Cultivating Joy In Our Relationships

As we around the world have to get used to an ever-changing landscape of daily life, one aspect of what comes sharply into focus in how relationships tend to need some readjustment.  For most of us, we have settled into routines in our relationships; that could be with our partners, spouses, children, friends and anyone else that we love.  With any relationship, at any time, it is easy to take it for granted and expend less energy on maintaining connection.  This is oftentimes not even an issue, until something happens.  Something like a pandemic, betrayal, loss of life or even just minor inconveniences.  We forget to add a component of intention into our relationships and this causes them to suffer, we get irritated with our spouses when they are working from home, our children don’t pick up their socks or toys during times when they are on school holidays.  Little annoyances can turn into big feuds and hurt feelings and resentments become the norm.

During times like these, finding joy is not just a good idea it is essential; especially in our close relationships.  And to find joy, you have to cultivate it, tend to it and ensure that joy and subsequently love, grow.  We can reconnect with one another and ourselves by taking small steps daily to develop this greater sense of joy. 

Be kind and thoughtful:  Instead of an inward focus on ourselves, being able to focus our attention outward and acknowledge our loved ones helps to make us feel more connected to them.A simple “thank you” or checking in with someone is a simple way to be both kind and thoughtful.

Let go of blame: In our close relationships, we often will become frustrated with our spouses, our children, our parents even our friends when they fall short of our expectations.  Sometimes we want to find fault with others to alleviate our own sense of frustration and anger.  Blame is anger, accountability encourages acceptance and connection.  So when feeling like you want to blame a loved one for something, stop and think about what you are feeling, share that.  This will create connection and allow for more authentic connection in your relationships. 

 Practice Gratitude: During times when we are stuck together in close quarters, have been devastated by loss or are simply mustering every last bit of patience in our day, it can be helpful to take a pause and be thankful for our loved ones.  Even when we are hurt or challenged by their actions, finding gratitude for having them in your life can shift the perspective so that a little clarity can enter.

Written by:
Sanaa Lundgren
Counsellor & Collaborative Family Practitioner
MS Soc (Counselling

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