Spring is in the air.
Changes. Growth. New life.
Or newly nurtured relationships?
What have you planted over recent years in the form of seeds of companionship and commitment? Are you surrounded by fertile gardens that bring joy and happiness to your life or are your surroundings dry, weathered and crying out for love?
From the moment of birth, you are exposed to one relationship after another. Some are beautiful relationships that have provided you with support, growth, love, nourishment, belief, humor, loyalty, lessons and more. These relationships may have impacted you so positively they will stay with you forever – no matter how fleeting this interaction may have been. Other relationships may not have provided such pleasure.
Each year you are older and wiser. You have more of an understanding of your feelings, thoughts, and interests than you did as a child. Each of these factors is important in assisting you to seek out, nurture, maintain or as needed, release relationships in your life.
It can be a challenge to determine which relationships are worth saving and savoring, and which may have ceased in their contribution to your growth. And what about the relationships that are just not possible to distance yourself from, even though they feel toxic?
The following 5 Relationship Pillars of Empowerment are simple-to-use steps to assist you in designing, deleting or rejuvenating purposeful relationships in any context.
- Intentions – Which Relationships And For What Purpose?
The relationship you have with your child differs from the relationship you have with your partner, which differs from the relationship you have with a colleague. Knowing the nature of the relationship in which you are currently engaging, is absolutely necessary for authenticity and purpose. This first step may seem quite obvious (“I am well aware I am my child’s mother” you may be thinking) however, do you really apply this logic to all relationships? For example, if your intention is to live passionately with your spouse and courteously with your green-grocer, I’m sure you will agree your interactions with these two people (body language, communication, conversation etc) would differ greatly! Determine the purpose of each relationship and your interactions will become much more intentional.
- Why? Values As The Keys To Your Intentions
Understanding the ‘why’ of a relationship promotes clarity regarding the nature of the relationship. Some relationships are self-determined. You meet someone and form a mutual respect, similar interests, enjoyment in each other’s company. Others, however, may be necessary relationships, such as in the instance of family, neighbor or colleague, and may provide – let’s say – ‘challenges’. If you can appreciate ‘why’ you are in this relationship, you can then determine what value it plays in your life and therefore, how to best engage in it.
- Motivate Me … Or Don’t!
Have you ever witnessed someone decide to do something (for example, lose weight) and wonder how they found the discipline to do it? We are all motivated by different factors and knowing what motivates us (or doesn’t), assists with achieving our goals. Are you motivated extrinsically or intrinsically? Are you inspired by what the results could be (closer connection with your loved ones, to raise an empowered child, to gain a promotion) or motivated by what you don’t want (to be alone, to raise a child unable to help themselves, to be unlikable)? Understand what motivates you and gain a huge insight into why you interact with others the way you do. We are not put on this earth to be islands – we crave connection and belonging from infancy. You have the ability to make conscious choices about your relationships, therefore this element of motivation reminds you of your power of thought and influence.
- Rules As Guidelines Or Gridlines
Love rules or hate them, we all live by them, whether we are aware of it or not! One person’s rule for viewing respect from a child, for example, can differ greatly from another’s. Agreed? Some parents are sticklers for having their child say hello, goodbye, please, thank-you and every other ‘polite’ statement when interacting with others. Another family may view that as too formal, and believe ‘niceness’ is respect enough. There is no right or wrong, just different rules for different individuals. Becoming aware of your rules (and then expressing them to those you have a relationship with) and as importantly, determining the rules of those around you, is a significant key to enhancing EVERY relationship in your life. Have you ever wondered why someone got so upset over a little thing? Chances are their rules were different to yours, and in their eyes, their rule for something important to them (a value) was broken. Understanding this concept can heal the most strained relationship. As Steven Covey stated ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’.
- Strategising To Win The Game …
What is the game of life all about? Only you can answer that for yourself. Once you know what you believe about this question, then you can work on answering and actioning it! Determine your intention (for who you want to be, how you would like your relationships to be), what is important to you (what do you value, what lies deeply important to your heart and soul), what rules do you have about these value and intentions, then motivate YOURSELF! Don’t wait for someone else to do it – it’s your life, your relationships, take control of it!
Here’s to you nurturing the foundation of your relationships this Spring,