Nurturing Positive Relationships With Extended Family Members

Nurturing Positive Relationships With Extended Family Members

Maintaining healthy relationships with extended family members—such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and in-laws—can be tough. According to an article published by YouGov, 46% of Americans don’t have any extended family members living in the same city or town as them. Unfortunately, for many people, this distance can make it difficult to nurture positive family relationships.

If you’re looking to create healthy relationships with extended family members, you may want to consider implementing one or more of the following tips:

  • Schedule times to catch up. When you don’t get to see your family members every day or even every week, it can be easy to lose touch, which can make you feel less like family and more like acquaintances. Plan regular visits, videochats, and telephone calls, and make an effort to remain free of distractions during those times.
  • Establish boundaries. It may seem counterintuitive, but setting boundaries can help families feel closer in the long run. For example, if you don’t feel comfortable having extended family members stay at your home for more than a few days, communicating that before their next visit can help prevent resentment from forming. 
  • Avoid taking sides. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to keep the peace, it’s inevitable that family disputes will pop up from time to time. While you should certainly stand up for what you believe is right, in many cases, exercising empathy and remaining neutral can help prevent hurt feelings. You should also avoid talking about family members behind their back.

Take the First Step Toward Positive Family Relationships

If you’re interested in building healthy relationships with extended family members, one of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist. Contact us today and request an appointment at a date and time that’s convenient for you.

Nurturing Positive Relationships With Friends

The importance of having positive friendships in your life cannot be overstated. Healthy friendships can help you feel happier and more self-confident, reduce your stress levels, and prevent you from feeling lonely or isolated. When times are good, friends can help you celebrate. And when times are bad, they can help pick you up and provide a kind shoulder to lean on.

Unfortunately, for many adults, it can be tough to make new friends and even more difficult to ensure that those friendships enhance their lives. With that in mind, here are some tips for how to build healthy relationships with friends:

  • Be an active listener. Communication is key to a positive friendship, but many of us aren’t great at listening, which can leave our friends feeling ignored and unvalued. When talking with friends, make an effort to face them, focus on what they’re saying, and ask follow-up questions. You should also avoid interrupting them and zoning out as you plan what to say next.
  • Offer advice without judgment. At some point throughout the course of your relationship, your friend will likely come to you for help with a problem. While you should be honest about how you feel, you should also try to empathize with them and respect that that might have a different opinion.
  • Make time for each other. In today’s busy world, it can often be difficult to schedule time with friends, but getting together is crucial. If you live near each other, pencil in a weekly dinner or even a monthly coffee date. Or, if you live far apart, plan a time to talk on the phone or, better yet, videochat.

Start Building Healthy Relationships With Friends

If you struggle to maintain positive friendships, you’ve come to the right place. We have extensive experience helping patients nurture healthy relationships with friends, and we’d love to do the same for you. Contact us today to schedule a therapy session.

The Powerful Benefits of Forgiveness

There is a very old saying that says, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” This is a warning to people to not act out in anger or resentment because you only end up harming yourself. Over time, these feelings of resentment can build until the individual develops feelings of depression or anxiety.

While forgiving others who have hurt us isn’t always easy, in the end, it greatly benefits our mental health and overall well-being. To be clear, forgiving others does NOT mean you agree with or condor their poor behavior. And it doesn’t mean you are announcing that your feelings don’t matter. Forgiveness simply means letting go of the negative feelings that are holding you down and causing you prolonged distress.

Again, forgiving someone who has hurt you isn’t easy, but it will lead you to a sense of peace and joy. Here are some steps you can take to forgive others:

Process Your Pain

Have you really faced your pain and processed it? You’ll need to do this before you can let those feelings go. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings deeply and fully. Cry, yell, hit your pillow, do whatever it takes.

Forgive Yourself

It takes two to tango, as they say. While we can easily point to others and blame them for the breakup or ugly incident, the truth is, we were there also. We played some role. Even if it was to retaliate in the moment and to show our own ugliness. It’s time to forgive your own humanity and any wrongdoing to yourself or others.

Try to Understand

True forgiveness is impossible without a sense of understanding. You can try to forgive, claim you have forgiven, only to have those negative nagging feelings crop up again and again. When we try to understand why someone has acted the way they have, it can wipe out the negative feelings instantly, almost as if by magic. 

A critical parent acts the way they act because they, too, were the victim of a critical parent. An overbearing boss is dealing with a personal tragedy at home. Our cheating spouse is self-sabotaging his or her life because they have incredibly low self-esteem and do not feel they deserve happiness. Life is complicated and human beings are even more so. Try and understand why someone has hurt you. You will be amazed at what this magical A-ha moment can do for you.

And if you’d like to speak to someone and get some guidance and much-needed perspective, please reach out to me.



The Importance of Independence in a Relationship

When we first fall in love with that special someone, we want to spend all of our time together. In fact, we seem to feel better when we are with our significant other.

This is the infatuation stage, and admittedly, it feels really good. But enduring relationships move past this stage and into a place of mutual respect and care. This will require each partner to give the other space to be their own individuals.

Why Individuality and Independence are Important in Relationships

First, what does it really mean to be an independent individual? It means you know how to be your own person, whether you are single or in a relationship. It means while you make the effort to make your partner happy, you also ensure that you continue to do the things you enjoy that bring you happiness.

The following are just some of the reasons why there should always be independence in a relationship:

No One Likes Clingy

When you lack independence and don’t have a solid sense of yourself, you can come across as “clingy” or needy. If you want to be around your partner 24/7 and they are wanting space, your neediness can drain their energy.

Mutual Growth

When the two of you stay independent, you give each other the opportunity to grow as individuals, which then can lead to growth as a couple. 

Mutual Support

Independent people are strong people, and strong people can be counted on when it matters most. When you are both strong individuals, you can lend that support when the other needs it.

Need Help Getting Your Independent Spirit Back?

Most of us demanded our independence when we were in our teens and early 20s. But life happens, and we can often lose that independent spirit and lose our own identities. If you need some help reconnecting with yourself so that you may one day enjoy a beneficial partnership, please get in touch with me. I’m more than happy to discuss how therapy can help.