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How to Improve Interpersonal Relationships
By Chen Xiaoran
One day, I saw a problem on a gospel website, “Recently, there arose some problems in my interpersonal relationship with people around me. I always thought they had opinions and biases about me, and I was also dissatisfied with some acts of them. As the time went by, I gradually felt the relationships between them and me became ever more estranged. Even this situation also happened to my families. I had no idea how to get along well with them. What should I do to improve the interpersonal relationships?”
Pondering this problem, I thought of that I had fellowshipped about this topic with brothers and sisters not long ago. So I replied: As to this problem, I would like to express my opinion, hoping it could bring some help to you.
The Reason for Problems in the Interpersonal Relationships
In fact, problems in the interpersonal relationships mainly result from our crafty nature. We often practice according to satanic poisons, such as “one should never intend to do harm to others, but should always guard against the harm others might do to him,” “Think before you speak and then talk with reservation.” Therefore, when getting along with people, we guard against one another, and none of us confide in each other. Naturally, there arises problems in our interpersonal relationships. In addition, that we cannot open up to others also causes problems in our interpersonal relationships. Because we can’t open up to others, we will easily harbor suspicions and misunderstandings toward them on account of a matter or one word. Due to not solving problems in time by opening up to others, some barriers and misunderstandings in us are piling up. Clearly, our corrupt dispositions, craftiness and suspicions become the biggest barrier and difficulty in associating with people. So, we should firstly solve this issue if we want to improve our relationships with others.
Secret to Solving the Problem of Suspicions
God’s word says, “If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another. Do you have such a feeling? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out” (“To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others”). From God’s words we can see lacking communication with others causes that there are suspicions and barriers among us and that we become distant from others. It is like when we get along with our family, relatives or colleagues, in that we simply speak of external issues in most times, such as just shooting the breeze together with others and talking about daily vicissitudes. But with respect to real thoughts from the depths of our hearts, we always hide them and never lay ourselves open to others, so that none of us know what thoughts and requirements as well as difficulties are in each other’s heart and what opinions we have about one another. Without understanding and help as well as support between us, we subsequently become distant from, guard against and harbor suspicions about others. Naturally, there will arise rifts in our interpersonal relationships.
If we want to have a normal relationship with others, we should actively open up to others and practice speaking words in our hearts. No matter what suffering or happiness we have in our hearts in daily life, we should learn to share them with others. When having no idea how to deal with some matters we encounter, we should also take the initiative to lay ourselves open to others and ask them for help. By speaking heart-to-heart with others more, there will be no distance between us and this will bring us closer. What’s more, when we can practice in this way, others will easily trust us and they are willing to speak words in their hearts with us. Then every one of us can open up to others and know others’ requirements and difficulties, and we can have understanding and tolerance toward each other. No matter what barriers and misunderstandings in us, our relationship with others will naturally take a turn for the better as long as we can open up to them, and then we can get along with each other harmoniously.
An Effective Solution to Improve Interpersonal Relationships
The Lord, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). From the words of the Lord Jesus, it can be seen clearly that the barriers and prejudices occurring in us are because we don’t know ourselves and we are arrogant and conceited. We are very adept at treating our own problems with kindness, and we also forgive ourselves easily even though we have done something wrong. However, we have higher requirements of others: They can’t do anything that we feel dissatisfied. So, when others do something wrong or they don’t practice in accordance with our intentions, we will have opinions about and hold biases against them. Just like the problems arising in coordinating with others, we always focus our attention on others, thinking they are wrong and imposing the responsibility on them. All what we reveal are arrogant and conceited corrupt disposition. This not only makes us be fooled by Satan, but also brings others hurt and pains and makes others loathe and resent us. Then how can we establish a normal relationship with others? If we want to reverse this kind of state, we should do according to what the Lord Jesus said, casting out the beam out of our own eye. That is to say, we should reflect upon ourselves to recognize our own problems first.
God’s word says, “Don’t be self-righteous; take the strengths of others and use them to offset your own deficiencies, watch how others live by God’s words and see whether or not their lives, actions and speech is worth learning from. If you regard others as less than you then you are self-righteous, self-conceited and are of benefit to no one.” There is a spiritual book also saying, “…It’s fundamental to be able to have compassion for others and treat them fairly. Don’t always grasp on others’ shortcomings and cannot let them go. Don’t consider you stand above others, believe what you do is right yet others’ is wrong. No matter what problems arise, do not always think that’s all others’ fault but not yours. Don’t be conceited! Examine more your own problems and see more others’ merits, and then you will not frequently think you stand above others but humble yourselves. Only when you really see that others are more capable than you are, can these effects be achieved. If someone always considers himself to be pretty good and blames others for their problems, and thinks there are no good persons except himself, he will never achieve any changes in his life disposition and can’t coordinate with others. Is this not the case?” Judging from these words above, we can see that if we want to get along well and have a normal relationship with others, we shall learn to treat others fairly. When encountering matters, we should come more before God to reflect upon ourselves and recognize our own deficiencies. In addition, we should see more others’ merits and strengths, and correctly view their disadvantages and learn to have tolerance and patience towards them. In truth, we all are people corrupted by Satan, so there are a lot of corrupt dispositions in us. Of course, we also possess our respective strengths and shortcomings. It’s God’s will that we can help and support each other, and that we all learn from each other’s strengths to offset our weakness and live together peacefully. Only in this way can we glorify God! God is so honorable and great, but He never shows off Himself. And He silently does the work of salvation all the time, bestowing upon us the truth and life. With regard to so much corruption and rebelliousness in us, God doesn’t detest us but saves us with great tolerance, excusing our weaknesses and forgiving our rebelliousness. Then why can we not have tolerance and patience towards others? Is this not showing that we are so arrogant and narrow-minded?
How Can We Get Along With Others to Become Confidants?
Here, I want to share my own little experience: In the past when I got on with a colleague, there arouse a lot of contradictions between us in the beginning. We often argued with each other because of some minor detail in life. I always resented that she spoke straightforwardly and harshly, and that sometimes she didn’t treat me with dignity in front of people. Yet she always resented that I was completely careless and not well-behaved. At first, we kept these prejudices hidden away inside. But as time went on, contradictions between us were piling up, and I felt very depressed and painful. Later, through reading God’s word, I understood the reason why we couldn’t get along with each other was that I was arrogant and that I didn’t know myself. I always fixated my eyes on her and guarded against and harbored suspicions about her. This intensified the conflicts in us so that we became more distant from each other. Furthermore, I also understood from God’s word that if I want to deal with this issue, I shall firstly know myself and then not guard against but actively open up to her, and only by practicing according to God’s requirements will it be solved. Afterwards, I implemented in accordance with God’s word and laid myself open to her. Unexpectedly, she also spoke the words in her heart to me. We all felt very relaxed after opening our hearts and chatting with each other. At that moment, I felt extremely released as if a big stone in my heart finally was pulled out. From then on, we speak intimately to each other more, and even when there arises friction between us, I can pay attention to reflecting upon myself and knowing my own corrupt disposition. Some time later, we can not only get along well with each other, but also become confidants. In my experience, I realize that when associating with others, we should learn to open up to others and reflect upon ourselves as well as practice the truth. And only in this way can we establish a normal relationship with others and live together harmoniously.
All of the above are little secrets to improving the interpersonal relationships I have comprehended. I hope it will be helpful to you! Thank God! All the glory be to God!
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