Can You Relate?
"Everything in life is about relationships."
Not necessarily a profound statement but I think in today's crazy, mixed up world it's easy to lose focus. We forget what really matters. Good relationships don't always come easy. For some of us, establishing and maintaining good relationships comes naturally. For others it can be a life-long struggle. I would just say that the good things in life - sometimes the best things - are worth the effort.
In thinking back over my life, I smile inside at the good times had through strong relationships. I also cringe at the thought of some of them I've fucked up in a big way. On balance, more good than bad in my experience and I'll take that. Struggling for perfection in this area can make you a doormat and more importantly, you will not be your genuine self. When you are not genuine, inside you will feel cheap and a little dirty. Not a good way to go through life.
So how do you navigate the terrain?
First, reference the above paragraph. Be true to you. Be your genuine self. Remove the focus on you and place the emphasis on whomever your relationship is with. Don't misunderstand. I'm not just speaking about your intimates. I'm talking about the convenience store clerk that you interact with five or six times a week. Maybe a bank teller. And certainly the folks in your social media network. You've heard that the key to success is treating the Janitor the same as the CEO? Sound advice.
Choose to be kind when you have the option. Not sticky-sweet gushing kind. Blech. People see right through it and will actually drift away. Again, be genuine. Does that mean that things will always work out the way you would like? Of course not. Maybe that grumpy cashier will always be grumpy towards you. No matter. At all.
Having relationships can be two-fold. First, at the end of the day, you can reflect back and feel good about yourself and your interactions when you have made the effort. Just as important are the ramifications when you choose to be a dick. (Relationships Pro-Tip: Don't be a dick.)
As an example, I used to work in the insurance industry as a claims adjuster. I was constantly amazed by the number of people who, in our very first interaction, were complete dicks. Inside, I'm thinking, "I'm the guy with the checkbook. Do they really think this is a winning strategy?"
Let's talk for a moment about online/social media relationships. They are such a large part of our lives these days. I probably spend more time online than I should. I'm not going to worry about that too much. In actuality I treasure these relationships - especially with those I consider my intimates. They became part of that special part of my life because of the genuine efforts put forth by both parties. The top of my "bucket list" includes that wonderful day when we all meet in person. We all talk about it frequently.
At the next level are the social media relationships that matter so much. Does your interaction with your social media peeps involve little more than likes and reposts? Where is the social in that? Whenever I see someone liking or reposting me, I try to reach out, thank them and wish them a wonderful day. And I mean it. I am being genuine. Often these relationships flip someone in to my "intimates" category. And it cost me nothing. Nothing.
There you have it. Some self-reflection is warranted here.
Can you relate?