Relationships are hard work. Whether it’s a marriage/romantic partnership, familial relationship, parent/child relationship, or friendship, most of us would jump at the chance to improve our relationships so that they work better for us and the people we care about. Which is why I want to talk about how to use creativity to instantly improve any relationship.
How to use creativity to instantly improve any relationship
Creativity can make your relationships better, both immediately and in the long term. Here are ways to leverage your creativity to change your thoughts, words, and actions and instantly change any relationship for the better.
(Note: for the purposes of this post, I’ll use the word “partner” to describe the person you are in a relationship with. This can represent any person or group of people: romantic partner, spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, coworker, etc.)
Change your perspective.
Creativity encourages us to look at problems from multiple perspectives. Instead of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, creatives look for other possibilities and potential outcomes.
This can be a huge asset when you are struggling to get on the same page with a partner. By changing your perspective, you are more likely to see and understand where your partner is coming from. This makes you a more empathetic companion.
Any time you are in the middle of an argument, for example, try stepping into the other person’s shoes. Ask them what they want you to understand. Then repeat it back to them (“What you want me to understand is …”). This instantly shows your partner not only that you are listening to them, but that your ultimate goal is to understand them.
Sometimes, all it takes to improve a relationship is a little more openness. Sharing your feelings with your partner—how much you care about them, for example—can go a long way toward making your partner feel valued, appreciated, and loved.
As an emotionally-charged trait, creativity can help you tap into your emotions more often and more completely. Feeling your emotions and expressing them to your partner can instantly improve your relationship, and getting in the habit of sharing these feelings often will benefit your relationship over time.
Do something unexpected.
As cliche as it sounds, there is something to be said for “spicing up” a relationship—even a non-romantic relationship.
Try using your creativity to come up with unexpected activities that will add a little interest and novelty back into your relationship. This could be something like a picnic with your significant other, a fantasy football league with your dad who lives in another state, or taking a pottery class with a friend.
The point is that using your creativity can instantly reintroduce excitement to the relationship, so don’t be afraid to try something out of the ordinary.
Using “and” thinking.
It’s important to think of every relationship you have as a mutually beneficial partnership: it’s you AND your partner instead of you OR your partner. Maybe you are arguing, but you are both right (and you are both wrong). Maybe you need to make sure that the choices you make together are ones that benefit both of you instead of just one of you.
Here’s the thing: life is very rarely black and white. It happens in shades of gray. In relationships, this means that one person is not completely right while the other is completely wrong; the truth exists somewhere in the middle. Learning to think this way will help you and your partner work together as a team, rather than fight against each other in order to preserve your ego or your own self-interest.
You are in control of your destiny. You get to choose how your life turns out. The whole point of Design.org is to help you design a life you love, one that allows you to “create happy,” go after your goals, and become the person you were meant to be.
In much the same way, you can make choices that proactively benefit your relationships. Instead of standing by and letting things happen, work to shape your relationship into what you want it to be. You are in control here, and you can do your part to create a relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful to you. Be the “creator,” not the “victim.”
Once you make the decision to do that, any relationship you’re in will instantly improve.
Of course, one way to use creativity to improve any relationship is to practice creativity together. Whether that means taking a painting class together, playing music together, or just talking about your dreams and ideal futures, creative practices will help you bond in a way that few other things can.
A quick note about reluctant partners
Each of these ideas can help you use creativity to instantly improve any relationship, but remember: relationships are a two-way street. If the other person in the relationship does not want to improve the relationship like you do, then even your best creative efforts may leave you feeling frustrated.
If that’s the case, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner about the value and purpose of your relationship. Is this a partnership that needs to continue? Are you both committed to continuing it? How can you work together to make things better for both of you?
Healthy relationships require boundaries, and if this is a season for you and your partner to set boundaries with each other instead of trying to force things forward, that’s okay too! Get creative with the boundaries you set. Create guidelines that work for both of you and that will allow your relationship to survive instead of burn out.
Creativity can instantly improve any relationship, and now, you have a few ideas for how to make it work for you. So, no matter the relationship, get creative! Think outside the box. Change your attitude and try something new. Every relationship in your life can benefit from it.
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