Perhaps nothing is as important in our lives as our relationships with other people. It has often been said that a happy family is the key to success. Often we can get much joy from our memories of the good times. But it is also true that the relationships that provide us with so much happiness can also be a source of stress and pain.
It is often said that our interpersonal relationships can increase our stress level. There is a balance to having successful relationships and we have to work hard to ensure that our relationships do not get the better of us.
This means focusing our attention on the inherent stressors within relationships, and doing our best to eliminate or at least reduce stress where possible.
Many of the major stressors in relationships can spring from communication problems. For instance, you may become angry at your mate because he or she fails to do jobs around the house. However, the bigger issue at stake is the fact that you feel as if your mate doesn’t really love and respect you. By bridging the communication gap—by expressing what your needs are in an assertive, loving and supportive way—you can help ease the tension in your relationship. When things remain unsaid the pressure can build.
Another source of stress can be a feeling that your partner is not supportive of your efforts, either at home or at work. You may feel as if they don’t appreciate all your hard work and effort. This could, in turn, lead you to attempt to overachieve, thinking that, by doing so you will win your partner’s support and love. Such a tactic could backfire, causing you more stress than you need.
Relationships with your partner may not be the only relationship that is causing you stress. You may also be burdened by problems in your relationship with your wider family. You might feel that your parents disapprove of your career choice, your choice of partner or lifestyle, or your choices when it comes to parenting your children.
The fear of disapproval can lead to tension that can, in turn, give rise to stress. By trying to understand the perspective of others you can help smooth out the tensions in your relationship.
You may attempt to boost your self-confidence, as far as your decision-making capability is concerned. This will help you to recognize the fact that your parents’ disapproval will not break you—that you can learn from their criticism and can become a better person for it.
Sibling rivalries can also cause a great deal of stress. You might feel as if you constantly need to compete with your brother or sister—that you need to have the better car, the perfect partner, the bigger house, the more prestigious job. If this is the case, you might need to re-order your priorities.
Recognize that your brother or sister is a talented individual, that he or she should be respected and appreciate but that competition between siblings is seldom helpful and more often counter-productive. Once you stop trying to openly compete, you might find that your sibling calls a halt to the competition as well. In this way, you can both learn to find common ground—to work together rather than against each other.
You might experience stress in your relationship with one of your co-workers. You might experience continual conflict, as you continue to disagree on the most minuscule details. If the conflict appears to be overwhelming, you may need intervention by a supervisor in order to get your stress level under control. The worst thing you could do is to let things simmer until they reach the boiling point.
It should be noted here that you cannot eliminate stress entirely from your relationships. However, it is possible to minimize it. By engaging in effective communication, trying to view conflicts from the other person’s perspective, and dealing with differences of opinion openly and honestly, you can reduce the amount of stress in your interpersonal relationships.
To find out how Counselling, Therapy and our Communication Workshops could help you achieve more happiness in your life contact Birmingham Contact services on 0121 314 7075 or via the Contact page of this website.