5 Observations to Enliven Relationships

We are a social species
Our lives are filled with relationships of all sizes and shapes
I’ve gathered a few observations along the way
In hopes of making our relationships more complimentary

Number One
Get rid of the binaries
The us and them
Sinner and saint
Black and white
Blue and green
Your are relating to a fellow human being
Full stop.
No labeling!

This is not to be taken lightly
For dehumanizing another human being
Through seemingly simplistic binaries
Has led to tragedy after tragedy
No matter the circumstance
Do not forget another’s innate humanness

Number two
Listen, really listen
And not just to the sounds
Hear the tone, inflection, pauses, words
See the gestures, eye movements, posture
Reflect what you hear
To be clear you’re not jumping to your own conclusions
We all have filters whether we are aware of it or not
So take the time to see if you are truly hearing what they say
From where they say it not your own spot

When someone knows they are heard
Trust grows with each honored word

Number three
And speak truly
Even in those uncomfortable situations
Where you’d rather stay quiet or flee
Of course, speak mindfully
Speak into those relationships where trust has been gathered one drop at a time
Until it’s reached that threshold where you know even in conflict
They are on your “side”

Your voice is yours
Do not run hide
At the same time
Cherish your stories and share them with those you can trust and confide

When you gather the courage to speak publicly
Remember “it is not the critic who counts” (Theodore Roosevelt – Man in the Arena)
Or those who insult from the back row
It is your willingness to dare greatly
And draw close to those you trust truly
Even if they don’t say what you always want to hear
You know it comes from a place of love and not fear

Number four
Preserve and protect respect
Standing up for your values is not an aggressive maneuver
It is being true to you
If you are ignored, mocked, or ridiculed
Recognize that trust should be evaporating from these relationships
Make boundaries and keep them strong
Do not deeply confide in those who will not honorably  walk alongside

Respect is non-negotiable
It’s a prerequisite for any meaningful relationship

Seek those who hear you as you
Not what they think you should say or do
Though dialogue is of course important too
Let it be shared mutually and with the understanding
Together you are building something of great value

Seek acceptance for who you are, as you are
If you have not found it yet in the eyes of another, keep looking
You are worth it
You are always worth it

Number Five

Spend time together
Free from entertainment or other gadgets
Spend time talking, laughing, cooking, dancing
Walking, gazing, listening, wondering, sharing

This is not to say avoid everything in the digital age
Or the latest music show, sports event or theatrical stage
It is to say, when building or strengthening relationships
Learn to share one another’s spaces and presence
Appreciate what you may not have noticed before
Perhaps even lean into the silences
In ways that may have once been difficult to explore

In summary
See first and foremost our common humanity
Listen, really listen to their stories
Speak from your heart and mind
Recognize respect needs be inherently intertwined
And finally take time with another beautiful human being to just be for awhile

While these observations are not extravagant
Perhaps we need to come back down to ground
So we may discover the more deeply connected relationships
Waiting patiently to come round


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