How many times have you found yourself in the same room as the person you’ve been living with for months — or years even — and felt like the two of you were complete strangers? Regardless of the dynamic of this relationship, whether it be husband and wife, parent and child or simply roommates, sadly this happens more often than not in today’s society. People get so caught up in saving the world or merely surviving the day they forget those closest to them need to be reminded of their existence and efforts as well.

Regardless if the silence in your home is deafening or if it’s still in the beginning uncomfortable stage, taking steps today to shatter the barrier between you is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the person with whom you share the space.

1. Remember the why. You and your space-sharer made a decision to come together for a reason, and now is the perfect time for you both to reflect on that why. Of course life and events occur during the process and will forever be reshaping your days and your realities. Revisiting what brought you together, however, will bring back into focus the qualities and ideals which attracted the two of you in the first place. Review and reassess your “why” often and with love so you can then move forward from a place of understanding and shared perspective.

2. Talk TO the person, not ABOUT them. It’s become the tendency of today’s society to run to the phone, call your bestie and talk about the person and the issues you’re having. A better use of your time and the fastest way to resolve the problem is to go straight to the source. Your friend has absolutely NO WAY of knowing what your housemate is thinking or feeling, so why would you even consult anyone else about what’s occurring?

While it may feel foreign and even scary the first time you’re vulnerable with your cohabitant, do it anyway. Speak your truth by expressing what you’re feeling and experiencing. Doing this offers the other person the space to do the same and to meet you in the middle by sharing their own perspective. Remembering their views are not attacks on you, gently ask your questions until you’re clear about the message they’re trying to get across. Then allow them to do the same. This practice will get easier each time you do it and will also open the door to more frequent, healthy conversations.

3. Never go to bed angry or confused. Sure, you’ve heard this adage your whole life, but have you ever tried it? Lugging today’s problems to bed with you only makes them heavier and more magnified the next day. Always be sure the “air” between you and the people you love is clear before your head hits the pillow. The world is already full enough of struggles and hurts, so be a part of the solution rather than perpetuating the problem. Wake up with a lighter and clearer mindset by talking things out the night before.

4. Give what you hope to get. If respect and recognition are something you find yourself craving due to a lack of them in your own life, why not push past your perceived limits and offer those exact things to the people in your intimate circle? Put your feet in their proverbial shoes and experience from their vantage point what it would be like to, say, receive a compliment on something that may seem so insignificant to you but was actually a huge event for the other person? If they cooked and served dinner, cleaned up after and allowed you the space to relax for a moment, acknowledge the work they put into the event: the planning and preparing of the meal, the time it took out of their day to make sure the house looked nice afterward and the fact you’re grateful for the time you had to recover from your day. The more you put this concept into practice, the more you’ll be acknowledged for putting the toilet seat down, rinsing out your coffee cup or just making sure your dirty clothes made their way into the hamper.

Life is truly a beautiful gift which often passes by too quickly, especially if you find yourself in a constant state of turmoil. Your home is your sanctuary, and what you do there ripples out into your world and affects the way you treat each person you have contact with. You have greatness in you and by sharing your greatness with those closest to you, you empower them to do the same. They then in turn ripple positivity into their environment, fostering change and bringing love back into the lives of each person they meet. It’s time you create the life you’ve longed to live…starting with yourself and those closest to you. You’ve so got this!