Every day we’re juggling different relationships—work colleagues, friends, family, romantic partner; the list goes on. Our relationships are not a “one-size-fits-all”, and we need wisdom to know how to show up well in each relationship.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a mini-series on relationships (click here if you missed it) to address the uniqueness of each major relationship in our lives, and provide a tip that might be helpful. Here is an overview of what we covered.
- Relationship with a Romantic Partner
In his book, Attached, Amir Levine talks about how so many of us learned to associate love with the highs and lows, (picture an emotional rollercoaster of sorts), that when our relationships are stable we found ourselves feeling disinterested and bored.
This is a pretty common phenomenon, and one I’ve experienced personally. As we grow in a secure attachment to ourselves and others we’re better equipped to rewire our associations with love so that we can see the steadiness and stability of a relationship as a more safe, healthy, and enjoyable experience.
2. Relationship with Friends
So much has changed in our friendships since the pandemic, and I hear stories every day from my clients about unexpected challenges and changes in their friendships that have brought up a lot of grief and disappointment.
The reality is, we want our friendships to last forever, and it’s hard when they don’t. Inevitably, we find ourselves at a crossroads deciding if a friend we have a history with is also someone we will continue sharing a future with.
My therapist calls it “orbiting”. Friends orbit in and out a lot during our lives, and each time we get to reassess how close we will be in each season. It’s important to allow for nuance in our friendships. With some friends you can share almost everything, and others you can share only some aspects of your life. Or you may be really close with a friend in one season and in another, there may be more distance. All of these iterations are ok. Difficult at times, but ok.
Leaning into gratitude for the place each friend has held in our lives helps us to be more flexible when the changes inevitably come.
3. Relationship with Family
Navigating an adult relationship with our families is tricky. What often makes it difficult is when we approach it in a binary way. This could sound like… “My family needs to have unlimited access to me or none at all.” This either/or approach eliminates the nuance that is so necessary to effectively navigate the complexity of our family dynamics.
No family is perfect, and in order to acknowledge the full scope of our experience, we need to see them in a more nuanced way. That could sound like, “My family has been there for me during difficult times, and there have also been moments when I have been hurt or disappointed by them.”
By acknowledging the nuances, you’re better equipped to make wise decisions on how to engage your family in the future.
4. Relationship with God
How often have we assumed it’s better that we shield God from our emotions? We think that being honest with God about our anger or disappointment will lead to judgment or punishment. Depending on our experiences around faith, it would make sense why so many of us carry around these messages.
But what if God doesn’t have a fragile ego that needs protection from our honest, and often difficult, lived experiences? What if he is secure enough to hear and hold what is on your mind?
I would encourage you to push back against the notion that God needs to be protected from your honest questions and feelings, and see how it feels to show up authentically with him.
5. Relationship with Yourself
How ironic is it that we spend so much time and effort learning how to trust others but forget the importance of trusting ourselves?
Every time we deny our intuition out of the fear that if we don’t we might be rejected or abandoned by someone else, you know what happens in the process? We have abandoned ourselves. Over time, this creates a distrust for ourselves. But if we honor our intuition and choose to act on what most aligns with our values, we build trust within.
Keep one promise to yourself this week and see how it boosts your self-confidence.
P.S. Did you know that my upcoming book, Seasons of Waiting, is available for pre-order?! Click here to learn more!