For years my husband and I have built, rebuilt or totally renovated homes. We are in the midst of a renovation right now and the approach we have to each home is based on what we are trying to accomplish. It can be like that for relationships too. As you begin, you have to consider the possible end result, measure the amount of work you are able or willing to put into it, the extent of tear down in order to rebuild or to work from a blueprint in building something new. You don’t have to start from scratch without a plan, because others have already done that for you. Take from their knowledge and wisdom. If parts of something existing are sad looking, but salvageable, then you do the demo a little more gently, discarding what doesn’t work, protecting what does. Remove layer by layer, until you reach a point where you reveal the beauty and start building again. If working on something new, you follow the plan, carefully placing each element exactly where it needs to be, until it’s finished. But, just like a home, maintenance is essential to keep it from ending up in disrepair or falling apart completely.
So, in order to be successful, the tools we choose for the job have to be the right ones. What type of tools do you use when dealing with your relationships? Are you:
- The Hammer – Are you the type that likes to drive your ideas and thoughts down other’s throats? Do you feel that your way is the only way? Do you think the best approach is to just “get the job done” no matter who gets hurt?
- The Wrench – Is everything based on the negative aspects of your life, like a good wrenching sob story? Do you seek out ways to make people feel sorry for you? Is your idea of holding onto someone by tightening down the pipe if you see the relationship start to leak?
- The Screwdriver – “righty tighty, lefty loosy” Do you go back and forth from one extreme to the other in your emotions and reactions? When you get nervous about things, do you either tighten up, becoming non-communicative or do you talk about things too much to your partner or friends?
- The Drill – Are you the type that constantly keeps tabs on your partner, needing to know their whereabouts or activities at all times? Do you ridicule others about their feelings or intentions? Do you feel the need to quickly get things done so that you can have control of the situation?
- The Saw – Do you knowingly or unknowingly, hack away at your relationships until they eventually fall away? Do your habits or personality traits cut away at the good things in your life? Are you always living on the edge of severing a bond that you have with someone, just waiting for it to break apart?
- The Sander – Do you keep trying to smooth your partner’s rough edges? Do you feel that life is only good when there are no bumps or ridges? Do you keep wearing the relationship down until there is nothing left?
- The Razor Knife – Do you go for the jugular all of the time to use the element of surprise? Is it all or nothing for you? When you argue with someone, are you the attacker that makes cutting remarks and leaves your opponent bleeding emotionally?
- The Pry Bar – Are you forcing people to open up to you with their emotions or thoughts? Is ripping out whatever doesn’t appeal to you your answer for fixing it? Are you always looking for what’s wrong instead of appreciating what’s right?
- The Chisel – Do you constantly chip away at your relationships, creating flaws or weakening what was once strong? Do you see a seemingly happy relationship as something you can’t handle?
- The Torch – Does it seem as though all of your relationships go up in smoke? Or do you run away the minute it gets a little too hot? Do you burn hot when your temper flares and only turn off after your partner turns into a molten mess?
These tools have a place. They can all be used for good. They can all be used for destroying things. It’s crucial to know when and what tool to use for any given situation. Using the wrong one at the wrong time can have disastrous results and possibly ruin any chance you have of a good ending. Using a tool properly matters too. Most of the time, we have to temper the way we use something because there might not be any going back to fix what we have done. We don’t always get the chance to start fresh or to rebuild what was once beautiful and worth saving. Like renovating a house, you have to recognize what you are starting with by seeing the potential. You have to take the necessary time and care to remove the blemishes, shore up the foundation, save the gems and make it something everyone can happily live in. So become a master builder by:
- If you recognize your traits as described above then it’s time to work on yourself, so that you can offer the best to your relationships. Don’t fix what doesn’t need fixing, but fix what does.
- Too many foremen and not enough workers can be a problem too. It’s good to have friends or relatives that you can talk to, but they aren’t always going to have the experience or open mindedness that you might need to help you. Advice from some might be based on negative experiences that really don’t tie into your situation. The best person to communicate with is the other person in the relationship.
- Use the tools, don’t be a tool! Realize that you have faults and habits that may need tweaking. No one is perfect, but we can be better versions of ourselves. Something about yourself might be a negative right now, but you don’t want to totally lose it if it’s serviceable when managed properly. It’s not always someone else’s fault.
- Be an apprentice by watching and learning from those that seem to be getting it right. Take what you can from that and use it yourself. Every situation is different, but basic rules apply.
- A relationship is not a contract, it’s a commitment. It’s not all down in black and white and is subject to change. You can’t treat it like business.
- A house is only as good as its foundation. A relationship is only as good as the groundwork laid from the beginning. Having that allows you to go through changes, repairs and additions, without damaging its structural integrity.
- Accepting the limitations, the codes and the requirements. Understanding what you can and cannot do or say, sticking to the rules you set together and filling the requirements for what is standard to having a safe and secure haven.
- Just as your home should be a reflection of you, so should your relationships. Only then, can it truly be, “Home Sweet Home”.