How to Get Along

Pour yourself a cup of tea. Get comfy. Take a couple of deep breaths. Just for a moment, relax. Let go of the day and just for a few minutes, rest. You can do it. You deserve it. Clear your mind. Breathe into those thoughts and let them go.

Imagine your family getting along. Watch yourself and everyone else moving through an entire day loving, encouraging and peacefully interacting with each other. See your family helping with all the things that need doing in a cooperative way. Notice how wonderful it feels to be so completely in the rhythm of your family. Breathe in the peace and contentment.

Put that vision into a bubble, and let it float off. Trust that this or something better is now part of your life.

Pipe Dream? It will be if you think it can’t happen, or if you don’t do what it takes to get there. “Ah, a catch!” you say, yep, there’s a catch, you have to work on it, everyday. It’s easier than you think.

Here’s what you need to know:

Children learn how to treat others by how you parents treat each other and other adults. What you see is what they’ve seen.

Clean up your interactions. Speak to each other as you would to dear friends. When you mess up, and you will, take it back, apologize and start over. Give yourself and them a break. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s when we suffer over our mistakes that we make things worse. For just one day, let yourself and everyone off the hook.

If you get stuck in emotions or obsessive thoughts, breathe. Sit with the discomfort and breathe. Gather all that thought and energy into a box and toss it into a volcano in your mind’s eye. Feel a sense of relief when the box bursts into flame. Imagine that energy being transformed into something useful. Teach everyone in the family how to do it.

Remind each other that we can only be in charge of ourselves. We can’t MAKE anyone else do what we want. This is a tricky one. Focus on your willingness to let go of needing to be in charge. If you insist on being in charge all the time no one will want to be with you. Worse yet the children will imitate you and want to be in charge too. Your spouse will rebel. You won’t be fun. Won’t have much fun either. You may as well go out and eat some worms. Easier to let go of needing to have your way all the time.

Start taking better care of yourself. Treat yourself as you would someone you really love. Eat more veggies. Go outside and walk. Play hide and seek. Have fun. Move. You will clear your head and sleep better. Do it with family and friends.

Have meetings to talk about ways to get along with each other. Discuss everyone’s needs. Brainstorm on how to meet them. Explore ways to accept others ideas and opinions. Look at your issues as a puzzle to solve. Try out your solutions for a week. Fine tune every week.

Be the first one to admit your part in a problem. So often our children try to place blame outside of themselves because we do not accept responsibility for our actions and words.

Expand your circle of friendships. Set up get togethers with folks you might not have in the past. If we spend enough time with someone, we will find common ground. Teach and model open mindedness and tolerance.

Help your family develop compassion by exploring what the other person experiences in an incident or interaction. Try role play.

Decide how to deal with conflict. If possible try to come to some closure in the moment. This will only happen if all parties are able to stay respectful. Use a talking stick to give each person uninterrupted air time. Focus on “I” messages. “I feel...” “I think....” “I felt...when you did...” “I need...” “Next time I will do...differently.”

If emotions are running high try these approaches (practice with the family before you need it.)

Cool off.
Do something to help yourself feel better.
Breathe through the emotions that come up.
Journal, write down your thoughts and feelings without censoring them, then shred the pages.
Focus on what YOU will do.
If possible sleep on it so you can look at it with a fresh mind.
Ask for help in dealing with YOUR problem.
Come up with solutions together.
Cultivate the practice of allowing your family members to have their feelings, ideas and beliefs. Teach them to fix their own problems. Say sympathetic, compassionate things: “Tell me all about it.”, “Your ideas are important to me.”

If your child is fully IN an emotional state:

“Have a good cry and let it all out.”

Then listen, nod and parrot back what you heard:

“She took my doll!”
“She took your doll?”
“Yeah, then she ran away!”
“Mmm, then she ran away?”

Keep doing this until your child gets it all out and then:

“Gosh, what are you going to do about it?”

Help your child come up with an appropriate solution.

If your child is new at this offer to help. Model what to say and do by actually speaking for your child and acting in a respectful way.

You will know your children are ready to do more on their own when you see them doing what you’ve practiced. Then if they try to involve you:

“I trust you to solve this on your own. I can’t wait to hear how you do it.”

During meetings practice ways to handle various situations. Help your family understand that when others treat us poorly it is about them, not us.

Instead of demanding that your child say they are sorry in the moment, say it for them. Give them time to cool off and later help them to write an apology note:

“Dear____, I apologize for ______. The next time I will do_____ instead. To make amends I will do____for/with you.”
Recognize when folks around you try to bait you: “Oh! You almost got me that time! That was close!” Then walk away so you can’t engage.

Just for today;

Speak lovingly.

Visualize your family getting along.

Let everyone think and feel what they want.

Have faith that with time your family will get along with the world.

Be the best person you can be.

keys to getting along

Cultivate peace in your own mind and heart.
Accept other’s ideas.
Focus on what YOU can do.
Let go of trying to make others do...
Respect other’s beliefs.
Teach HOW to do it.
Clean up your mistakes gracefully.
Focus on one thing each day.
Fake it till you make it.

how to say it

“I am listening.” (Then listen until they are done.)
“I love and accept you.”
“You are more important to me than being right.”
“Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.”
“How can I help you?”
“What do you think we should do?”
“Let’s figure this out together.”
“I admit I made a mistake, I apologize.”
“Next time I will do...instead.”