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ABCs of Positivity: R Is for Relationship

Relationship – Another BIG topic. We’ll explore what they have to do with a positive life experience.

ABCs of Positivity: R Is for Relationship

The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. This is not a cliché – it is 100 percent true. Why? Because you are the only true constant in your life. You’re the one you have to live with all day, every day. There’s no taking a break for a bit from your tastes, your attitudes, your thoughts, your decisions. You’re the only person you are with all the time. So how you think about yourself, how you talk to yourself, how you treat yourself matters. These are the behaviors that constitute a relationship.

As humans, we are communal beings. We thrive in connection to others. We prefer differing degrees of connection, to be sure, but even the most introverted among us would have a difficult time existing alone on an island.

What are the key relationships in your life?

For most of us, our first important relationship was with our parents. I had a strange, sometimes strained relationship with my parents. They weren’t perfect – no parent is – but as I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that even in their mistakes and faults, they did the best they could. And I turned out OK, so maybe their best was pretty good – or better than I realized in my less charitable moments of remembering them.

Though I gave birth to a son, I have not parented, instead placing him for adoption with an amazing family. I still have a relationship with him – it’s just not the typical mother-son relationship. The birthmom-birthchild relationship is unlike any other. It’s perhaps a bit like being an aunt, but he’s your child, the one you conceived and carried and brought into this world, so you’re not quite as removed as an aunt. But you gave over all the parenting responsibilities to others, thus you have no parental input, so to speak. Eric and I have a good relationship, overall – though it waxes and wanes. I am OK with that and try always to give him enough space that I don’t come across as needy or intruding.

Even though I did not parent, I have watched many parents in my life, my younger sister chief among them. She was an amazing mom, even though she had her cringey moments. I refer back to the “no parent is perfect” statement above. In spite of all my sister’s efforts, my niece has been a handful and a challenge. Samantha and I went together for manicures a few years back. It was a bit difficult for Sam to communicate the way she wanted her nails shaped, and the manicurist did not do it perfectly to her specifications. My niece was a grown adult in her early 20s at this time, but she started crying and throwing a tantrum like a 5-year-old because they filed her nails wrong. This was not an atypical scenario. I asked my sister later how such a laid-back person could have such a high-maintenance daughter. “Karma,” was her response.

Like it or not, the parents set the tone for the parent-child relationship. They are the fully formed humans, interacting with and helping shape the identity of their child. They are, for lack of a better word, in control of the earliest aspects of the relationship. So they determine whether their relationship more resembles boss/employer, master/slave, friends, or actually parent/child. Only one really is in the best interest of the child, and I have no doubt it is the most challenging for the parent.

Who sets the tone in the rest of our relationships? It should be fairly equitable, shouldn’t it? But that’s not always the case. The more outgoing, domineering, or opinionated person will likely be the one to set the tone for the relationship – although if any of those personalities is also emotionally mature, they’ll make every effort for balance in the relationship. Lacking balance, one person can dominate a relationship. This is not likely to be a positive or happy relationship for either person – at least not in the long run.

Good relationships do a number of things for us:

(1) Relationships give us a sense of connection – and with that connection, purpose.

(2) Relationships alleviate the stress of trying to go it on our own.

(3) We heal faster when we have strong relationships.

(4) Relationships give us a reason to cultivate healthier behaviors.

(5) People with healthy relationships tend to live longer.

Want better relationships – across the board?

  • Be authentically present.
  • Listen without interrupting.
  • Speak your truth, kindly.
  • Withhold criticism unless you have a very good reason for it. Hint: a sense of superiority, “I told you so,” and revenge are not good reasons.
  • Don’t give advice unless asked.
  • Accept advice if you ask for it.
  • Express gratitude regularly.
  • Give genuine compliments.
  • Ask when you need a favor.
  • Offer before you need to be asked.
  • Take a break when you need to.
  • Remember to say I love you – don’t make them assume.

How many of these relationship tips relate back to other ABCs? Positivity comes to us from every direction. Increasing your gratitude, becoming more mindful, watching for opportunities are all great ways to improve every aspect of your life, including your relationships.

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ABCs of Positivity   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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2 thoughts on “ABCs of Positivity: R Is for Relationship

  1. What an inspiring blog Laura. I had a wonderful relationship with my parents, learned so much from them. My hubby and I have been together 56 years, married 54 with 2 children and tons of grands and great grands. Unfortunately our youngest daughter and her husband choose to end their relationship from the entire family including their children. I am so glad we were able to step in and be their for our grands. We now have the best relationship with them and our 3 year old great granddaughter. Our daughter and son-in-law are missing so much love.

    Like

    1. Hi, Martha –

      I’ve heard disappointing stories like your daughter’s – so glad your grandchildren had you to be there for them. Overall, sounds like a marvelous big, loving family. Thanks for the feedback. Best regards –

      Laura

      Like

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