This post is adapted from the Single Parent Advocate webinar I gave recently on cultivating better relationships. To be notified when the full video recording is available, subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
“The quality of our life depends on the quality of our relationships.” —Tony Robbins
Relationships are the driving force behind everything we do. Our relationships with our children, partner (or future partner), God, neighbors, family members, friends, and even ourselves have the power to give you a fulfilling life no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. You can have plenty of money, a great career, a beautiful home, the best vacations, and all the recognition in the world—but if your relationships are strained, it’s incredibly difficult to experience the joy of anything going *right* in your life.
I could live in a tiny apartment with my husband and still be okay. Another recession could happen and I know we’ll be fine. I could go down a very dark path and make it out alright because I know that God is watching over us.
But how do we actually cultivate better relationships?
Cultivating A Better Relationship With Ourselves
Cultivating our relationship with ourselves comes first. Cultivating more self-love and self-worth allows us to become who we were meant to be, create the beliefs that we deserve love and happiness, create the best versions of ourselves, and create the best relationships with others.
CHOOSE TO KEEP THE BELIEFS THAT SERVE YOU AND TRANSFORM THE ONES THAT DON’T.
Psychologists have determined that our core beliefs about ourselves and the world develop before age 7. When we identify those core beliefs, it allows us to look at them objectively—we can look at them for what they are, not as the absolute trust about the world. Are the beliefs you hold on to your beliefs? Or are they the beliefs of your family or friends? After you objectively determine what your beliefs are, you have the power to consciously cultivate beliefs that help you build up your sense of self-worth, self-love, and confidence, and let go of beliefs that are limiting and keeping you from creating strong, healthy, loving relationships.
IT’S NOT THE EVENT THAT CREATES YOUR BELIEFS…IT’S THE STORY WE CREATE AROUND THE EVENTS THAT CREATES OUR BELIEFS.
When I was 4, a teenage boy molested me. The stories I created from that experience turned into my core “beliefs,” which were: Men only want me for sex. I am broken. I am damaged goods. I am worthless. I will never be good enough. Are these statements true? In any circumstance would you say those things to a child? No, you wouldn’t. But the story I spun around in my head for most of my life created those beliefs.
How can you begin to work through your limiting beliefs? Start by replacing “I am” statements with “I feel” statements.
“I am broken.” “I feel broken because I was abused.” “I am damaged goods.” “I felt like I was damaged goods.”
The story you create around life-altering events does not have to rule your life. Take away the permanency of “I am,” and give yourself the freedom to create a healthy mental environment that will allow you to thrive and grow your self-worth and confidence exponentially.
WE ARE NOT JUST ONE THING. WE TEND TO FOCUS ON OUR MISTAKES AND FAULTS. WHAT IF WE WROTE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT MAKES US US?
Look at the whole picture. We are not the sum total of things we don’t like about ourselves. We are complete beings—that includes trauma and imperfections, but also includes your accomplishments and things that make you proud of yourself. Spend time identifying your gifts first. Develop some love for what you already have first. After that, you can find other parts of yourself that you would love to work on, which is great! We are always a work in progress, and making progress no matter how small is one of the ways we cultivate joy and self-love.
Cultivating Better Relationships with Your Children
ANOTHER LIMITING BELIEF FROM MY UPBRINGING WAS THAT WORKING MOMS CAN’T BE GOOD MOMS
There is so much perceived pressure being a parent. Especially being a single parent… But from PTA’s, volunteering, sports, church, music, lessons, Your mom thinks you need to do this… Your dad thinks you should do that… Your ex thinks this… Their parents think that. Everyone has different opinions. I found myself exhausted and running ragged trying to keep up the appearances that I wasn’t, well, exhausted and running myself ragged! Leah’s hair can’t be a tangled mess, I can’t be late, shoes have to match, I have to pick them up on time… But guess what?
Your children weren’t given to your mom, aunt, sister, ex-in-laws, friends, or neighbors. They were given to you. Stop a moment to examine what is most important to you, for your child, and your family. Then you can be guided to what you all need the most, and you can make small, quantifiable goals that reflect those beliefs and priorities.
CREATE SMALL, QUANTIFIABLE GOALS
What do you want to accomplish in your family? What do your children need the most from you?
Think about what’s most important to you, and what your children need the most from you.
You can’t accomplish “I want to be a better mom or dad,” but if you make a small, quantifiable goal, you can take action and change your mind!
Some could be: Read for 30 minutes every night, have a game night once a week, go on an outing every Saturday, have dinner at the table most nights.
Cultivating Your Relationship with Your Future Partner
God didn’t make Adam and Eve separately. He didn’t put them on their own individual planets and say, “You’re on your own. Best of luck buddy, peace out.” Were we supposed to be solo warriors for the rest of our lives? No—we need each other. We need a partner. We deserve a partner. God has a partner in mind for you right now. So, we have to go to battle every day to be closer to God so that we can hear what he is telling us to do.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
What if your life is like a book, and it has 400 chapters. What if the divorce chapter was chapter 12, the single parent chapters happening now are chapter 13-20….what do you think Chapter 21 could be about???? You don’t know what you don’t know! God is getting him ready while He’s getting you ready. What if the person who is perfect for you in going through a divorce right now? What if he or she moving to your city next month? Let go of the timing and focus INWARD.
Why even think about your future partner? It helps you stay on track to becoming the person you want to become. You only attract who you ARE, not who you WANT. So you have to become the person you want to be in order to attract the person that will love you cherish you and adore you forever. Doing the internal work to become like the person you want to attract allows you to call that person into your life.
Cultivating A Better Relationship With God
When I got kicked out of Brigham Young University for breaking the Honor Code & being outcasted, I drove to Arizona. I started smoking and drinking, hated religion, and didn’t even believe that God existed. But God was still there all along.
You’ve never been alone. You may feel that way sometimes—I sure did. But faith is knowing that when you feel alone, that feeling is not a truth. It’s not reality. It’s just a feeling. Remember: It’s not I am alone, it’s I feel alone.
WHEN WE DON’T HAVE FAITH OR PRAY, IT’S LIKE GOD IS CALLING US, AND WE NEVER PICK UP THE PHONE.
Communication with God is not a one-way street! Prayer is us talking to God, and our intuition is God talking to us. When you have faith and pray, you open that line of communication. You allow yourself to receive the guidance he’s trying to communicate to you. He will lead you down the path to self-love and self-worth. You. Will. Be. Guided.
PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
We go to battle every day to conquer our challenges. That fight begins within us against our own negative thoughts. The fight we are in is against evil, negativity, work pressures, illnesses, financial pressures, court battles.. you name it.
As a guest on Ed Mylett’s podcast, Jay Shetty said your morning routine is like putting on your armor for the day. I like to think of faith as your spiritual armor. When nothing makes sense to us, faith is knowing that it wasn’t meant to make sense right now. God has already made sense of all of it. He knows what we don’t know.
But when you read Ephesians 6, you realize that faith is actually only part of the armor.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We’re constantly under attack – from the media, social media, negativity from our friends or family members. Faith, prayer, quietness, gratitude, and a few moments each morning of reflection is our armor. That’s all we need! We have everything we need to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked! That gives us courage.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”—Mary Anne Radmacher
When we keep our focus on cultivating better relationships with everyone around us, we gain courage. Taking the smallest, teeniest littlest tiny steps each day helps us make the courageous choice to keep going. Try again tomorrow.
Wishing you lots of love,