Our Relationships With Each Other

Posted on January 7, 2012 by


I have a fairly interesting story. My Mom was raised in an orphanage and my Dad grew up during the depression. Both are extremely conservative and I was drilled daily to be independent and to never trust anyone. I lived in a large travel trailer the first six years of my life and we moved every three to four weeks. I went to thirteen schools in eleven different states to graduate high school. I was an adult before I ever had a extended relationship with anyone. So it is easy for you to see that none of my relationships lasted very long.

All of us have a story. Many of us may have gone through childhood developing different ways to protect ourselves from hurt. A wounded person’s response may be try to avoid other people as a defense and isolate themselves from their own feelings as well as the feelings from others to protect their wounded heart. We may replace our need for other human beings with material goods and seek relationships only as an end to the means. We consume our time with work or school to prevent an opportunity to relate with others.

Another response we might develop as a effort to protect ourselves is to constantly need the affection of another person. Always wanting to cling to our parent or spouse and becoming mad at them when they pull away. We tend to be more vulnerable and have too great of a trust in the people around us. We use them as a vital source of comfort and protection and when this relationship goes bad there is more to lose and more hurt than normal. A third response maybe a combination of both. We may question our conceptual sense of ourselves and others, longing to be held by someone then pulling away at the last minute. We may feel like we are not worthy of comfort and protection and at the same time feel that others are not trustworthy or reliable.

God has programmed us in a way that feelings like anxiety, anger, sadness and guilt are used to deal with hurt and personal injuries that everyone of us will suffer some time during our life. If we never learn to develop lasting relationships our feelings can cause us to stop caring about the people around us, so life loses all of its meaning and purpose. This may cause us to turn to addictive behavior to replace our need for relationships. Negative emotions stop us from thinking and behaving rationally.  We don’t see situations in there true perspective. We tend to see only our own narrow view and only remember what we want to remember. The longer this goes on our negative emotions can become entrenched leading to disproportionate anger and violence. Our brain responds to our thoughts both mentally and physically by releasing hormones and chemicals which send us into a state of arousal. It is a complex process that affects all of us in different ways. Some of the ways we can combat these over-powering feelings are to try not to blow things out of proportion. When we feel ourselves losing control of our anger immediately tell our self that, “it is not as important as it seams.” Try to relax by using pleasant activities to take back control of your mind. Go for a walk giving  yourself plenty of time to calm down. Learn to identify events which trigger your feelings so you can react appropriately before you lose control. Constantly going over negative events in the past will only makes things worse. Exercise daily and keep yourself busy, this will lower the level of stress chemicals in your body helping you to cope better when a negative feeling occurs.

The Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.  Proverbs 12.25 HCSB

This unhealthy behavior prevents us from repairing the damage caused when another person hurts us. When we don’t accept the other persons attempt to reconcile we can create a cycle of destruction that can damage the relationship beyond repair, and hurt us even deeper causing depression and despair. Insecurity makes us even more hypersensitive to personal injury. Some of us are so insecure that we expect to be betrayed or abandoned because people have let us down in the past.

To be able to change this behavior takes courage, and  our courage grows as we obtain the knowledge necessary to invoke change.

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24 HCSB

Secure people deal with their feelings  and problems differently because they are confident in who they are. Respecting someone else’s feelings means you believe that those feelings are valid , and are based on reality and are not an attempt by the other person to manipulate you. That way you can make reasonable changes to accommodate the other person. Conflict arises out of every relationship and when you carefully regulate your anger you are creating a building block to a healthy relationship. Secure people tend to trust other people they have selected to have a relationship with. We have to be more tolerant of other peoples mistakes and try not to see their mistakes as a sign of dishonesty. We need to learn how to express in words our feelings, thoughts, and our intentions. This will allow us to better control our emotions and learn how to calm ourselves down when we are upset. This helps us to become mature rational thinking human beings who can stay calm in a crisis.

God created us with emotions to provide the energy necessary for us to respond to important decisions. When we respond to a situation emotionally while it is happening it is a primary emotional experience. In real time situations, emotions give us the power and mental ability to respond to a crisis with productive behavior.  When we try to hide our emotions it generally leads to fear and anxiety, which causes us to be depressed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being angry at someone that has hurt us, or grieving a lost loved one. However, we need to work hard at developing healthy emotions and this requires a desire to change the process through the way we react to strong emotions. We do this by recognizing negative thoughts and repairing destructive thinking habits. We look at the situation and  ask ourselves, “ What am I telling myself that is not true or accurate.” Try and find a way to look at the situation in a different perspective. Base your reaction on the truth instead of your emotions. I have a fear of people being critical of me so I tend to avoid social situations. I have found that if I confront my fears and place myself in an uncomfortable situation, not only will I grow but my faith in God with grow also.

God created us to be intimate with each other and we need to make ourselves emotionally available to our love ones.   The greatest loss we have in today’s world is the art of listening. We listen to music, we listen to the television, but we don’t listen to each other.  The only reason we do listen a lot of times is because it is our turn to talk next. You can make more friends and build substantial deeper relationships with other people simply by developing your listening skills. Good listeners are very popular with people and are usually great learners.

Good listening skills are developed just like any other basic principle of learning. You have to practice. You have to stick to the task at hand in spite of any distractions. You have to concentrate on the other person’s words and feelings. You have to focus on their thoughts. It may not help you, but it certainly helps the other person when you give them your undivided attention. Whenever there is an overreaction to a minor incident we need to pause and look past the reaction and try to discern what their true motivation is for their comment. Instead of recoiling and attacking each other, we need to respond in a tender and compassionate manner. Quiet your heart and let your mind control your reactions. Look back at the different styles of behavior on page 16 & 17 and try to predict how you might respond to certain situations before it happens.

Encourage one another; you have to have faith in them. We are supposed to build one another up and work as a team. It is an essential element in building and maintaining a positive relationship. Bestowing confidence in another person regardless of the relationship you have with them creates an atmosphere for them to succeed. Every person has the ability to do great things for others and for God when people believe in them. One way to motivate others to succeed is to remind them of their past successes and continue to have faith in them when they fail. You have to relate to people as individuals and show them that you truly care. To do this you have to take a chance and lead with your heart. I always believe that every person I meet is in someway smarter than I am and I can learn from them.

To convince someone else that you respect them, trust them and believe in them you have to have integrity. You have to have integrity in your personal affairs and in your business affairs. You have to be honest, sincere and upright. These are character traits you can not develop during a crisis. These are traits you have to live by on a daily basis. You can’t be flexible in your moral principles and still convince someone you have integrity. There isn’t any question for a Christian as to what is right or wrong. The question should be, “Will it hurt my testimony? Will actions influence others to do wrong? Will going to this place or doing this particular thing influence my weaker brother to fall back into sin?” Whether you like it or not every action you take influences others around you. Kids and adults are forming opinions about you and themselves based on everything you say and do. We are a walking, talking influence. That is why it is extremely important that we carry ourselves in a way that leads our brothers and sisters to do what is right.

You have heard my story and how it effected my life. All of us have experiences that affect the way we relate with others. Our experiences control our actions especially in the time of crisis. What is your story? How does the experiences you had when you were a child affect you? Sit down and write your story just like it would appear in a newspaper article. Tell about the things that happen to you that were painful, people that hurt you, and events that happened in your life that shaped your character. Were you angry, afraid or were you completely terrified? Talk about how you responded to the situation and how you would respond differently now.

Now take all of these childhood pains to God. Sit down in prayer and read your story to Him.

Up to now your life may have been riddled with guilt or shame because of something you felt you did wrong. You may be full of anger or hatred because of someway you were wronged by another human being. When we finally lay all of our burdens on God we can start the healing process because He is the Great Physician. God can remove our distress life may have been riddled with guilt or shame because of something you felt you did wrong. You may be full of anger or hatred because of someway you were wronged by another human being. When we finally lay all of our burdens on God we can start the healing process because He is the Great Physician. God can remove our distress We have to accept the fact that Christ is powerful enough to remove our emotional disease and is capable of healing us from within.

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

Many people deal with painful emotions by burying them. When we do this we lock ourselves into a negative personality (stopped) and our views on how a relationship works and how we should react to another person is clouded with fear, hatred or anger. We are afraid that we will be criticized or misunderstood  so we have difficulty being intimate with another person.  Release these feelings to God.

The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 Andthe peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus..  Philippians 4:5b-7 HCSB

Let Him reveal to you that your fear, hatred or anger is a sign of weakness and ask God what He is calling you to do now. Rewrite your story, repair the damages by identifying what experience you have gained through these painful; relationships in the past.

Vulnerability to others lets other people become venerable to you. Trusting others encourages other people to trust you. This enables you to talk about your feelings. It lets the two of you open up about your likes and dislikes. It , also opens you up to rejection and criticism. These are  chances a person with a secure relationship style takes everyday. God created you to be in a relationship and healthy relationships grow as a result of conflict. When we offend another person, or when someone offends us,  it gives us  an opportunity to apologize for our wrongdoing, therefore reconciliation and forgiveness is possible. This helps or relationship grow in understanding of each others feelings. It helps us to see the world from another persons perspective. It enables us to have compassion and mercy, and to restrain from aggressive responses. As you learn to understand another persons offensives, you realize that you have offended other people and you need to be forgiven too.

For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:13-19 ESV

Forgiveness begins with accepting the fact that the offence was wrong and then to stop replaying the events in your mind.  It means that you will not hold the offence against that person anymore. It is a one way process that requires you to give up your anger and let it go. Reconciliation, on the other hand is a two way process in which  whoever the offender is agrees to not do wrong again. Forgiving others allows you to forgive yourself, frees you to trust yourself and  allows you to love others without emotionally being defensive. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses ”. After all, our relationship with God reflects our relationship with others. If we have developed a strong relationship with our King and Savior , our relationship with the rest of the people on this planet should go pretty smooth.

Now, I want you to rewrite your story. Tell about the basic problems you experienced while you were growing up. Write your story so it is a trip, a travel log through time. Tell how you over came the obstacles you were confronted with. Write about how Christ changed your life and your relationship with Him and others. Show through the progression of time how you changed from being anxious and depressed to a living witness for Christ. Share your story with a friend, a family member or even a stranger. Share what you have learned in this book and what you have learned from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pass this blog on to someone else so they can have the opportunity you have had.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 ESV