What is a meaningful relationship? It is a relationship based on mutual love and affection between two people that provides happiness and pleasure. This type of relationship can be between husband and wife, parent and child, siblings, close friends, or even distant relatives. These relationships are essential for all human beings. They provide us with a deeper sense of purpose (something outside of ourselves) and give life an added dimension that cannot be replicated through casual acquaintances or associates.
How would you rate your relationships? Are they casual or truly fulfilling? Do you have relationships with others that need to be fixed or cultivated? We often put things off or take them for granted, thinking the other person will always be around. We might put off spending quality time with those we cherish until the next holiday, vacation, or even until retirement. The truth is, we are never guaranteed another day of life. Be proactive and take the time to strengthen bonds with the people who mean the most to you now. As mentioned in Principle 5-Utilizing Your Resources, if you don’t develop the personal leadership skills to make decisions or take action, time and chance will do it for you, and you probably won’t like the results.
Science has revealed the universal law of cause and effect, which even applies to events and decisions we make in our own lives. Just as our present has its roots in our past, our future is being affected by what we do now. This is why “living in the now” is not the best approach to life. Utilizing your personal leadership abilities, you must make thoughtful decisions based on what the long-term implications of your choices might be.
Let’s take a look at some personality characteristics that can devastate even the best relationships. If you recognize any of these issues in yourself, take steps to change the behavior.
Selfishness in one or both people in a relationship—Selfishness is a serious personality flaw that can wreak havoc on your relationships. When not dealt with properly, a selfish person can be impossible to please and endlessly frustrating to anyone who has formed a personal relationship with them. Like a toxic chemical, selfishness will eat away at the bond between two people, often leading to mistrust and resentment.
Fear and insecurity—This usually involves a personal issue in dealing with commitment or trust due to past abuse or emotional trauma. When someone in a relationship has a lack of trust or inability to become vulnerable to another person, they are unable to communicate freely and fully invest themselves in the relationship. A communication breakdown occurs, leading to a relationship that is not fulfilling for either person involved.
Familiarity—Taking your spouse, relative or friend for granted is a serious problem that can stifle a relationship. Common in many marriages, this idea that your loved one will always be there inhibits you from nurturing and putting forth the effort needed to keep the relationship strong. Without a consistent effort to put your relationship first, it can be overshadowed by other issues. When you take someone for granted, it tells them that you don’t care about them anymore.
“Chronic Jerkism”—This is an umbrella term used to identify a person who believes that they are always right, are often argumentative, and won’t give up until they have had the last word. This personality issue is downright repulsive to anyone who comes in contact with it. It usually stems from a lack of self-worth and insecurity on the part of the offender. It is incredibly frustrating to have a relationship with someone like this, and he or she will eventually drive most people away.
Maintaining Positive, Meaningful Relationships
Here are some steps you can take to grow and maintain healthy, meaningful relationships:
- Invest time, patience, and attention into the relationship. These investments will strengthen the bond you have and show the special person in your life that you care.
- Practice being a giver rather than a taker. Relationships work best when both parties are givers.
- Lead by example. If you want to see change in a relationship, model the change you want to see in others. It will rub off on the other person.
- Heal damaged relationships with heartfelt apologies. If you hurt or offend someone with whom you have a cherished relationship, don’t hesitate to offer a sincere apology. Allow the other person to “vent” and let their emotions out without becoming defensive or firing back with your own gripes. This begins the healing process.
Why Are These Relationships So Important?
Unlike power, money, and prestige, meaningful relationships provide you with a deep sense of joy and pleasure that is essential to your happiness. We have all seen prominent entertainers and business people who seem to have everything they ever wanted spiral into a destructive pattern due to an emptiness or incompleteness felt by a lack of a meaningful relationship with another person. As an effective personal leader, make sure you put the same time and effort into your relationships as you do in other areas of your life. Such relationships are a fortress when you are discouraged or dealing with difficulties in other areas of your life. Take the time every day to nurture and grow the relationships most important to you.
Have you created a personal leadership development plan? Without proper planning, your dreams of success will remain just that…dreams. Leadership Excellence can help. We offer leadership development seminars in Medina, Ohio and surrounding areas, leadership coaching, and free leadership resources to put you on the path to making your life goals reality.