Was 2023 a year of painful conflict and upheaval with loved ones and other relationships for you? You're not alone. Conflict is all around us, and how many people do you know who manage it well? No wonder we're feeling stressed, uneasy, and unable to manage our emotions and fears. It seems as if differences of opinion and various kinds of conflict are causing more relationship disasters than ever before. Empathy, patience, and compassion do not seem to be the virtues we prize the most these days. It's not surprising that reactivity rules, and tempers flare at the least provocation. How did we get here, and what can we do to have more peaceful and serene relationships in 2024?
While there have been many signs of humanity and caring, the cumulation of disruptions in the last five years combined to make 2023 a year of hurt, and often, unmanageable rage. From a global pandemic in 2020 that changed family and work life forever to natural disasters like floods and fires in 2021 and 2022, to crime sprees where we shop, mass shootings, political and actual warfare in 2023, it's no wonder that feelings of instability and fear have helped create highly reactive responses to minor upsets.
In fact, everyone I know has struggled with relationships in 2023. Long-term romantic relationships came to an end when partners felt misunderstood and unheard. Parents who couldn't agree on parenting, battled in front of suffering children. Siblings fought bitterly over politics. Aging parents have refused the help they need to be healthy. As a mentor and recovery advocate, I also hear from women who are constantly at war with their mothers and daughters. It's a subject my mother, author Leslie Glass, and I have explored in our new book, The Mother Daughter Relationship Makeover, coming this spring. Relationships are our favorite subject.
How To Create Peace and Serenity In 2024
Here’s the good news. While we may all suffer from anxiety and impulse control, it is not as hard as you may think to make changes to restore the calm in your relationships. My mother and I used to fight like cats and dogs. We didn’t listen, we thought we were always right, we were quick to judge and criticize, all leading to more hurt feelings and misunderstanding. When other family members take sides, getting along can be even more treacherous. Today, we have respect and communication tools that help maintain perspective and foster peace. These are my favorite tips you can use for healthier relationships in 2024.
Listen To Your Body And Learn To Pause
Have you ever noticed how you have a physical reaction when someone confronts you, or when you feel stressed or attacked? For me, my heart will race, I may get hot; sometimes I feel queasy. Here's the reason. Your body and brain don't know the difference between real danger and a perceived threat. For example, when your boss criticizes something you’ve done; you may feel a physical and “real” reaction of threat. However, your boss is not a lion about to eat you.
You’re not in a life-or-death situation. In the office (or at home) you don’t need to clobber an enemy or or run away. When the heat rises, you can pause and let the feeling subside. Whether it is a spouse, romantic partner, friend, child, boss, or relative who triggers a flight-or-fight reaction, you can let it go. Breathe, go into another room, or outside if you can. Take a moment to think through what’s really happening, and what would be an appropriate response. Sometimes the best response is to do nothing.
Learn To Listen
This is the number one tip for everyone in all relationships. Learning how to listen and not think about your response is crucial. Listening lets people know that they are being heard. When you listen without jumping in with an opinion, it gives you time to respond thoughtfully. I am a recovering interrupter, so I know how difficult it can be to let the other person talk. But, listening will improve any relationship.
Live And Let Live
Guess what? You do not have to agree with what someone is saying to prevent a fight. You don’t even have to like what they’re saying. There are many times I bite my tongue when I’m listening to someone who annoys me, or who I think is being ridiculous. This tip could also come under the heading of spiritual practice and kindness. It means not assuming you know better. It's peace-and-serenity building that allows people to have their own thoughts and opinions. The world is a better place when we don't try to manage other people’s thinking. Managing your own thinking is a good practice. This tip also asks the question: “Do you want to be right or happy?” I want to be happy, and by following the rule of not forcing my views on others, no one wins or loses. We can all be happy.
Anger Management/Respond Don’t React
This tip is closely aligned with pausing and learning to listen. If you are reactionary--meaning you have strong reactions when things don’t go your way, or you don’t like what someone is saying to you, practicing the pause is great for personal development. Getting angry and reacting don't create peaceful relationships. This is where thought-work, therapy, and self-help might be needed. Take some time to consider how to react when you're annoyed, and if your reactions need attention.
Create Some Boundaries
Boundaries are the limits and rules we set in relationships. Boundaries can make
all the difference for building healthier relationships. Some examples of healthy boundaries for 2024 might be to avoid hot-button subjects where you disagree. Not talking about subjects that wind us up can be a rule you agree on. Another relationship boundary you can set relates to expressing negativity and judgements. If you long for happy relationships this year, then express your appreciation and recognition for what's good about the people in your life instead of finding fault with them. Showing your appreciation will always be a welcome gift.
About The Mother-Daughter Relationship Makeover
The Mother-Daughter Relationship Makeover combines a compelling mother and daughter memoir with self-help and a formula for readers to explore their own mother-daughter history, understand and ease their conflicts, and rediscover their appreciation and love.
Bestselling author Leslie Glass and her daughter, award-winning documentarian Lindsey Glass, offer a brand-new kind of interactive self-help book that combines actionable information, compelling storytelling, and writing prompts that are guaranteed to bring awareness, understanding, and compassion to mothers and daughters everywhere. It is a book that promises to heal your relationship and keep it strong, offering a positive pathway to peace and serenity no matter how far apart you feel you are.
Leslie and Lindsey have lived through their own traumas and devastating ups and downs in their relationship. They’ve turned their experiences into a successful platform for helping others and share them here in this book. They use their own tumultuous story, told from their respective points of view, to help mothers and daughters understand that even if you go off track, go to war, part ways for years, you can still find your way back to friendship, understanding, and love. For the first time, Leslie and Lindsey will share their secret sauce for healing, broken down into four steps:
•Revealing Your Back Story
•Exploring Your Emotional and Personality Styles
•Understanding Your Conflicts and Triggers
•Learning the Tools to Restore the Love
About Leslie and Lindsey Glass
Leslie Glass, with her daughter Lindsey, is editor of the popular online recovery and wellness magazine Reach Out Recovery. Together they produced the 2016 ASAM media award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery and the WEDU/PBS special The Silent Majority. Leslie Glass is a journalist and the author of twelve novels including nine USA Today and New York Times bestselling suspense novels featuring NYPD Det. Sgt. April Woo. She is the author of The Teen Guide to Health, and recovery workbooks Find Your True Colors in 12 Steps and the children's coloring book, The 8 C's that Help Me Be All Right. Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines and has served as a public member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, a trustee of The New York Police Foundation, Vice President of the Asolo Repertory Theatre. She is a member of Rotary International and a recovery, teen mental health, and family wellness advocate. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.
Lindsey Glass grew up in New York City and received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her M.A. from New York University. She is an author, screenwriter, and cofounder of Reach Out Recovery where her articles about relationships and recovery reach millions of readers worldwide. Lindsey has written screenplays, TV shows, and co-produced award-winning documentaries, including The Secret World of Recovery and The Silent Majority, which premiered on PBS in 2014. Lindsey has worked in publishing and communications and served as a recovery advocate for twenty years from testifying in Congress to teaching her 2019 self-help book, 100 Tips for Growing Up, to recovery and gang reentry programs. Lindsey is a frequent featured speaker, a proud member of Rotary International, and a practicing Buddhist. She lives in Los Angeles.