Which people are most important in your life? Who do you rely on for support, advice and love? Who do you turn to when you need a sounding board, a helping hand or a kick in the pants? Who drives you crazy but you love fiercely anyway?
The relationships you have with your closest loved ones are rich and complicated. They are fundamental to who you are, bringing you joy and helping you take on the obstacles in life. But they also cause you stress and challenge you constantly.
How can you get past negative emotions and experiences to make your relationships stronger and healthier? How do you cut through the unnecessary stuff to see what is most essential to your well being and happiness?
Journaling is a powerful tool to help you work through problems in your relationships and make your connections even stronger. This writing therapy gives you clarity to make changes in how you see yourself and how you relate to others.
Start by asking your journal:
- What are the best parts of your current relationships? What is going well?
- What are the most difficult parts of your relationships? What do you want to change?
- How do you want to be more present for people in your life?
- What do you need from other people that you don’t feel you’re getting?
Imagine that all of your close relationships – with your partner, friends, family, colleagues – are thriving and growing. What does that look like? What does that feel like? Use these images to fuel your journal writing engine.
Think about long-term investments.
When you put money into your savings account or retirement fund, you know that small contributions over a long period of time will yield the best results. It’s the same with your personal relationships.
- How are you adding to your relationship bank account every day? How are you subtracting from it?
- What are the little expressions of love – words, actions, gifts, etc. – that mean the most to the people who are important to you? Which mean the most to you?
- How do you “save for a rainy day,” making sure you have enough affection, encouragement and admiration to get you through tough spots in your relationships? What else can you do?
Focus on one at a time.
Choose one of the relationships you’ve written about, and make a commitment to put energy into nurturing it this week. Start today.
- What can you do immediately to work on one of the parts of your relationship that needs attention?
- What type of friend, spouse, sibling, etc. do you want to be? What is one way you can be more considerate or supportive?
- What do you want to make sure the other person knows? How can you communicate this message?