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7 ways to repair strained relationships

Updated: Mar 30

To rebuild a fractured relationship, it's crucial to grasp the underlying motivations that prompt us to justify our actions, hindering our ability to be empathetic and truly listen to how our behavior has affected the other person, potentially leaving them feeling devalued and misunderstood.

Here are the steps to navigate this:

1. Recognize the urge to justify actions: Acknowledge the impulse to defend yourself, which might obstruct your capacity to empathize and attentively listen to how your actions impacted the other person, possibly leaving them feeling devalued and misaligned.

2. Reframe the focus: Shift attention from explaining your intentions or defending your actions to understanding how the other person experienced your behavior. Ask questions centered on their feelings rather than justifying your perspective.

3. Prioritize careful listening: Concentrate on actively listening to their emotions and perceptions without interjecting to justify your behavior. Be genuinely interested in comprehending their perspective.

4. Practice empathy: Put yourself in their shoes to understand the emotional impact of your actions. Empathy allows you to connect deeply with their feelings, fostering a more genuine understanding and sense of validation for their experiences.

5. Emphasize validation and understanding: Value their emotions and experiences by validating their feelings and understanding the impact your actions had on them. Expressing this understanding reinforces their value in the relationship.

6. Offer genuine apologies: Apologize sincerely for the distress caused by your actions, acknowledging their feelings and the impact, demonstrating a commitment to repairing the relationship.

7. Commit to behavioral changes: Accompany apologies with tangible actions that exhibit a genuine desire to change. Show through your behavior that you have heard and understood their perspective, aiming to avoid repeating similar mistakes.

Recognizing and overcoming the instinct to justify ourselves is key to creating an environment where empathy and careful listening can flourish, enabling a more authentic understanding of how our actions affect others in relationships.

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