Think of all the relationships you have. Envision yourself interacting with everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis--your partner, your children, the mailman/mail woman, the barista at Starbucks, your coworkers and colleagues. More than likely, you are in contact with a lot of relationships everyday. We are social animals and need relationships.
Imagine waking up tomorrow and all these relationships aren't there. Imagine how lonely that will be. You can see that relationships are critical at preventing us from being lonely and isolative. The Harvard Study, a qualitative study condudted with over 80 years of data concluded that our ultimate happiness is related to the quality of our relationships.
What is the quality of your relationships? Are you satisfied? What are you doing to deepen those relationships? If I want to receive love, then I have to give love. Relationships are reciprocal. If I want something, I have to give it. This isn't always true but my relationship experience proves that this is true most of the time.
If I am not getting what I want in my relationships, then I can ask for what I want. If my partner is not validating me or providing enough physical touch, then I can ask for it. I no longer have to wait for her to figure out what I need and in the meantime I can become bitter and resentful that I'm not getting what I want.
Relationships are fruitful and vital in our happiness and relationships...suck. It's hard to coexist and learn how to evolve with other people. The risk is worth the reward!
Here are some things you can do to improve the quality of your relationships:
- Ask for what you want
- Listen (this is hard because we want to console and give advice. Sometimes people just need us to listen)
- Validate what you are listening to (its not agreeing or consigning but its attempting to be compassionate by trying to understand where the person is at)
- Develop trust through being consistent and reliable (do what you say you're going to do)
- Ask what the other person wants or needs
- Be vulnerable (this is hard for men but is so rewarding when we can authentically communicate our feelings)
I hope that you can enrich your life by enriching your relationships. Mike Patterson, friend of mine, gave me this valuable piece of information. He said when someone says "I love you", we are quick to respond with "I love you too". It's like we are conditioned to respond immediately. Instead of saying "I love you too", try saying "thank you for loving me". It can be more meaningful and have a positive impact on the relationship dynamic. So, thank you for loving me!