I do not like to fight with family anymore. I try to keep tension with friends to a minimum.
When a disagreement is brewing or an opinion is raised, which I do not agree with, I have learned to keep quiet.
I have learned to value the process of reflection.
I have learned to rely on venting to trustworthy third parties and allowing conversations to settle, before providing my feedback.
It can be difficult to sustain relationships for a lifetime, and the only theory which I find works best for me is to respond later than sooner.
I find that a lot of rude, hurtless or thoughtless comments tend to be tossed very easily to loved ones.
We all do this; we are snappy when we get home from work, but somehow managed to keep our composure all day with colleagues. We scrutinize every detail of family events to make sure we were not slighted in any way.
I no longer do this. I have had hurtful conversations with loved ones lately, but they are one way; I do not engage, fight or yell. I try to remain as neutral, civil and level headed as possible and if I feel myself starting to bubble over, I remove myself from the situation.
It is easier said than done, but I know my mental health thanks me for every conversation I stop short. I do not even think loved ones are realizing what I am doing because they cannot see the tension because it takes two for tension. If they ask me something I am not okay with doing, make a comment that I feel is inappropriate or make an unasked for recommendation to my life, I simple keep my composure.
I talk less, I listen more and what I have realized is that talking was the root of my problems.
Even if a situation sparks a flame of anger in me, by walking away, when I think about it a day, week or month later, the flame has most likely blown out. By not reacting I am able to keep my relationships afloat.
Am I pushover?
No, I have clear boundaries, but I no longer yell or speak quickly. Am I quiet, even when I have something to say? Sometimes, but you learn a lot in silence and only select things when talking.
I have learned what my loved ones value, what they fear and how they handle stress or difficult situations. When they lash out, I can now start seeing where the root of the hurt is coming from, and I am not the cause.
Life is long and keeping a family together for the journey is tough, so I would rather be a bit more silent and enjoy the peaceful journey than choose to succumb to the chaos.