Everyone has experienced feelings of loneliness. Everyone has suffered various levels of brokenness. And everyone has turned to one thing or another to pacify the hurt, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs, affirmation, recognition, comfort food, sex, money, shopping—the list is endless. What’s more, everyone has had a relationship with someone, family member or friend, who couldn’t seem to get enough of the few things I’ve listed and more. The heavy toll it takes goes without saying. You know what I’m talking about, right?
Loneliness, brokenness and addiction are things we all encounter on a daily basis. In the end, someone in the relationship often remains broken and unsatisfied, while the other party is left with the aching frustration of never doing enough and never being enough. Loneliness, brokenness and a vulnerability to addiction effects everyone on both sides of the fence. All too often, it can seem like we are stuck in a round-about always turning left and never finding our exit.
Is there a way to avoid dizziness from the wild spinning of this cycle? Is there a way of maintaining a relationship with the lovable Tasmanian Devil in your life without being needlessly harmed? If Bugs Bunny could figure it out, I’m sure we can too. For starters, here are 5 simple tips:
- Resist the urge to lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize. With genuine humility, simply identify with the struggle.
- Confess your own shortfalls and struggles. Let them know that perfection is not the goal—healing, wholeness and restoration is.
- Avoid needless arguments. The saving grace for your relationships is not found in agreement. It’s found in trust, hope, and compassion.
- Don’t assume responsibilities that are not yours to own. Everyone is responsible for their own shortcomings and decisions. Instead, affirm the fact that you’ll always endeavor to be a safe place for sharing and confession, you will listen first, and then speak by leading with a personal confession. Note: Watch your verbiage; do not “one-up” them with your confessions.
- Don’t join them in their obsessions or preoccupations. Love them, support them, be vulnerable with them, but remain committed to your personal wholeness. There is no greater support offered than the daily fleshing out of your peace and healing. Work hard, stay humble and always be willing to offer a listening ear and helping hand while maintaining healthy boundaries.
In practicing these 5 simple tips, not only will you survive the Tasmanian Devil’s outbursts, you will also foster deeper, more meaningful relationships. As a bonus, you’ll come to experience a greater personal wholeness due to the humility it takes to honor these 5 simple steps.
Remember: The first step for both sides always involves a humble, vulnerable and real confession. I would also add, the most effective confession is one that is current—an ongoing struggle in need of compassion and prayer.