Four Tips for Navigating Complex Relationships!

My mom is my number one supporter. She has been by my side through it ALL: my most challenging times, my best times, and everything in between. My relationship with my mom has been my most challenging and rewarding. Our relationship is complex, layered, and deeply personal.

If you have a complex relationship with your mom or any loved one, I see you. It can be gratifying to embrace the messiness to call it as it is for you. The direct acknowledgment can be freeing.

Many of us have complex relationships, and speaking about it can feel vulnerable. Our most complex, difficult, challenging, and even gut-wrenching relationships can teach us so much! My Mom has shown me what true strength and courage looks like through the most challenging of circumstances. I know that if my mom did not show up for me NO MATTER WHAT, I would not be who I am today! Our relationship reinforces my traits of grit, tenacity, determination, and willpower. I will do ANYTHING to improve our relationship. I am so grateful that my mom and I have worked together on this relentlessly to make our relationship the best it can be, while practicing what I call active acceptance- which is being realistic, optimistic, and proactive!

Here are four tips for navigating complex relationships:

  • Acceptance: accepting who the other person is, and what they have available to give to you.
  • Communication: working on different approaches to best communicate with a loved one that may have a completely different style of communicating and a different love language than you.
  • Connection: looking for and finding the areas where you do connect. Look for common interests you have or similar traits that may help to connect you and enhance your bond.
  • Appreciation: looking for and finding what you do appreciate about them, their strength, their loyalty, that they helped to create you, etc.

These approaches have helped my mom and I. Over the last 10 years our relationship has improved, and has been and continues to be better than ever before as we found and continue to find ways to connect, and bond over our shared love for travel (traveling together annually whenever possible) and helping others (volunteering together). We communicate what we want and need from the other to continue to improve our relationship. We show our appreciation for one another. Acceptance for me has been transformative. Accepting that I did not get the emotionally attuned mother that I had always desired, but I got the EXACT mother that I needed for me to become the person I am.

As Mother’s Day is approaching, I am thinking about my love for her, for our journey together so far, and knowing that she is one of the people I love most in this world. I will do anything for her-she keeps me loving, fighting, and propelling forward!

How have your most complex relationships impacted your life?

Let’s embrace the complexity with realness, love, and compassion as we navigate our complex relationships.