Life is about relationships—relationship with God—relationships with family—relationships with friends—and a relationship with a man or woman you love. The quality of your life can be measured by the quality of your relationships. Good relationships take a lot of time, effort, and commitment.
If you want good relationships, you must set them as a priority in your life. You must get beyond yourself and care about another person enough to invest energy into getting to know him or her. If you are a parent or a grandparent, it is your responsibility to make the effort to get to know your children or grandchildren. Who are they? What makes them different or special? What are their unique gifts and talents? And what can you do to love, validate, encourage, and bless them? If you are a spouse, what can you do to be more available, accommodating and loving?
Family relationships especially take effort. You can’t choose your parents, brothers and sisters, or relatives, and some families or family members are so dysfunctional and incapable of relationship that you are limited to what you can do to make the connection different or better. You may never enter into true relationship in these situations. However, most families are made up of imperfect but decent people who are worth taking the time to get to know. None of us are perfect! None of us are who we would like to be, but all of us have some redeeming qualities.
Kindness, respect, courtesy, and selflessness foster good relationships. Reciprocity (to give and take mutually) encourages relationships to grow and flourish. Basic gratitude and acts of appreciation encourage relationships to grow, while a lack of respect, regard, and appreciation causes relationships to wither up and go away. Most people will not continue to make an effort in a relationship if over time they get nothing in return for their efforts. You can only reach out so much with calls, e-mails, texts, acts of kindness; if you receive nothing from the other person, you get to the point you stop trying. The relationship is no longer worth the frustration, disappointment, and effort.
So pursue good healthy relationships. Love others. Make a genuine effort to cultivate relationships and get to know your family, coworkers, and acquaintances. If your efforts fail to produce positive results, move on to those who have the capacity to love and appreciate you. Keep relationships simple.