Yesterday was Valentine's day, a day where Americans spend a staggering 27 billion dollars on candy flowers jewelry and other gifts of affection.
Amidst the rush to get that last minute gift it's easy to forget that at the root of this holiday is the celebration of relationships. This Valentine's day in addition to celebrating with my fiancé, and contributing to that massive valentines day spend with some flowers and an oversized card, I spent some time reflecting on all the relationships in my life.
What I noticed in reflection is that relationships, out of all the areas of my life, are the thing that adds the most joy, fulfillment, and happiness, dead stop.
Whether it is my intimate relationship, my friendships or my business relationships, when my relationships are aligned my life feels aligned.
This noticing sparked further reflection prompting the question what are the few things that have contributed to the growth and success of my relationships.
Whilst this list is certainly not exhaustive, here are three principles that stood out to me:
Help Them Get What They Want Putting ourselves to the side, and using the question “how can I help this person get what it is that they want?” is a powerful reframe in the context of all relationships. Whether it is your lover, your client or a friend, devoting your effort to understanding what they desire, and then being a partner in helping them get it, does wonders. To get started with this principle listen deeply, show genuine interest, and follow through with promises made.
Turn Towards, Now Away From Conflict Conflict is uncomfortable. As a result it is easy to run, stonewall or flat out ignore any sort of conflict in relationships. Conflict left in the shadows is a recipe for disaster in relationships. Whether it is immediately or long term, unresolved conflict always bubbles up to the service. Turning into, rather than away from conflict may be uncomfortable in the moment, but it will save you much more discomfort in the long term. It takes work, but conflict is your chance to stay present, practice mindfulness, and attack the problem not the person.
Do Not Keep Compliments to yourself A genuine well thought out and expressed complement in a relationship is one the most valuable and underutilized currency that costs you absolutely nothing. If someone you are in a relationship with does something you appreciate, share it with them. Do not keep it inside, it doesn't do any good there. This should be fun. Try it today with anyone that you are in a relationship with, watch it light them up (and I bet it might light you up too).
No matter the kind, relationships take focus and investment to grow. The return on your relationship investments will pay extraordinary returns in your life.
If relationships are an area in your life that you feel needs more focus and investment, I would love to help.
Coaching on relationships of all kinds is one of my favorite areas of focus. To learn more about coaching and to schedule a complimentary session check out my website here: https://cutt.ly/1kMYoW7