning for enmity. She is likely to think of you as the intruder who has come to destroy the close bond she has with her child. You can advise her to try another idea or suggestion if she asks but not outrightly telling her that you know exactly what her child prefers simply because you are the spouse.
‘We don’t have time to visit you’
No mother-in-law wants to hear this. Do not make your mother-in-law feel alienated from her child’s life simply because they are now married. Try to make her understand that it’s not your deliberate decision to not come visiting. Family is everything as we age and your mother-in-law needs that connection – you need that connection with her as well.
‘It is not a big deal’
It might not be a big deal to you, but it definitely is to her – else she wouldn’t have raised it up with you. You not understanding why she is making a fuss out of it shouldn’t be communicated so nonchalantly. As a mother, her concerns – just as yours – are valid. Try to understand her point of view. You don’t have to accept it, but just understand it. You’d be surprised what ‘I understand you’ can do as opposed to ‘It’s not a big deal.’
Stalking: How To Deal With It
No one wants to be in a situation where they are being stalked constantly.
It is an uncomfortable situation to be in at any point in life.
Stalking happens when you are feeling uncomfortable with unwarranted and unsolicited contact by the person doing the stalking.
In a time of digital technology, stalking not only happens in-person when the person follows you without your knowledge and permission. It can also happen online in the form of cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying. Usually, these types of contact can be difficult to prosecute. However, there’s a bit of help here as you can avoid this kind of harassment more easily by changing your online privacy settings or email address.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being stalked online and it gets to the point of in-person stalking, you shouldn’t joke with this. Try to take it to the authorities as it is very serious.
Types of Stalkers
While stalking in itself is inherently bad, some types of stalkers are more dangerous than others. Therefore, you should arm yourself with the right knowledge of the type of stalker you are dealing with as this can help you notify the police appropriately and defend yourself if necessary.
- Simple Stalkers: Most stalkers are known as simple stalkers. These are people who you know that you may have had a romantic or friendly relationship in the past. While you ended the relationship, it didn’t end for them.
- Love obsession stalkers: These are people who you have never met (or very casual acquaintances) who latch onto you and think that they are in a relationship with you. People who stalk celebrities are in this category.
- Stalkers who have a psychotic fantasy about a relationship with their victims will often turn from unwanted attention to threats or intimidation. When this fails, they may escalate to violence.
- Sometimes the abuser in an abusive relationship or marriage becomes a stalker, following their ex and watching them from afar, then moving closer, and eventually repeating or escalating violent attacks. This can be one of the most dangerous stalkers.
How To Deal With Stalking Online and Offline
A casual acquaintance whose likeness for you grows into an obsession and comes by your residence occasionally or often may be ultimately harmless. An abusive ex-husband who has threatened you may try to kill you if you let your guard down.
If you are being stalked online, verify if the stalker has any information about your real-life location. Be sure to maintain a secure online presence and never reveal your home address or even your hometown on public pages.
Try to be observant. If you believe that you are being stalked, you should be more observant and careful of your surroundings. Take note of anyone acting strangely or unknown vehicles in your neighborhood or near your workplace. Be sure to take notes about anything you observe that seems unusual.
Avoid contact with your stalker. Stalkers usually think that they are in a relationship with their victims. And whatever contact the victims make with them is seen as validation of their “relationship,” which is nonexistent. If you are being stalked, do not call, write to, or speak to your stalker in person if you can avoid it at all.
Ghosting: How To Move Past It
Ghosting is when all communication between you and the other person stops abruptly.
The thing about ghosting is that it happens unexpectedly without prior notice.
Nothing prepares you for it. There are no clues or hints; everything seems to be going well until it happens.
No one wants to be ghosted. It is a traumatic experience that leaves the person being ghosted with deep insecurities and feelings of guilt.
A lot of times, people wonder if they are at fault or they did something wrong to deserve being ghosted.
Do you deserve being ghosted?
Ghosting is not a good thing to happen to anyone. Some may say there are valid instances where ghosting is appropriate. But chances are that if you are left wondering and perplexed about why you were ghosted, then it is not your fault.
Ghosting is the lazy way out for people who have communication issues. They would rather avoid talking to you than address the situation squarely.
Does ghosting hurt?
Ghosting hurts the individual who was left behind with no explanations or reasons. This is especially if you have shared experiences, secrets, fears, concerns and hopes with each other. It sure does hurt to be ghosted by the person who used to be your confidante, listen to how your day went and share ideas with you.
How do you know if you are being ghosted?
Sometimes, we don’t want to believe that we have been ghosted. We assume that the person may have been hospitalized or lost their phone hence the silence from their end. But no one loses their phone for a whole week without trying to contact those who matter to them and they know would be worried about the absence of communication.
Similarly, no one is rushed to the hospital without thinking of informing someone close to them to reach out to those who may be worried.
Why would they fall sick and not inform their loved ones (if they truly consider you a loved one)?
There is no justification for ghosting someone. No excuse cuts it.
Will they come back?
Some do return from their self-imposed exile. Ghosting helps the person who is doing the ghosting. They get to come back anytime they feel like and cook up a story about why they disappeared. This is another reason why ghosting is selfish and cunning.
Is it right to take them back?
Their return may trigger some feelings you have fought to keep buried. It’s not your fault; they used to be close to you. But if they’ve ghosted you once, chances are high that they’ll do it again. And you certainly don’t want your feelings toyed with that way. Taking them back sends the message to them that you are available to be played with as they’ll keep ghosting and coming back as many times as they like without genuine explanations.
What should I do if I’m being ghosted?
First, tell yourself the truth. Don’t try to bottle up your feelings. Allow yourself to feel the hurt and mourn their exit. It helps you deal with what’s ahead such as triggers.
Then, do away with all memories of them in your life – it might be a gift or a picture or saved texts. If the gift cannot easily be discarded, say a car or an apartment, you can try selling it. And if you want to keep it, mentally disassociate their memory from the gift and just see it as a goodwill from life.
Then, listen to positive messages and motivational podcasts. Tell yourself that you deserve better and they are the ones life helped you weed out.
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