With the holidays mostly behind us, and our vision solidly locked onto this new year with anticipation, let’s jump right in and start with the big questions. Since human beings are social animals, how important are your relationships to you? Does your behavior support your answer? If there is one area that has been particularly challenged in the last year, it’s been to our relationships.
In past years, for a lot of people, the holidays brought us into close proximity with family – sometimes a lot of family – for extended periods of time. Most of us spend a majority of our lives living or working with other people, or are otherwise involved in close relationships. But have you ever had any formal schooling in these relationships or even thought much about how they work? Most people would say they haven’t.
If you ask these folks if they feel happy and fulfilled in their present relationships, often you will get wishy-washy answers like, “I guess so,” or “Some of the time,” or “We have our highs and lows. What more can you expect?” Very few people will answer, without hesitation, “Yes, not a doubt. Absolutely. You can bet on it!”
You wonder if the “wishy-washy answer” folks would ever consider taking a long trip to a foreign country without looking at a map or learning something about their destination. It’s a bit like setting a goal, with no idea what the end result, what we say we want, even looks like. And still, these folks remain, year after year, in so-so relationships when life could be otherwise.
Relationships can change and grow, just like people. A loving relationship can nourish and stimulate more than any other form of human behavior. And it is our loving relationships that ultimately give our lives meaning and purpose.
Keep in mind that relationships are nothing more or less than the product of what the people in them do and think and say. So, if you value your relationships, let’s ask the question again: How does your behavior fit with the importance of your relationships? Are you happy with them? Is there any room for improvement or enrichment?