"Can’t we all get along?” Rodney King asked years ago. It’s a question that many of us ask, especially at holiday celebrations. Some family members attend these celebrations with misgivings because they don’t all get along with each other. Others avoid them altogether.
Since they usually don’t know how to improve relationships, they may feel that the other person has to make the first move to change, or at least to apologize.
We need to search for ways to replace old patterns of thought and behavior with the understanding that long-standing offenses and hurts can be cleared up and set aside.
We can't change other people.
But we can change our attitudes toward them.
If we want to improve our relationship with someone, we can start by imagining what it would be like to have a renewed relationship. We can let go of the resentful feelings we had about them in the past and hopefully discover the real person behind our negative feelings about them. Then, drawing on other positive experiences we’ve had in the past, we can try out new ways to treat others.
Before a family holiday gathering, try contacting relatives from whom you’ve been estranged and let them know you would like to let bygones be bygones and to renew your relationship with them. You may be pleasantly surprised that being honest with them can be the beginning of a fresh relationship.
Yes, I definitely believe we can get along if we wish to do so and if we exert the effort to make it happen.