Because the thoughts you think are the source of virtually everything you have created in your life, it’s important to consider how your thoughts are affecting your relationships. When you think that your relationship is wonderful, it often is. When you think your relationship is difficult, it’s because you are thinking of it in that way. You carry your relationships around with you when you’re thinking about the person. It’s not as if the person is with you at every moment, but your thoughts are. You create an experience of another person.
You process your feelings with your thoughts. If you’re thinking negative thoughts about a person, you create a negative image in your mind’s eye. Unfortunately, it creates a filter through which you make judgements about the person and your relationship. But, if you choose to think about what you love about that person, you’ve begun to change your entire relationship. It even feels different in your body.
When you love someone, you love them for who they are. When you forget why you love someone, you begin to process others on the basis of what you think they should be. You make judgments. Or maybe you think about how they used to be. You make comparisons. And then your relationship changes. And your feelings about your relationship changes. And then your relationship becomes a problem. Since you experience every thing and every one in your thoughts, the solution to the problem is to choose to focus on thoughts of lovingkindness and compassion.
For example, you might have a particularly difficult relationship with a sibling or in-law. When you accept this as a reality and feel “we will never get along!”, you may feel sad or frustrated. It’s best to accept the situation as it is. That doesn’t mean it will never get any better. Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. You have limited control but accepting the reality may open the door to your own compassion and wisdom.
To help repair damaged relationships, it’s best to empathize with others. Look for the kernels of truth in any complaints or disagreements. Acknowledge your own shortcomings and make apologies, even if you have a blindspot about the situation. Acknowledge other’s feelings. Speak calmly. If that’s not possible, end the conversation. Ask what needs to be different in order to move forward. Practice forgiveness.
Remember, your thoughts create your emotions. If you think about the past, you create past emotions. You get what you think about. And whatever it is you are giving your attention to – wanted or unwanted – is what you will receive. Watch your attitude! If you want to create a better relationship in the future, you must do it now. You must decide. And recognize that anything you set your mind to accomplish is possible. Choose your thoughts. Choose the good ones.