Simplify and Connect: Tips to Build Relationships
When you want something these days, you can easily go on your phone and get whatever it is you desire. Whether it be a product, information, an answer, a date… You have access to so much in the palm of your hand.
This is great and can make our lives easier in many ways, but it can also complicate things. Too much stuff can start to come between you and another person. I am not just talking clutter in your home. I am referring to all things, like activities, schedules, screens, social media, or whatever consumes you.
For any relationship to be successful, there needs to be certainty. Certainty is created with predictability, security, a sense of knowing and feeling safe. It is a basic emotional need we all have but it is also basic to the relationship.
With so much going on in our lives and coming into our homes these days, it is creating clutter. We clutter our homes, our minds and our lives with too much. An uneasiness creeps in and we are left feeling like our need for certainty has been abandoned.
Does this impact your relationship with your spouse, partner, child, or friend? You better believe it does!
There are a number of ways you can create certainty in your life and relationships. Finding ways to build in predictability is a great start. Beware not to over focus on this emotional need since you will also want to focus on others, like love and contribution. You can build from a place of certainty. Establishing clarity around your home, life and relationships can help you to feel grounded and more certain so you are free to focus on building in excitement, love, growth and ways to give to others—and meet other emotional needs.
Declutter & Simplify
Yes…starting with decluttering your living environment. This is an easy place to start. Begin to clear away that “junk” drawer, clothes, books, papers, etc. Focus on creating an environment that is soothing and simple. Bonus, when you build in donations while you are at this task, you can also meet the need for contributing to others and good causes, so donate whatever is usable, good and working.
You can also declutter your schedules and activities. If you are a parent, then you know all too well how activities can just get out of control. Unfortunately, busy schedules plaques most of us. Begin exploring what activities you can reduce, space out or end all together to help minimize a busy schedule. Practice saying “No” in a kind and firm manner so that you are not involving yourself or a family member in too much. You may have to say no to that school parent activity or an outing with some friends.
Reduce screens in your home so that you are more present in your own life and with others. Watching television, the Ipad, computer screen or your phone screen are all distractions and can create disconnection. Try swapping out a screen with exercise, outdoor time or a phone activity with another human being. You will feel happier and more grounded. Screens can increase irritability, aggression and also take away from the art of conversation. Not good for our young people that will one day be running this world.
Meals are another aspect of your life you can simplify. Keep meals simple with whole foods and reducing processed foods. In my home, we eat the same meals on the same days of the week to keep things really simple. For example, Mondays we have waffles for breakfast and a chicken meal for dinner (which, I usually rotate 3 different chicken dishes to give a little variety). On Tuesdays we eat hot cereal for breakfast with toast and tacos for dinner. I am free to spice things up from time to time, but it makes my life easier knowing what we are having on each day, not only when it comes time to plan that day’s meal but when I am shopping, too. My family knows what is for dinner and it helps to avoid issues with the kids.
The last thing I want to address is talking. I personally like to share stories with my husband and talk with my kids. Sometimes just being quiet, however, is best. Too much chatter can also be overwhelming, maybe for your partner and definitely a child. Be mindful to listen more or just sit with another person. Watch and observe…not everything needs to be discussed. This is especially important with kids. Be mindful of what you are talking about too. Is it negative? Does it hurt someone? Is it true? Kids especially do not need to hear adult conversations so table that for when you are alone with another adult.
Decluttering and simplifying helps to create a calmness and a sense of certainty. When that certainty is present, the space for connection is open. You will feel this in your own life but it also helps to create it for the relationship, too. When you have less to worry about, you are more available and you can both feel at ease with less distractions all around you. You can feel more certain together and build from here.
Take time to connect more. Play together. Talk more with each other. Talk less about the negative. Sleep more and feel rested. These tips will help you to feel more confident and connected in your relationships. Some of these suggestions may seem too difficult—but no worries. You can always put it into action for a couple weeks and then revisit to see how helpful it is.
Celebrate all your accomplishments as you move forward because we all need to recognize our efforts. Best wishes!