Tension is real. Baggage is destructive. And relationships can be outright difficult. But, it’s possible to improve every one of your relationships this year.
It’s not enough to just be a good friend, girlfriend, wife, mom. or grandmother, or even a good boss or employee. You can be all of the above with some simple ways to care for yourself in a way that ultimately helps you care more for others.
Here are five ways to improve all of your relationships:
- Rely on God to meet your emotional needs.
Relationships become strained when you look to others to meet certain emotional needs that only God can meet. When you seek your affirmation, sense of identity or purpose from someone else that becomes a burden too heavy for them to bear. Find your identity and reason for living in who you are in God’s eyes and all that you have when you are His (Ephesians 1). Don’t expect someone else to relieve your fear of being alone. Find your security in the fact that God will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
When you depend on God to fill your emotional tank, you’ll have the reserves to build up others and affirm them rather than drain them dry with what you need. Someone who sucks the life and energy out of others is not someone others enjoy being around. Make sure you are letting God meet your emotional needs, not putting an unrealistic expectation on those closest to you.
2. Cut the worry.
Seriously. No one wants a worrier in their life. To adult children, a parent who worries is exhausting. To a spouse, one who worries is all consuming. To a friend, one who worries can be downright annoying. Philippians 4:6-7 specifically tells us “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).
Instead of being a panicked worrier, be a prayer warrior and show others that when you – or they – have a concern, you will not worry, but immediately take it to God in prayer. Who wouldn’t want a friend, spouse, parent, or child like that?
3. Take care of yourself.
No one wants to be around someone who is stressed, over-worked, and running on empty. If you’re not exercising proper boundaries around your time, schedule, and relationships, you can come across as someone who is distant, too busy to care, or high maintenance without realizing it.
If you’re constantly scrolling through your phone when you’re in the presence of others, you are letting them know your work, your social media networks, or constant interruptions from others are more important than they are. Take care of yourself by giving yourself permission to be away from work, your phone, or distractions. Invest in your self-care with some physical pampering like a massage or meaningful time away with those you love. You may even choose to see a biblical counselor or therapist to “unload” on so you don’t unload on others. People who don’t take time to rest, slow down, and take care of themselves (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) can tend to drain others. So be a builder, not a drainer, by taking time to care for yourself so others don’t have to spend their time and energy caring for you.
4. Be grateful.
If you are one who constantly sees the glass as half-empty, waits for the other shoe to fall, or points out why something is not a good plan (without coming up with a better one), you may be seen as a critical person or negative energy in the room. First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).
Do you realize you are actually living out the will of God simply by being grateful in all things? You can also be improving your relationships at the same time because a positive attitude and grateful spirit can lift others’ moods and change the perspective and overall tone of an entire meeting, conversation or relationship.
5. Be humble.
Pride offends, injures, and can even devastate relationships. Pride often leads to resentment and bitterness which separates friends. Pride rears its ugly head when someone tells you something about yourself that you don’t want to hear or when you feel slighted in some way. The opposite of pride is humility. I’m not implying you should tolerate cruel treatment or inconsiderate behavior. Rather, I am suggesting you maintain a humble heart that seeks to be Christ-like and drama free in your actions and reactions.
Scripture tells us: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). That’s the ingredient to a healthy relationship…one in which you give, rather than take. A person of pride takes, must always be first, and constantly feels entitled. A person who is humble is a servant and habitually gives. Another way to say this is “treat others as well as (if not better than) you’d like to be treated.”
Which one of these relationship helps do you find most helpful and are willing to focus on this week? I’d love to hear it in the comment section below.
(For help with your relationships now, see my books, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs and Drama Free.)
I love this. So many great truths, they all resonate with me, Thank you!
You’re welcome, Nancy. Thank you for taking the time to let me know they resonated with you. 🙂
How reassuring to hear you share God’s wise words. Thank you
You’re welcome, Joni. Thanks for reading and responding, as always. 🙂
Dear Cindi, when I was women’s ministry director at Peninsula Community Church in Palos Verdes, you came to speak twice. The women still remember you with fondness and appreciation. Thank you for ministering to our ladies.
My husband and I are moving out of state. We are sad to leave Peninsula Community Church. I will never forget you.
(My last name when you came to our church was Zucker)
Sallie, I remember you well (under both last names)! 🙂 Thank you for dropping me a line and letting me know you and your ladies still remember my teaching. Best wishes to you as you join the throng that is leaving California. I trust God is going before you and will lead you to just the right place to fellowship with other believers and serve Him with your giftedness. Many blessings to you.
Dang, girl. Thank you for bringing the Word to my life.
Really in the throes of life w autis, alzheimers, preemies, puppy (🥰) and all things in between
EVEN THOUGH I “KNOW” ALL THIS, I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS
God bless you!
Awww, thank you, Amy. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know my “reminder” to you helped. We all know these things, like you said, but just need the reminders now and then, myself included. So nice to hear from you. Have a great day and God’s blessings to you, too. 🙂
God has blessed me beyond measure with a wonderful husband n two sons
Hubby is not a believer
He is now 69 very healthy
But my mind is ticking —-he’s running outta time to come to Jesus
I have prayed for 30 years gif his salvation
Our sons are believers but youngest very vocal
I prayed Dad still not saved
He is 31—doesn’t want to
Hear anything about God
I pray constantly
Oldest 33— is a believer but not living gif the Lord and now lives with young lady -mom of 4 little ones. Beat by spouse n left—-son has just stepped in and loves n provides for them
I reminded him one day—-giving the children mixed signals as u live with their mom n attend church
Mom I am doing the best I can
Enemy hard at work
Of late I do more groaning than praying
Cannot seem to figure out how or what to
Say to any of them
I pour into the children
6,5,3,2 yr olds
Open for help n suggestions
Peggy, any of my books (and many of my free articles) on my website would give you the encouragement you need right now. We don’t worship God for what He does for us,…we worship Him for Who He is and what He’s ALREADY done for us on the cross through His beloved son, Jesus. I know it’s difficult to know how to pray sometimes, but my books, When Women Walk Alone and When a Woman Inspires her Husband both might help you in your perseverance and relationship with your unsaved husband. My book, Women on the Edge might help you right now, as well as Drama Free — as it gives practical Scriptural advice on how to trust God in the day-to-day drama that comes our way. And my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, will help you surrender those sons of yours to God, who loves them even more than you do. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and what He’s allowing. 🙂
Thank you Cindi for the Biblical verses, the Godly encouragement and wisdom you share ❤️. Loneliness has been overwhelming at times but I am truly realizing I am never, ever alone, God is always with me!!
Thanks, Linda, for your heartfelt response. Watch for an article of mine at Crosswalk.com in the coming week or two called “How to Stay Encouraged When Life is Lonely.”