Like Jack did in the last blog when he was “fastpacking,” when you take inventory of the key people in your life, it’s not uncommon to find family and friends at the top of the list. I’ve heard it said that spousal relationships are like emotional bank accounts. We make deposits and withdrawals directly and indirectly by our words and actions. In life, encouragement is one of our deepest cravings. When we encourage with our words, it’s like food for the soul. Words matter, they are powerful and more importantly, memorable. We remember words that are positive and affirming, but we tend to remember words that are sharp and negative even more.
Just as a healthy bank account balance can handle an occasional ATM withdrawal, so too can a healthy marriage handle an occasional disagreement. However, if done repeatedly, a bank account ends up with insufficient funds and in the case of marriage, the result can be separation and/or divorce. A clear take away to building and sustaining healthy relationships is to make lots of deposits and limit withdrawals.
I think it’s fair to say that we all want to know how much people care before we share our inner most thoughts. One way to have a positive impact in your relationships is to be intentional and invest your time into the relationship. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. At that point, they are more willing to listen to what you know. Right or wrong, relationships are graded by how they make us feel. We either want more or we want less and that’s how relationships grow deeper or dwindle off. Have you thought about how “you” make people feel? Are you invested, do you care, are you willing to take the time to listen?
There’s an important question we can ask ourselves when it comes to defining our key relationships:
“Who do I want to be in the relationship and what value can I bring to the relationship?”
For example, when it comes to…
Family: what kind of husband or wife do I want to be, what kind of father or mother do I want to be, what kind of son or daughter do I want to be, what kind of brother or sister do I want to be, or what kind of uncle or aunt do I want to be?
Friendships: what kind of friend do I want to be?
Professional: what kind of leader, employer, employee do I want to be?
If we’ve done our homework in the area of defining our life philosophy, being your true authentic self should be easy and will naturally attract the kind of relationships you want in your life. Before the next post, give some thought to your relationships. When I think about the most important people in my life, I think about the people I love and those who love me in return. When I think about the most memorable people in my life, I think about the people who have invested their time in me to make me a better person, which then encourages me to do the same for others. Where can you improve in how you relate to those who are important in your life?
Plan, Invest, Live™