Last week I shared with a group of folks a few of the principles that can guide us in our experience with various relationships. Here is a brief summary for your consideration:

  1. We have control over only what we offer in any relationship (we cannot control or change anyone else’s behavior);
  2. What may be a challenging or difficult relationship for one person may not be for another (we all respond to different challenges—differently);
  3. Some of our responses and reactions to challenging relationships are a result of our own emotional history with significant relationships;
  4. It is possible to learn more effective ways to respond to relationships that challenge us;
  5. We have the right to set limits (boundaries) on relationships that cause us significant discomfort or anxiety;
  6. There are some challenging relationships we cannot avoid because of work, home, or circumstance;
  7. We are not responsible for how someone else is relating to us—we can only be responsible for how we relate/respond to them;
  8. Jesus Christ responded differently to various relationships, and had a closer relationship with some persons than with others—including family members and friends;
  9. There are some persons who are more difficult to relate to because of their own struggles, their ineffective means of coping, or their own past experiences with damaging relationships;
  10. Changing how we relate or respond to someone else takes a steady discipline of time and energy.

Your comments are always welcome. I’ll be glad to share some suggestions on responding to the anxious, the angry, the arrogant, the dependent, the detached, the despairing, the frustrated, the manipulative, the suspicious, and the stressed experiences in life.