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CPR for Relationships

How We Kill Our Relationships and How to Bring Them Back To Life

by Faye Landey, CL Trainer

Sometimes relationships go sour, and in the heat of the moment, it may be difficult to show up with a listening ear and a caring heart.

Let’s explore the problem from a systemic point of view rather than incident by incident.   The incidents that show up regularly from a systemically sour relationship may temporarily resolve themselves over time, but no doubt the same argument will most certainly reemerge when times again become stressful or tense.  It is easy to be calm when things are going well.   And you may find the same type of conflicts or hurts rearing their ugly head over and over.

Because we are communal beings by nature, you probably find yourself in a variety of relationships that cover a broad spectrum of your life including work, school, family, your faith based groups, and numerous other formal or informal gatherings, any one of which can go sour at any moment.

Let’s explore one possible system that you have the power to transform even though it may not seem to be the easiest at first glance.   First and foremost let’s take a look at the system of your own inner-self being.  When things go awry it is so much a part of our learned culture to blame and find fault with the external factors – it just comes automatically and like a knee jerk reaction, the words that come out are instantaneous and unconscious.    

Habitually it is easier to criticize others for the woes of the world than to examine what is going on inside of yourself.   The problem with judging others unfavorably is that the solution is rarely effective.  I tried for years to overpower or manipulate or demean others in hopes that they would act better, be nicer, work harder or just shape up!   I criticized my husband, blamed my co-workers, punished my children, and insulted the teller at the bank.  To little or no avail other than to slowly kill off the relationships.   And I felt bitter, not better.

It seemed impossible to keep my mouth shut when I knew I was right and they were wrong.  I often just wanted to help them by showing them a better or smarter way to be.  I kept trying to find a more convincing way to get them to do what I wanted.  I wondered why my friends and family were just not listening to me!  Most of the time my intention was simply “for their own good.”.    

Had I taken a closer look at my own intentions and choices, I would have known that my campaigning originated out of my own fear or anger – not their imperfections.    

Now things are different in my life.  I observe rather than criticize.  I listen rather than convince. I connect rather than correct.  I hold my own and others’ needs with compassion rather than try to fix or change.

How did I do it?  While it is still a work in progress, I have changed my own internal system by asking myself one simple question in any circumstance, “how is this going for me?”  If the answer is favorable, then I stay the path.  If I find discontent or angst or overwhelm or fear or anger or guilt rather than peace and harmony, then I look inside to find a way to re-fuel my own compassion.

Taking care of my own needs in a way that does not comprise or harm another is not as hard or complicated as I thought it would be.   A simple inventory of what needs are being met and what needs are not being met transformed my capacity to be present to others with care and compassion.   And you know what?  Changing my part in the system changed the relationship!  Those relationships got better and better and easier and easier.  I realized I was not a victim - I had choice and control of my own countenance!!  When I had a peaceful countenance, I found the capacity to be more present to others.  The other person did not have to change!  And an added benefit - I learned how to ask for what I want in a way that produces results more times than not.  Miracle?  Call it what you want, I like life and those around me now better than ever.

Want to learn more about ways to bring relationships back to life?  Join us for a free Teleclass, How we kill our relationships, and how to bring them back to life, on Saturday, February 18 at 4pm US-PT,  7pm US-ET, 11am in Sydney (on Sunday) for a Taste of Compassionate Leadership.  If you have registered before, you are already registered for all the free teleclasses.  You will receive an email 8 hours before the call with your dial-in number and pin.  If you have not previously registered, click here to register now:

Or go to Free Teleclasses on the website:  to register and  listen to previous teleclasses.

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