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We’ve all been there. We’re tired, overworked and can feel it coming on. We lash out at the people around us, knowing we’re doing it, and yet we can’t stop. That’s usually when the nagging starts. We nag at our partners, our children, hell we even nag at the family pet from time to time. We swore we’d never be like that, yet there we are becoming one of those nagging people we dislike so much.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can change it, and I have a few steps to help you along the way.
Think before you jump them: Nagging can start as a loving reminder, it just becomes annoying when you continue to tell them the same thing over and over. Nagging not only hurts feelings, but it can also hurt your relationship. Children, when constantly nagged, can feel as if you don’t have faith or trust in them to do the right thing. Nagging your spouse or significant-other can lead to a pulling away or shut down of communication in your relationship. I get it, you love them, you’re trying to help keep them safe, but to be effective, you need to stop repeating yourself and have a little trust in those around you.
Communication is the Key: When you gently remind them a thousand times about things, do you really feel like they hear you? No, because if they were you, you wouldn’t have to remind them constantly. Let’s face it, once you start nagging, you’ve lost their attention because they’ve tuned you out. So instead of continuing to nag at them, change it up and work it into a conversation. You have something you need to communicate to them that you feel is important, so hide it like you would veggies in tomato sauce. By engaging them in conversation about your worries, they are actually listening again and might even follow your advice.
Stop telling them how to do EVERYTHING: It’s annoying to be told what and how to do things constantly. At some point, your children or possibly even your significant-other needs to learn consequences on their own. Advise them about your concerns, make sure they have answered you so you know they were listening and understood what you’ve said, then let it go. If they choose not to follow your advice, then they will learn about cause and effect. Failing is how kids learn, failing teaches them how to do it right the next time. If it’s not something dangerous, let them learn the lesson on their own. They might be more willing to listen next time.
And lastly, don’t micromanage them when they offer you help: There is nothing worse than thinking you’re doing a good thing for someone, only to get told that you screwed it all. So don’t do that…ever. When someone offers to help, accept it and let them be. Help is help, and you need to let go of that urge to make everything exactly the way you need it to be. No one is going to die if a few towels are folded incorrectly, or if there are a couple of streaks on the freshly cleaned windows. As a matter of fact, embrace those differences and be sure to thank them wholeheartedly when they’re done. I guarantee you’ll get more help in the future, and it will bother you less and less, that’s not done just the way you would do it.
Let’s face it, being nagged is never fun. It carves away at relationships; it makes your children feel insecure, and it causes you more stress. By working these four tiny steps into your life each day, you’ll find you feel better about yourself and your family and friends will too. I also suggest a glass of wine, but that’s neither here nor there.
Remember, don’t be so hard on yourself. You have good intentions. They just need to be communicated a little differently. 2016 is your year of change, so grab hold of it, and make it yours.