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I know not a single person who couldn’t use just a little more love in their lives.
Most of us are dying to be understood in a way that makes us feel unique and special, yet we go to great lengths to avoid the loneliness that bubbles up to the surface of our awareness.
According to the National Post, we are only able to successfully maintain five relationships in our inner circle.
Are we sacrificing the quality of our relationships because we have so many, or have we forgotten how to relate to each other in deeper and more meaningful ways?
In what socially accepted ways do we non-intentionally damage our relationships?
Sometimes I think some common and acceptable forms of relating are passive-aggressive. These behaviors may have been passed down from the way we were treated as children. If healthy relationships were not modeled, we may not even know that our everyday behaviors are preventing deeply satisfying connections.
With a little insight and consideration, we can aim for a higher level of engagement with those we like, love, and care to establish a closer bond with.
These behaviors can slowly drain the life out of any relationship:
I used to be a chronically late individual, so I have little room to talk about this one, yet I know it’s such a clear indication of how we either value or devalue someone’s time.
If we choose to make plans and spend time with someone, we should honor that time as a shared commodity. No one wants to wait around for someone when they could be using that time in a wiser, more productive way.
Time is effort. Time is love.
Being honest with our closest people can be the most challenging. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or let anyone down. When people we love want to spend time with us, we may feel guilty for not being available or for choosing our own needs ahead of theirs.
We must learn to say no and be transparent in our relationships if we want them to be healthy. Some of us haven’t yet learned how to say no and/or be in touch with our capability or level of desired commitment to something. Saying “no” gets easier each time, I promise.
I can almost sense it when people are not committed to plans (but say yes anyway), and I always wonder why we do this.
Instead of yes, we could say:
>> Hmmm, let me check my schedule and text you on that one.
>> I don’t know right now.
>> Actually, let me get back to you on that.
These are respectable displays of honesty, rather than misleading. Saying “no” builds a healthy boundary and is a sign of emotional intelligence.
Honesty is vulnerability. Honesty is bravery. Honesty is love.
Playing it cool. Being emotionally absent. Not investing in the relationship emotionally is common, especially in the days of modern technology.
Ghosting, icing, simmering. They all began with a false start. Nothing says “no, thank you” to me more than someone being overtly nice, just out of habit.
Intimacy can never come from relationships that are shallow and based on convenience.
We can certainly feel it to our core when someone is not being genuine. Maybe we were taught as children to be “nice,” and so we aren’t always brave enough to check in with ourselves and reveal how we really feel. I think if we did, we would offer an opportunity for someone to understand us, our inner world, and that authentic moment could make both people feel good.
One time, during a yoga teacher training, I greeted a classmate of mine and asked how she was. She replied with one strong, brave word, “Sh*tty” and I still remember being drawn to her because of her immediate honesty and emotional intelligence.
When we don’t fear what people think of us, we give others the same opportunity to show up flawed and in human form.
Authentic connection requires emotional intelligence that moves beyond the superficial relating style that most of us encounter regularly.
When so many of us suffer from childhood trauma and are in search of relationships that encourage growth and healing, we have the ability to overcome these common obstacles that prevent our relationships from blooming.
It’s as simple as a subtle shifting in the way we relate. We can learn to become more in tune with ourselves and have more meaningful connections with others.
If we do, the possibilities are endless, and we can feel loved and heal within our relationships.
When we invest in our relationships, when we offer our beautiful flawed soul to be seen, we open the door to an abundance of warmth and exchange of energetic spark.