The movie Toy Story gives us a view of the complexity of human relationships –even while being told from the point of view of two non-humans. Woody and Buzz have a complicated relationship that starts differently than it ends and is colored by a common desire to be the favorite friend of their favorite human, Andy.
Like these beloved characters, we can have a love/hate relationship with relationships. They’re complicated, involve many interpersonal needs and sometimes begin differently than they end up.
Regardless, relationships matter. And, we’ve arguably experienced no more distinct need for relationships as we’ve navigated a year of having to live in relationship with others differently than we’ve ever had to in our lifetime.
As we begin the month traditionally known for being about love, hearts and of course, chocolate, let’s take inventory of our relationships. Three ways you can do that:
1.Examine. Take a look at who’s in your life. This could even be an inventory of sorts. Create some categories: work, neighbors, fun, long time friends, new friends, outside organizations. Notice what you are thinking as you come up with this list of the relationships in your life.
2. Evaluate. Now, take the same list. Determine some basic criteria for the relationships or what’s important in your life right now. Could be things like: time commitment required, energy required, role the relationship plays (ie a thought partner or a laugh maker). Look at what you’ve written down. Is anything missing? Do you have too much of something (or someone)?
3. Eliminate or Enhance. Not to sound harsh here. I’m not exactly proposing that you eliminate relationships in your life but based on how they’re meeting your criteria, maybe you eliminate some ways of being in those relationships or eliminate some of the behaviors you exhibit in those relationships or the ones you allow from the other person in the relationship. Alternatively, you might have realized the value of a relationship through your evaluation. Is there something you want to do to enhance the value you receive or the value you give in the relationship. What step will you take to do so?
Join us in the Level Up Facebook community as we talk more about relationships this month.