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 so if you get one more strike, 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; open, authentic and intentional. Start with yourself and explore what talent’s aren’t being fully utilized and how you can draw upon them to support others. How can you help develop the untapped potential of those you are in a relationship with? What is the common goal that brings everyone to the table and what strengths are needed to create success? Your relationships have its own identity, you know. Each party must be in agreement, working together to bring individual strengths, gifts, perspective, and experiences to benefit the relationship and create positive results. We can’t selfishly hold back our gifts if we expect to be in a thriving partnership where there is no competition or trying to get a leg-up over each other. Bottom line – we are 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 can/will we make?
You know what’s interesting? For the sake of peace, many people will ride forever with a relationship that isn’t working or drains every bit of energy they have. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to cut the cord, but imagine how uncomfortable life will be if you don’t. If you find your relationship is growing in different directions, be okay with discussing options and what continuing the relationship may look like. It can be salvaged if it is important enough to you and you are willing to honestly communicate what you feel. Communication is key. Think about the direction you desire and whether you see this relationship playing a part in your future. Don’t resist change, it can be a good thing. Don’t hide your feelings for fear of hurting others. Share openly, honestly, 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. Be true to yourself and resist feeling obligated to continue relationships that have grown toxic or unhealthy. You’re not burning bridges, you are building stronger ones with people who honors and respects you.
Continue to nurture relationships that support you being who you are. Make sure there is constant growth for all, and appreciate the value everyone brings to the relationship. Include YOU in that everyone!
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