One of my New Year Resolutions was to communicate my thankfulness to people more often. I feel like the people in my life do a lot for me on a regular basis, and it can be really easy to overlook their generosity when it becomes commonplace in my life. So far, I’ve done a fair job at it, but I have to remind myself that a tiny “Thank you!” typed in an email or actually spoken to someone can go a long way.
As you all know, I’ve been writing a series of blogs on my adventure in learning to appreciate what I have in my life. I started out with my closet, because well, what woman doesn’t have those days when she stands in the middle of a full closet and breaks down because she has nothing to wear? Add pregnancy hormones into that mix and it can make for a sure-fire pity party! So here I am, week #3, and this week I’ve been doing an evaluation of the relationships in my life. Especially those people I encounter frequently.
Step 1 – Who’s Who?: The first thing I had to do was make list. Since a list of people you know could become quite daunting, I recommend a top 10. The ten people you spend most of you time with? Your ten best friends at school? The ten family members you see most often? As I listed these people, I thought about the role they play in my everyday life, and how I would be impacted if they weren’t a part of it anymore. I also tried to think about what role I play in their life, and the impact I’ve had in them.
Step 2 – Communicate: After thinking about all of these people I love, I realized I was right on track with my resolution. These are the people that truly understand me, put up with me, and most of all, love me despite my strengths and weaknesses. At this point, I had myself wondering if I have ever let these people know the extent of the love and appreciation I truly have for them? Then it hit me (as if I didn’t already know it) that the key to any relationship is COMMUNICATION! It is my responsibility to let them know what I’m thinking and how I feel.
Step 3 – Project Sweet and Salty: Here comes the hard part; that’s figuring out what to say and the best way to say it. Being in a relationship with anyone (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) is complicated. There has to be a balance of give and take. You are expected to be honest, caring, generous, and loyal, and that is a lot of responsibility. You have to be willing to say the sweet stuff and the tough things when it’s necessary. Obviously, since my resolution was to be more vocal about how thankful I am for the people in my life, I’ve gotten much better about the sweet. It’s the tough stuff I’m struggling with. I hate conflict like I hate the flu. I want to avoid it at all costs. The last thing I want to do is start something with someone I love and end up with a damaged relationship. But now I also understand that the tough stuff is actually tough love, and if I don’t say what I need to I’m doing more damage that I would if I just spoke up.
So what now? Well, now I understand my responsibility to my friends and family so much more. I’m doing my best to show them how much I value them by expressing my gratitude as well as my concerns when I have them. It’s not always easy. In fact it’s much harder than I thought it was going to be. But I know that I want that kind of accountability from them, and I can’t expect them to do what I’m not. I have a long way to grow with this one, but now it’s on to next week!