The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
Make sure to click here and sign up for my future articles so that you receive them in your inbox.
Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.
What a year it has been…
COVID-19. Shutdowns. Job loss. Fear for the health of yourself and your loved ones.
2020 has undoubtedly become a year that many will not forget.
Thanksgiving is a time to step away for a moment and be grateful — even during this crazy year, there are so many blessings in your life. You have a roof over your head, food in your stomach and love to share with your friends and family.
But this holiday isn’t solely for praising your loved ones. It’s also a time to give Thanksgiving gratitude to YOU.
Because when you show gratitude to yourself, you…
- Recognize all your hard work this year
- Acknowledge the challenges you’ve had to overcome
- Admire the strength and resilience it took to make it where you are today
- Remind yourself of the self-worth that resides within you
- Open yourself to greater abundance that you can share with yourself and your loved ones
Most importantly, each act of self-gratitude is also a message of self-love. You care for and love yourself, even when circumstances become difficult.
And for such a unique year, this special holiday is the perfect opportunity to deliver another message of love to yourself.
This Year Has Been Quite the Ride
With all the challenges mentioned earlier, you may have felt like you were barely keeping your head above water. During the past months, you may have experienced:
- Feelings of helplessness
- Depression-like symptoms
- Heightened fearfulness
With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and shutdowns, it’s understandable why you may have felt like you were grasping a lifeline throughout this year.
Yet, we’re approaching the end of 2020.
This year has undoubtedly tested your strength, patience and resilience. And you may not have realized it, but it is your resilience and self-worth that has empowered you.
So, now you’ve emerged stronger and even more resilient.
This Thanksgiving can offer a reprieve from the challenges you’ve had to overcome. It can also be a reminder to practice self-gratitude. Here are a few tips to embrace the empowered woman you are on this memorable holiday.
How to Give Thanksgiving Gratitude to YOURSELF And Acknowledge All You’ve Achieved This Year
Step #1 Reflect on Your Challenges
Go to a quiet room with a pen and journal. Sit alone with your thoughts and reflect on the past months.
What were they like?
Stressful? Chaotic? Lonely?
Did anything life-changing happen this year?
You could think about the shutdowns. Maybe you or your partner lost your job. Perhaps you had to transition into working from home and home-schooling.
There were so many changes you might have experienced — many you were unprepared for.
Write about them and how they made you feel.
Recognize the challenges you’ve had to face. Instead of trying to bury an uncomfortable memory, you can see it for what it is and admire what you did to overcome it.
Because the fact is that yes, you may have stumbled starting out. But eventually, you slipped into the new normal and adapted to your unique circumstances. You not only cared for those around you, you also tended to your own well-being.
And this leads to the next step.
Step #2 Identify 3 Things You Value About Yourself
Next, reflect on three strengths that helped you overcome the challenges of 2020. Here are some examples of characteristics you might consider adding to your list:
- Remaining a pillar of strength and patience for your family
- Your flexibility in adapting to working from home
- Your incredible work ethic
- Your compassion as a mother
- Sticking to your self-care ritual and showing yourself that you are worthy of love and care
- Being vulnerable and asking for help when you needed it
- Understanding the importance of filling your own cup before you fill the cups of those around you
Whatever strengths you feel helped you weather this storm, write them down.
You can get so caught up in the daily grind that you forget these things — especially when constant media updates keep your mind racing with fear and anxiety, drowning out your inner dialogue.
This small practice of writing down your strengths helps to shift your attention to loving yourself and recognizing what makes you empowered and beautiful.
Step #3 Pause
Our monkey minds often keep us jumping from one thought to another. Instead of appreciating who you are and what this special holiday means, your attention might be jumping to the next challenge:
- To-do lists
- Holiday decorating
- Cooking and cleaning
- Planning get-togethers
“Regardless of what is going on in your head,” said Kellie Edwards, a psychologist, in Psych Central, “The mindful pause can bring on the relaxation response and enable clearer thinking, opening up more choice and restoring a calmer you.”
Instead of worrying about what has yet to be done, guide your focus back to the present moment. Take a pause and just breathe.
You are here. You are alive in this moment.
And when you’re ready, smile and tell yourself…
I love you and thank you for all you’ve achieved this year.
Because this year hasn’t been easy… yet you were able to summon the resilience and strength to step up and provide for and protect your family.
That deserves recognition.
YOU deserve recognition.
So take a moment to say thank you to yourself and feel it. If it feels awkward at first, keep repeating it to yourself until it feels natural and sinks in.
Step #4 Treat Yourself to Some Gratitude and Self-Love
While it’s nice to receive gifts from others, have you ever considered giving yourself a gift?
A little self-love can be a kind gesture that shows you appreciate yourself for all you’ve achieved this year. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant.
It could be treating yourself to a pedicure. Or a vase of fresh flowers. Or it could be as small as 30 minutes alone in a warm bubble bath as the winter chill settles in.
This Thanksgiving, take an opportunity to treat yourself.
Because each act of self-love is a message to yourself that you are grateful for all you’ve achieved.
Experience All the Love, Joy and Ease You Deserve This Thanksgiving Holiday
Thanksgiving is a time of family, appreciation and joy.
While you’re giving away your love and gratitude to your precious loved ones, remember to share some of it with yourself.
Because you deserve it.
This Thanksgiving, I pray that you stay safe, healthy and peaceful. And I also want to thank YOU for doing your part in filling your own cup so you can better support those around you.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
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