By: Ke’Ana Lampkins
One thing parenthood and marriage has taught me, if nothing else, is that I got a lot of issues. Relationships, in general, are hard. You have two people trying to co-exist while dealing with their stuff. This could be in a romantic relationship, friendships, or even with family. These relationships take a lot of work because both individuals have to be willing to own their baggage and work through it to keep the relationship healthy to make it work.
But children, they are a whole different ball game. When you have your children, it usually sends you down memory lane of your own childhood. It can lead to a lot of self-reflection, what you feel your parents did right or what you feel they did wrong. This can lead to a lot of different reactions on your part. You may want to recreate family traditions from your childhood that were special to you. It could also lead to you reacting out of fear or undealt with hurt and anger when you are triggered by something your child does or doesn’t do. These things are usually difficult to see beforehand or even in the midst of situations some times, which can cause uneven expectations or responses on your part.
Whether you are a parent or just trying to have healthy relationships with those special people in your life, it’s important to be self-aware! Here are a few quick tips to garner healthy relationships with yourself and others.
- It’s important to be someone who is constantly seeking self-improvement or growth (without the prompt of someone else). Have you ever been with someone where you felt that you were having the same conversation with them over and over again? That was frustrating, wasn’t it? Probably because you felt that that person was not hearing you or changing. If someone doesn’t want to be better for themselves, it is going to be very difficult for them to be better for someone else. News flash: you can’t change anyone but yourself.
- Reflect on your past and current relationships through a critical lens. It’s easier to blame others and look at their wrongdoings than to look at why you may respond a certain way. It’s important to find the roots of behavior to change it. Be willing to reflect on your childhood and other pivotal relationships. If you are unsure where to start, here are some prompts you can start with. What type of attachment did you have to your parents and why? How does that affect the type of attachments you want your kids to have to you? Is the attachment your child has to you what you want them to have?
- Some people have had an amazing child or have already done the work to deal with any baggage from that span of their life. It is still important to self-reflect on other relationships in your life, to look for any pot-holes that may have negatively impacted you. Did your last significant other create trust issues for you? Did you have a devastating experience with a friend that is making it hard for you to open up to others? What are the areas for improvement in your relationships with those who are important to you? If you are unsure reflect on things that have been shared to you as areas of concern or frustration from others and look for similarities to find common issues to work through.
- If you can’t get a therapist (which I highly recommend), find yourself a soundboard or an accountability partner. It’s important to have someone who can hold you accountable for your self-growth. This should be someone who won’t be afraid to call you out with love, and who has wisdom and can help you see things clearly when you can not. Try to confide in the same person for all things related to this topic so that they have a track record and can remind you of the growth and challenges you have faced before.
- Give yourself grace, no one is perfect, and one thing that we are promised in this world is to have trouble, no matter what you believe in. The key is to managing your emotions and your stressors as you deal with and address the problems that arise in your life. And more times than not, the trouble that occurs in our lives is at the hands of others or involves them or impacts those close to us. We must remember to give ourselves the grace and allowance to not be perfect but to also allow others to not be perfect also. This means forgiveness but we’ll talk about that later.
Nobody is perfect, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t going through something. And as I said earlier, life isn’t going to be problem-free. But how you face and deal with the issues that arrive in your life have deep roots into your past, and sometimes your childhood. Even if you feel like that isn’t true, your past (whether it’s your childhood or not) will always impact your future. If you are not cognizant and aware of this impact and make very deliberate decisions, create healthy boundaries with your self and others. It will be challenging to have a healthy future with your self and those you care about. It’s important to evaluate your struggles and their roots so that you can have a healthier future.
Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni