As the old saying goes, “the best things in life aren’t things”. That phrase has a lot of merit in the meaning behind the message. The greatest personal rewards we can ever experience have to do with relationships; our relationships with family, friends, loved ones, community members, and the world in general.
In order to have successful, happy, functioning relationships we need to approach people with respect, an open mind and heart, and a forgiving nature. This is certainly not always easy, especially when our opinions and ideas are challenged, boundaries are crossed, and unkind words are spoken. Most people tend to have one of two reactions – fight or flight. But this doesn’t result in a positive outcome.
While it’s important to be honest about your feelings and thoughts, and to share your truth with another person (rather than holding it in to avoid confrontation), it’s equally important to express that truth in a respectful, courteous manner. This helps communication flow better, while people are able to share their differing opinions and still feel they are being heard by the other person.
In the book Become a Better You, author (Joel Osteen) encourages readers to “think of (their) relationships as ’emotional bank accounts’.” He suggests that people invest in their relationships by making deposits into these accounts, rather than withdrawals. He explains withdrawals as “selfish behavior, being unforgiving, not keeping commitments, and not expressing appreciation to someone to whom it is due”. He says, “the problem in many of our relationships is that our accounts are overdrawn.” Good point!
So how do we fix this? We need to make a valiant and consistent effort to build-up the people in our lives. Give them encouragement, support, love, and appreciation. And during the times that we don’t agree, we do our utmost to approach each other with respect and consideration, recognizing that although there might be different viewpoints, that each has it’s own value.
By taking all these steps to creating good communication, we improve our relationships with other people, and create a fuller, happier life for both ourselves and others.