One of the most precious commodities of life is time and there never seems to be enough of it! It comes and goes way too quickly and when life gets crazy busy, and the demands seem endless, life is like a treadmill of doing that pulls you in so many directions. When you go too fast and really are too busy, you have no life. You suffer and your relationships suffer, because regular deposits of connection are being neglected. The relationship bank is in the red and this always demands attention!
Minimum investment produces minimum results and this is never satisfying.
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an Organization Relationship System course in Vancouver. I was reminded how every human being is wired to have meaningful relationships in their lives, whether it is in the work place, in a marriage, a partnership, friendship or in a family system.
Meaningful relationships are what makes you thrive!
It’s not news that relationships can be difficult and when it is, it often looks easier to hit the disconnect button than to stay and find resolve. When misunderstanding or conflict arise, tempting options of doing the avoidance dance may seem more attractive, tuning out may be your tendency, and isolation may be your way of hiding.
Unfortunately, as tempting as this may be, this never produces any results. For the sake of the relationships that matter most in your life, you must engage, be real, and stay open. Don’t turn away but lean in when things get tough, and commit to finding a solution.
My husband Darren and I celebrated our 29th anniversary this past weekend and what we have learned is, in spite of our tendencies to run and hide, we have often had to make the choice to deal with the stuff that affects our relationship, whether we want to or not.
The stuff doesn’t just show up in a marriage but with kids, friendships, family, in the work place, and it almost always demands serious attention. It doesn’t just go away!
Do you want to be right— or do you want to be happy. The reality is that sometimes you can’t be both and you have to make a choice!
This doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything and constantly be in harmony. You may strongly disagree, and never understand where that person is coming from. For the sake of the relationship, you have to care enough to disagree, and let go of your need to be right. Being right isn’t what is most important, the relationship is!
What is the common ground where you can connect, find value in the relationship, and be willing to work towards a resolve? Just finding one thing is a great start.
One of my most favorite resources for coaching relationships and helping my clients resolve conflict, is the work of Dr. John Gottman. The research of Dr. Gottman is a thirty year study of what makes relationships work. Most of the research that was done involved couples, yet the research is so profound, that it can be applied to all systems of relationship, in families, partnerships, marriage, management, teams and organizations.
Several years ago, Darren and I chose to invest in deepening our relationship and attended a Gottman seminar in Seattle. When you have tools to make your relationships work, you are able to experience a relationship at a whole different level. Relationship Intelligence is crucial.
One of the things that we learned was to be aware of the toxins that creep into relationships. These toxins are most destructive and they destroy the positive environment that relationships need in order to grow.
What are these toxins?
- Criticism – attacks, bullying, overly driving, dominance, harsh comments, chronic criticism
- Defensiveness – not open to influence, deflection, not accepting responsibility
- Stonewalling – not open to influence, passivity, disengagement, withholding, withdrawing, unresponsive, avoidance, uncooperativeness
- Contempt – rolling your eyes, disgust, sarcasm, ridicule, mimicking, name calling, cutting others down, hostile gossip, undermining, demeaning communication
Yikes, now doesn’t this hit a sore spot! The reality is that we are all human beings and these show up from time to time. However, when these toxins become a consistent way of behavior, this is destructive and the relationship will not survive. Being aware of this in your life and in your relationships is crucial.
Who wants to be toxic?
Catching toxic behavior, taking responsibility for the impact, and being mindful to work at building strong and positive relationships, is rewarding and it produces results. This requires consciousness, time, commitment and investment. You can’t be too busy on everything else, not focusing on what matters most, and be expecting an empowered realtionship. It just won’t happen.
Positive relationship is life giving and it is what gives our lives more meaning and purpose. When this is our experience, we are fulfilled, satisfied and happy!
What are the relationships like in your life?
- Do the people you interact with know that they are important in your life? What are you communicating to them?
- Is there toxic behavior in your relationships? What changes are you willing to take responsibility for?
- How socially aware are you? Do you notice the impact that you make?
- How satisfied are you with the relationships in your life?
- What is one step that you will take to have more meaningful relationships in you life?
Focusing on relationship is not a Valentine’s event, it is an every day event, that will bring a great richness to your life. Isn’t this what you want?
Are you willing to invest more time in your relationships? Doing it for one month and creating more Relationship Intelligence, will start some positive habits and behaviors in your relationships that will that will greatly enrich your life.
Start your “investment plan” now and reap the results.