Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Relationships are fragile; handle with care

Photo by idlehearts.com

One of the most valuable things we are fortunate to have in this life is relationships.  Relationships come in many forms; Parent/child, siblings, significant others, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, friends, co-workers, and the list goes on.  Some of these relationships may be closer than others.  We know how much we love these people and for some of them, we’ll go to the end of the earth for.  Then why is it that we don’t protect these relationships like the fragile gems they are?

We don’t protect them because we take for granted that the person will always be around.  We feel that it’s more important to say what’s on our mind or do what we want to do because “that’s how I am and I’ve always been this way.”  It’s called self-centered, selfish and lacking empathy for others.  I once heard someone say, we treat people we don’t know or care about better than we do the one’s we love most.  Sadly, when I thought about it, it was true.  Not only was the statement an eye opener for me but more importantly, it was life changing.              

One of the greatest realizations we can ever have is that life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised.  Trust me.  That is more than a cliché.  If you really love someone, then that relationship should be worth fighting for and putting petty things behind.  Care enough to watch what you say and do.  Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to mend situations once they’ve been broken.  Like I often tell my daughter, sometimes, I’m sorry isn’t enough.  Proverbs 18:21 says, the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Am I saying that relationships won’t struggles, disappointments or disagreements?  Absolutely not!   However, one thing I’ve found that works when nothing else does is the Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  So many people claim to be a good person some and others claim to be a Christian (meaning like Christ) but don’t know how or care to give another person the same respect they would want to be given. 

Key elements needed to maintain a healthy relationship

1.       Honesty – There’s no better way than honesty to keep a relationship strong.  When there is conflict, nothing can truly be resolved without the truth.

2.       Open communication – If you have a problem with someone, be big enough to talk it out with that person NOT others.  If they can’t give you unbiased (Godly instruction for Christians) advice, then they can cause no good to your relationship and you shouldn’t be talking to them.

3.       Don’t let unresolved issues linger.  You be the bigger person even when the other person may be at fault.

4.       Willingness to talk to your loved ones in “love”.  – Don’t approach a situation in a combative or accusatory manner.  If the other person is not accepting to you trying to make peace, then leave it in God’s hands.  You’ve done your part.  It’s now their burden to bear.

5.       Be willing to listen and accept where you may be at fault.

6.       Don’t let new relationships put a wedge in old ones.  Like I tell my daughter and her middle school friends, it’s okay to have more than one friend at a time.  Also remember, when someone has proven to be there for you through thick and thin, you know where you stand with that person.  Be as good of a friend to them as they have been to you.  You never know how long the new friend might stick around.  Also, you know a tree by fruit it bears.  If a person is always causing havoc and they have no friends or close relationships, ask yourself, why would you let this person come in between a relationship you’ve already built?

7.    Don't be too proud to say I'm sorry. - There may come a time you want to and it'll be too late.

Remember, we don’t always get a second chance.  Relationships are fragile.  Handle them with care.

        Until next time, I hope you have been encouraged, empowered, enriched and enlightened.


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