Tip #1: Be Aware
As I walk down the streets of Jerusalem these days, I laugh at myself at how funny I must look having adopted a new and improved way of getting to my destination. Instead of simply putting one foot in front of the other to get to where I am going, I now take one step forward and then turn around to see who and what is behind me. Turning this way and that, I have transformed my once forward march into a casual dance (I might as well be an owl). It may look funny to onlookers, but it makes me feel safer thinking that I am doing my utmost to be aware of my surroundings.
This same tip can be applied to bettering your relationship(s). Aside from taking time out to do a little dance with those you love, make sure to be a partner (or friend, or parent — yep those are all relationship roles too) who is aware. Be aware of your loved one’s feelings. Be aware of your loved one’s experiences. Listen and be aware of what your loved one might be asking of you (even when they might not find the words to express it to you clearly).
Tip #2: Put Your Phone Away!
I am so much more at ease (and much less nauseous) since making the conscious decision to put my phone away during my bus rides. I am not reading the news (a step in and of itself that already puts me more at ease) and instead am taking in the beautiful scenery outside my window (staying positive while hoping and praying that no rocks or firebombs get thrown at it. Sigh).
We have become so accustomed to bending over and looking at our screens. We are constantly looking and searching for updates, filling our need to be in the know. Out of fear of missing out, we have desensitized ourselves to how much we are missing out on every time we choose to look at our phones instead of looking at our loved ones. Make eye contact and look at your partner when he or she is speaking with you. Make a conscious effort to put your phone away and spend quality, uninterrupted time with them. Doing this will let your loved one(s) know that they are the one(s) that matter to you the most.
Tip #3: Be Present
This whole terror wave thing is way out of my control. No matter how much I hate that fact, I know that I must let go of not knowing when or if another attack will happen. What I can control, however, is being present. Being present also puts me in a better position to act (and not freak out or react) if, G-d forbid, I am put in a dangerous situation.
Of course, being present will also put you in a better position with your loved ones. Instead of thinking about what might happen, could happen, or should be happening in your relationship, get present and be in the moment. The rest is out of your control. You will have much more success dealing with any issues that may come up in your relationship(s) when you are present and staying in the moment.
Tip #4: Focus on the Good
I read the news. I know what is going on. I know that innocent people are being attacked here approximately once (and oftentimes, multiple times) a day (it is really crazy). But if I zone in only on this craziness, I will believe that the entire world is as black as the world our enemies would like to create. The fact of the matter is, it’s not. The world is a beautiful place. I only need to look up at the sky (which today is a bit foggy, but whatever) to remember how awesome, amazing, and wonderful our planet is. I need not look far to see the tremendous kindness and goodness that people are involved in every single day. This goodness way outweighs the craziness, and this is important to keep in mind to help us cope and survive this challenging time.
Focusing on the good will also lead you to being happier and more fulfilled in your relationship(s). We can be so critical of those we love (and claim that it is out of love that we are being critical!). As a detail-oriented person, my strength in zoning in on what needs to be worked on and fixed, can also work against me when I instinctively notice what is wrong with what any of my loved ones are doing. It may require practice for you (and me) to zoom out and look at the big picture; the whole, beautiful, creative, capable person that is in front of us. But doing so will do wonders for both you and your loved one; helping you to stay focused one what is really important.
Tip #5: Appreciate the Most Basic Things in Life
I now feel so incredibly grateful and blessed every evening each one of my family members arrives home safely. Instead of a simple, “Hi, great to see you. How was your day?” when they finally walk in the door, I am so overjoyed by the sheer sound of the door opening and throw my arms up and whisper a quiet “thank you Lord!” to myself. I then wrap my arms around my loved ones and kiss their beautiful faces! My loved ones have gotten so accustomed to this greeting over the past few weeks, that one day, when I did not do this, one of my kids asked, “Hey, what’s wrong? Aren’t you so excited to see me?!” I also no longer underestimate the awesomeness of simply (it’s really not that simple when you think about it) getting up in the morning!
When it comes to your relationship(s) appreciate the simple and most basic things you may be taking for granted. Say thank you to your loved one for simply being there, in your life. Appreciate the time that you are doing basic tasks or errands together. Show gratitude for (and take advantage of) every moment you have with your loved one and use it as an opportunity to make that interaction count.
My personal prayer for you and me
May we be safe and secure. May we not know of any sorrows, and may we not EVER experience any terror personally. May the tips that I share here, although an outgrowth of an uncomfortable and unwanted current day reality, be ones that help us to create happiness, success, and fulfillment in our everyday lives and relationships.