Hi, Everyone! I’m glad that you are here to read this post today!
After the year of what feels like a couple of years of uncertainty , loss, fear and everything else that had been a product of the lockdown, I think just being alive and well is a victory in itself.
Most importantly the pandemic has for so many of us been a beacon of light shedding on the important things in life.
Going through the motions of life as we did, one tends to lose sight of the important things, as life takes over, also the distractions are in full effect. We tend to numb our senses with other things, turning a blind eye mostly because we don’t want to deal with the seemingly tough things in our lives. However the Pandemic allowed us to stop, evaluate and repurpose.
I have always maintained and I still do that relationships are vital to a healthy, balanced and successful life. Most of us stayed sane through the uncertain times because of a strong support system. We had a lot of unnecessary ? ? zoom activities, hour long phone calls and so many more times that we complained about, but essentially kept us going and gave us the hope we so much needed.
Having healthy relationships is as important as earning an income. Without an income one will not survive; No, we will not die, but we will struggle immensely. When we don’t have good relationships, it doesn’t matter how good other parts of our lives are, there is that vacuum in us that we can’t fill up with a good career, or nice car or a bank full of cash. Humans are programmed to need relationships in order to excel.
I am naturally an introvert. I am more than fine to eat alone; I can go into a restaurant alone, sit down, order food and enjoy it. I can go a week without talking to anyone on the phone, and that’s also fine, however I need MY people, I need my circle all the time. Sometimes I just need my brother to say hi, talk about pretty much nothing… Hear him complain about his day while I complain about mine. I need my best friend and cousin to talk about, or in a manner I wouldn’t with anyone else. I need to release, in a safe haven where I can bear myself and have people speak to me with grace, people that assure me I’m doing a great job when I’m being too critical with myself. Someone I can call to laugh about nothing, just for my soul.
I also have people I call for spiritual counsel, I have people I call for career counsel. I have people that keep me in check; people that I know will humble me with looks. People I know I can never get too big for, people that are not scared to call me out when I need it.
Then I have Mr. X that holds me at night and keeps me warm, with whom I can stay up all night (more like, nag him to not sleep) watching whatever. Someone that makes me smile at “hello” when he picks up the phone.
All these relationships serve me in different ways, all in the while holding me together into one sane, well rounded individual.
A person is as strong as the company they keep, or you are the company you keep. What this simply means is that the relationships we keep make or break us. That is why it is important to mindfully keep the right people around you. I personally always ask myself every now and then if a relationship is serving me.
In actual sense the moment I start feeling a certain way about a relationship, be it platonic or romantic then I have to re-evaluate the relationship. I ask myself, are we going the same direction with this individual? Do we have the same values and interests?
For any kind of relationship to work, there’s got to be an unspoken rule of respect and boundaries.
A lack of mutual respect of each-others boundaries in a relationship will not only cause conflict but emotional damage that in most cases ruin relationships/friendships that were in-fact good for you, but because there was no clear boundaries or the respect that is required to observe the boundaries that have been set, people lose good people in their lives.
As human beings we inherently don’t like boundaries. That is essentially why we need them; to keep us in line, otherwise its free reign…
Simply put, boundaries are just limits one sets for themselves that are in line with what they want for their life. For instance, you set boundaries on how people can treat you, how they can behave around you and equally what they can expect from you.
So I personally have boundaries on how my friends, family, boyfriend, children etc can treat me and what they would expect from me.
From the onset of my relationships I made it crystal clear to Mr. X on what was not acceptable and what is. I remember once sitting in Regents Park with him in the early days of dating (before it was a relationship) and we were talking and I said to him “if this is you looking for younger girl for fun please let me know now because that’s just not for me” stunned, he stammered a little before he could speak, saying “No I want a relationship not a stopover thing”. It was uncomfortable yes, but it had to be said and many other conversations that we had to have, to have a good healthy relationship that serves us both. With time I also learnt to be uncomfortable. I must say that when I am upset, the silent treatment does not work for him, he prefers communication, I mean I can sulk after I have told him whatever the matter is, but not just leave him guessing or worrying about me.
My kids are aware of what they can get away with and what they cannot. My 12 year old understands that banging doors as an expression of emotions is not acceptable as is dis-respectfulness of any kind in our home. In turn he has expressed to me that he doesn’t care for my overboard shouting for every little thing, or calling him 10 times on his way to and from school.
My Friends understand that I share what I share, please don’t be invasive unless I offer to share. I also make clear the need for confidence in friendships otherwise let’s not call it a friendship. In turn I offer everything I expect from others without having them to ask for it.
Family is also one area that requires A LOT of boundaries because let’s face it, sometimes they can be the worst when it comes to respect and boundaries.
One way to learn to set boundaries is to master communication. To respectfully let people know what you want and what you don’t want. To let go of the fear of having uncomfortable conversations is very important.
We must realise that it’s only through those uncomfortable conversations that we birth lasting, meaningful and well serving friendships, family bonds, as well as romantic relationships. It’s ok if the other person doesn’t quite get it. It is ok if you lose some people on the way, because on any given day I would rather have one or two meaningful relationships than ten friendships that don’t serve my life in any way.
Ever been around people that leave you with more stress and questions? Leave you feeling worse about yourself or situation than before you were in their company? Those are the kind of people we say “good riddance” to when we lose because they can’t accept our boundaries.
Sometimes it is ok for a relationship to take a hiatus; in fact in other cases it is necessary. This allows each party to go reflect and re-evaluate, so when you come back together, everyone has a clear understanding of where each party stands.
I have gone a year without talking to my best friend, and that’s been OK. Every time we seemingly fall out, we get back together better. Which has built our friendship to a place where we can communicate better, we each understand each other better, and we serve each other better as friends if not more, as sisters.However it’s taken a process of learning each other’s boundaries, expectations, weaknesses, triggers and respecting all these mutually. Equally as it’s been the process in my romantic relationship, (minus the not speaking part) with every conflict, we both (mainly me encouraging him to share, he is NOT a good communicator of his feelings) communicate, adjust where necessary, our boundaries with love.
All this is essential to a Happy and successful life. If you have ever wondered why your relationships are fleeting, always temporary or never get as strong as others seem, go back to the drawing board, think hard of what and how you want your life to be, pick the right people ( apart from family of course… that’s on God??) that are heading the same direction and start building relationships. Most importantly YOU have to equally learn to be the friend that respects others, observe other’s boundaries and communicate!
Life is hard enough, we all need a tribe of people we can laugh with, cry with, people we can bare ourselves to without fear of judgment or condemnation, celebrate with. We need good relationships!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this read