When you think of the word relationship, what first comes to mind? While I don’t know the right answer, I suspect most of us immediately relate to a spouse or significant other. Then I viewed the above image and thought, maybe some people first identify with a pet, an affinity with water, personal artwork, their dreams, God, a business, family or even themselves.
Acknowledging there exists a vast array of relationships, yet in the interest of exploring just one facet, let’s stick with relationships between people.
I’ve yet to meet a person that is not concerned about their relationships at some level. Relationships are important to our enjoyment and satisfaction with life, as well as providing the support and love for being ourselves. Unfortunately, many of our relationships are difficult and draining.
Relationships are not unlike partnerships; they allow us to create something greater than we can create alone. Not because of any deficiency or incompleteness in us, but because each of us is unique, with our own talents and abilities, and in partnerships we increase the efforts and talents available for creating something meaningful together.
Partnerships, whether romantic, creative, or professionally based, can be powerful relationships for personal growth. However, relationships are not easy to establish or maintain. If we can stay clear about what we want and what we need in a relationship, while staying grounded and remembering that we are our own source of happiness and fulfillment, we can create relationships that support and enhance the best of who we are.
For your consideration, here are five (of ten) ways to establish a new relationship and raise the quality of a current relationship(s).
- Reveal yourself without expecting anything in return. It is our expectations and assumptions that gum up our interactions and our ability to let others be who they are.
- Be honest and tactful. Respect what the other person needs to know and what they probably don’t want to know about you. Always tell the truth, but don’t offer what isn’t requested or permission given to provide.
- Seek to understand when communicating. What are they really saying in words, tone, and body language? It is easy to anticipate what someone means so that we can formulate our response. Often we miss what is being said and especially not said. (As a coach, this latter point was one of the most challenging listening skills for me to develop.)
- Know if you are motivated by need or love. Most romantic relationships begin with needs and some never progress past that. Loving someone is not about us or what they can do for us, it is giving because you love and want to give to them.
- Share the details of your life, especially your feelings about a situation. This is true intimacy, where we risk sharing the details and entrust them to another person. Again, share the details when permission is given and when you feel comfortable doing so. There’s no rush to gush.
Marianne Williamson once stated, “When you get serious about The Universe, The Universe gets serious about you.” Perhaps one of the most effective ways to show The Universe that you’re serious about this thing called life, is by spending a little extra time and energy on nurturing relationships.
Any reason not to?