Life is better when we have good people around us. Our significant others, friends & family are so important, yet so often they get put on the back burner while we plough through our daily grind. All the money and success in the world can’t buy a good, true friend or a loving relationship; it’s the most treasured yet often the most neglected thing in our lives. Let’s take it up a notch or two and build those quality relationships or rekindle old ones we valued. As we close up this series on going the extra mile, let’s look at what it means to give more in our relationships, and what we’ll gain as a result. Here are just some of the ways to get started:
- Put yourself out there
If you’ve got a friend (old or new) or a flame you want to connect with, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose. The worst-case scenario is that they may tell you they aren’t interested or are too busy, in which case you are no worse off than before and at least you can say you had the guts to reach out. Go do things and say yes to adventures. We can’t build relationships from the comfort of our couch or our cell phones; it takes real work in real time.
- Act with integrity and honesty
Talk to your friends or family that you may have been avoiding or neglecting about how you feel and, if your relationship with them is important to you, tell them. Be honest, don’t make excuses, and step up. What matters is that you are putting words into action and committing to relationships, which is demonstrated every time we keep promises and show up, even when it’s not always convenient.
- Accept others for who they are
Sometimes going the extra mile means actually doing, or saying less, especially when it means accepting people and letting them be who they are. Celebrate our differences – don’t fight them! Respect others’ choices and life decisions, and if you truly feel they are harming themselves or others, then you can share that with them in a caring, non-judgemental way.
- Get over it
Some people hold on to everything, including past grudges, anger and grievances. Lighten that heavy burden by setting that negative energy free. Talk it over one last time and if the relationship is worth saving, then save it but don’t keep fretting over the past. The same goes with our own mistakes – we need to own them, fix them, apologize and move on, having gained a learning experience.
Being a great listener is one of the best gifts you can give to your relationships. Let them know you see them, hear them, and empathize with them…all the while keeping their confidence and not sharing secrets.
- Have fun
I talk a lot about shaking up routines and the importance of getting out of ruts – relationship or otherwise. The research has shown that the more we continue to do, learn and try as we age will help us live longer, and better, so why not seek out fun with your friends and family? When we stick to routines, we don’t make new memories, so commit to doing new things. Create time for making your significant other, kids and friends feel valued and they, in turn, will value you that much more.
Whatever stage of life we are at, we always have time to work on those good relationships we are fortunate to have. They are vital and worth every extra step we take. Life isn’t going to hand us what we want, we have to go after it and if we don’t give that little bit more, we won’t get that little bit more. Go the extra mile and reap the bountiful rewards.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill