11 Ways to Improve Relationships with Ahmed El Aawar

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Last month, we started the series of Psychologist and Life Coach Ahmed El Aawar’s life tips. Delivered through short and relatable videos on his Facebook page, these tips give us shortcuts to a healthier psyche and calmer life.

These are 11 of his videos on different ways of considering our relationships and dealing with people.

1. You Can’t Do It Alone (Video #90)
We can’t go through life alone; we need people to help and support us. El Aawar emphasizes this point by saying that even when we think we have it all figured out, sometimes listening to someone feels like we’re hearing these things for the first time. It gives us a different perspective to hear it from the outside, so we shouldn’t shut that out. When life gets tough, we should actively seek others’ help and advice.

2. Don’t Exaggerate (Video #83)
We’re occasionally put in annoying situations. Someone we’re supposed to meet doesn’t come on time and keeps us waiting. Natural reaction? Annoyed. Irritated. Fuming. Theirs? Hopefully guilt and embarrassment. El Aawar tells us we shouldn’t take advantage of those feelings or capitalize too much on them. Because nobody’s perfect, we will sometimes be in their shoes and will want people to forgive and let go. Don’t exaggerate your reactions, accept apologies and move on. Life’s too short to hold a grudge.

3. Apologize, But Be Yourself (Video #79)
Some of us can’t balance between being ourselves and acting in accordance with people’s wants or expectations. We don’t want to offend or insult them, so we change who we are. El Aawar gives us a small tip on how to deal with that. Apologizing for an impression or feeling we give is a lot easier than changing ourselves. He stresses on apologizing for the feelings caused, not the actions themselves. Do what you need, but apologize in the case that something’s mis-perceived or wrongly understood.

4. Don’t Allow People to Be the Ones Who Define You (Video #76)

We all have three selves, says El Aawar. There’s the social self, (the version of us that comes out among people) the projected self that we want to be, and the true self. People will define us with what they see. Sometimes, they will only define us by our lowest points and worst traits, even though these are not our only defining features. We have our good moments, too. This is why El Aawar tells us we have to fight this by not allowing people to define us, and definitely not by our negative side. We should define ourselves on our own terms.

5. People No Longer Have Patience/Tolerance (Video #65)
Talking with people, even those close, is no longer the easy thing it used to be. Like everything else, it’s become full of pressures. Because of all life’s stresses, a conversation might be going smoothly and then somebody takes something the wrong way. In these cases, rather than quickly (or angrily) retort, El Aawar advises us to take a moment and ask them if everything is okay or if something had offended them. Most of the time overreactions are indications of something else. When we ask them in good faith, they will explain what’s going on in their head or the impression they had received. Before blowing the situation out of proportion by responding to their overreaction, we need to stop for a second, think and clarify everything.

6. The Power of Acknowledgment (Video #54)
Acknowledging someone, making them feel seen, loved and appreciated goes a long way. Writing notes with your reasons for loving someone or being grateful for them and putting them in a jar for them to read is just one small way of doing that. It can have an enormous impact on people and is not that hard to do.

7. Recognize Your Own Double Standards (Videos #42 & #43)

We use mottos all the time with people, like “I always tell the truth,” for example. El Aawar tells us that before judging others’ mottos or actions, we need to take a moment of self-reflection. We have to have inner balance and objectivity so that we can ponder on the fact that we might make the same, or similar, mistakes. We shouldn’t hold ourselves on a pedestal and be blinded to our own faults. Because we all have several persons inside us, we should stop being self-righteous so that our criticisms are more constructive, more balanced and better heard and accepted.

8. Accept Compliments Even When You Don’t Believe Them (Video #26)
Amidst prevalent fakeness, it is understandably hard to take everyone’s words at face value. El Aawar wants us to make an exception for compliments. Regardless of how true they are, we should stop overthinking them and just accept them. He explains that in accepting them, we become more aware of them and adopt them more. Our subconscious cannot tell the difference between truth and lies, so they make us feel better all the same. We need more compliments and positive comments in our lives, and El Aawar even suggests we start asking for them!

9. People Are More Sensitive Than They Might Seem (Video #21)
This, El Aawar says, is a matter of social intelligence. There’s a psychological concept called rank and privilege. Ranks and privileges are relative and depend on context. You could have a higher rank amidst a group because of your higher income, better education or anything else generally perceived as better. We need to be constantly aware of our higher ranks and how they will affect others and be perceived by them. Usually, people with higher ranks do not recognize their privileges, while people of lesser ranks tend to be more sensitive. For better relationships, we need to be aware of our higher ranks to avoid offending or upsetting people we care about.

10. The Effect of Your Talk on People (Video #16)
When generally talking to people, we need to be aware of the effect of this conversation on others. We should not simply be talking for the sake of talking; otherwise, we lose our audience. We want to leave an impression. To do so, we need to stop for a few seconds and absorb peoples’ reactions, El Aawar says. This goes for any type of dialogue, including telling jokes. Improving and altering our talk according to reactions will definitely be reflected in the way they receive it.

11. Are Your Friends Really Your Friends? (Video #13)

There’s a psychological term called “slippery relationships”. These relationships, El Aawar explains, are those that leave us feeling worse. They are negative interactions even though they might be with people who’ve supposedly been our friends for ages. We need to get rid of these relationships and cut them out of our lives by revising our friendships. He tells us to take some alone time, think about it and write down what friendship means to us. We should then compare our list of supposed friendships with this definition and find out which of them are “slippery”. If we don’t put a stop to them, we will find ourselves constantly upset and depressed because of their negative atmosphere.

Lama is a Political Scientist, historian and academic, a bibliophile, a writer, a jewelry freak and a human being. Having devoured every book that has come her way since she could read, she believes in the power of words and hopes to put hers to good use; to remain silent is to give up. She appreciates challenges, fun company, movies, the occasional trip somewhere new and a good laugh.

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