The first skill for good relationships

I spend most of my time helping people learn to resolve and prevent issues in their relationships, which is a vital skill for short- and long-term satisfaction.

But the good news is that most of the time we spend connecting with people in our lives we’re not trying to address an issue.

And even in relationships where it does seem like we’re always talking about issues, there is another skill that is really helpful for us to work on developing first.

The first skill for good relationships

… is to notice, appreciate, and talk about what is working.

This is not something that comes naturally to our brains. They are designed, first and foremost, to keep us safe. They do this by constantly scanning the environment for potential threats and bringing these to our attention.

So it takes conscious effort to even notice things that are going well.

3 tips for noticing what is working

These three tips support me throughout the day…

  1. Make it a morning habit
    I used to start my days by thinking about what I needed to get done. Five years ago I made a change. I started by identifying 3 things that I appreciate each morning. They can be something that I saw or heard the previous day, something I did, or something someone did for me. I may even include things I’m remembering from the past.It was quite subtle at first, but I’ve been quite amazed at the effect this has had on my overall outlook on life. It has become much easier for me to notice, in any situation, what there is that I can appreciate – even when there are also things that I don’t like.It’s as though I do a mental reset each morning that carries forward into the rest of my day.
  2. Start and end emails with an appreciation
    What I like about this strategy is that it’s a way for me to continue to practice noticing what there is to appreciate throughout the day.Whether it’s an answer or a partial answer that someone has given me, or a question for me to answer, or even information about a concern that they have so we can address it together, I find there’s always something that I can appreciate if I take a moment to look for it.And if I can’t (or I’m not willing) to find something to appreciate, it’s a great red flag for me that I probably shouldn’t send this email right now.(Remember the tip from “The #1 myth of good relationships” about not telling people when you’re frustrated, angry, or hurt about something they have done…)
  3. Respond to “How are you?” with something you’re appreciating
    I notice that when someone asks me how I am, my automatic instinct is to say something like “Busy!” or to talk about my most recent frustration.It takes conscious effort to say “I’m so happy I got to square-dance at a family party on Saturday night. What have you been enjoying lately?”And I notice how much more pleasant the rest of the conversation tends to be when I do that. The positive way it begins seems to spread into whatever else we talk about.

Choose one to experiment with?

Are there any of these ideas that you appreciate 😉 and would like to experiment with in your life?

I’d love to hear about anything that you have discovered that works for you to bring a spirit of appreciation into your life and your relationships.

Warmly, 🙂 Glenda

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.