How much time do you spend preparing for relationships? I saw this question while perusing on the internet and it made me reflect on the ups and downs of the relationships I’ve had, specifically work relationships and friendships. You know what I realized? Good, solid relationships don’t just happen. They require that we (you and I) go into them with purpose and some level of expectation. We have to be secure enough in ourselves to show up authentically and be committed to deal honestly with the good and bad. So it’s important to find synergy in how we give and receive, how we show up in our relationship space and intentionally bring our A-Game most of the time. And, it also requires courage to do what I call Relationship Spring cleaning – the occasional dusting or purging to ensure relationships continue to serve the purpose originally intended – you’re happy, they’re happy and all is good. Go ahead and kick the tires on your relationship. Observe, then ask yourself these questions:
1. Be honest. How has this relationship met my expectation?
It’s important to make sure everyone shows up as expected and support the relationship. LET ME MAKE ONE THING CLEAR –You’re not looking TO FIND FAULT with yourself or others. Don’t you check the quality of everything you have to make sure it’s working the way you intended? Don’t you change the tires, batteries, light bulbs because of wear and tear and make necessary updates to keep them in working order? And if they aren’t then you do what’s necessary to fix it. The same care is necessary for relationships. This was a challenging concept for me because I kept score instead of looking at my expectations and what I wanted the relationship to be. Uh Huh – you did this and I let it slide now you’ve got one more strike and you’re outta here! That’s no longer my mentality and certainly not how you build solid relationships. I had to consider what I needed from the relationship and to speak up when my needs weren’t met. No stewing, marinating or keeping score, just open and honest communication.
2. Are we each bringing our best?
There is no real partnership without each party bringing 100% of themselves to the table. See what talent’s aren’t being fully utilized that can make the coming together better. The relationship has its own identity and is mutually inclusive, meaning each party must be in agreement, working together and bringing individual strengths, gifts, perspective, and experiences to share as they benefit the relationship. We can’t be selfish by holding back our gifts if our expectation is to be in a thriving partnership. There should be no competition or trying to get a leg-up over each other. Bottom line – we’re adults, right and must behave as such? No one person is doing all the giving or all the receiving. Relationships are teamwork – with everyone doing their part.
3. What improvements will we make?
Think about how future goals and directions may impact the relationship. Remember, individuals must be allowed to grow and explore other relationships that come. Don’t resist change. It can be a good thing. If you find your relationship is going in different directions, be okay with discussing options and how you see the future of the relationship. Don’t hide your feelings for fear of hurting others. Share openly so that if you must go in a different direction there will be no hurt or hard feelings.
As you grow and meet new people different opportunities may now take priority. It’s okay if relationships no longer serve you or you’ve overstayed your purpose in it. If the relationship has taken a sour turn, however, it can be salvaged IF it is important to you and you are willing to honestly communicate what you feel. Communication is key. Continue to nurture relationships and appreciate the value others bring. And still, be okay with your own path. Be true to yourself and resist feeling obligated to continue relationships that have grown toxic and unhealthy.
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