Life is full of obligations. There are lots of things that we have to do for others that are burdensome, unpleasant or just not fun. That is life. The question we have to ask ourselves is this: Will I serve with a bitter heart or a joyful heart? To give you an example, my daughter […]
We all want to have great relationships. We want to get along with our family members. If we are married, we want to have a terrific relationship with our spouse. And we want to have meaningful friendships. But so often, our relationships are less than we want them to be.
Part of the problem is that we don’t work at developing the right qualities so that we can have good relationships. For instance, we may be too focused on having a great wardrobe. Or on having the perfect body. Or on being charismatic or witty. Those are all great qualities to have if you want to pick up someone at a bar. Or if you want to be popular in high school. Or if you want to have a large Instagram following. But those are not the qualities that you need to have good relationships with those closest to you.
If you want to improve your relationships with others, you have to develop those qualities that help you positively connect with others. You want to become the type of person who makes others feel loved and cared for. You want to become the type of person who builds people up and encourages them to reach their highest potential.
Below are some important qualities to develop so that you can have great relationships, whether they be with your spouse, children, parents or friends.
Be Consistently Kind: Being kind is a choice. It is a choice that we make every time we interact with another human being. We can choose to be kind in any given situation, or we can choose to be cruel or indifferent.
It is easy to be kind to others when we are happy and feeling good about ourselves. The challenge is to be kind, even when we are depressed or frustrated. It takes maturity to be kind no matter what our circumstances.
I know people whose kindness depends on their mood. The problem with people like that is that you can’t trust them. You never know how they will behave in any given situation. If they are feeling good about themselves, they are great to be around. But if they are upset about something, they will take it out on anyone within spitting distance. Who wants to be around people like that? No one.
If you want to have good relationships, people need to be able to trust that you will be kind to them no matter what. They need to know that your kindness does not depend on your mood. That takes maturity. But if you are consistently kind, you will earn the trust of those you love, and your relationships will improve immensely.
Be Genuinely Interested in Other People: Social media encourages people to be more interested in themselves than in others. It encourages folks to spend a lot of time posting pictures of themselves or their children. Or to voice their opinions about every topic under the sun. And there is nothing wrong with that.
But to make real connections with people, you can’t just be interested in talking about yourself. You have to be genuinely interested in other people. You have to ask people questions about their job, interests and opinions. People can’t just be an audience to your life. You have to be interested in them, as well.
For example, there are many people with whom I interact on a regular basis who have no idea what I do for a living. Nor do they know that I write for Beliefnet. Why? They never have asked. Getting to know me is not on their agenda. They know me and my husband, and they assume that I am a housewife. They have no idea that besides being a wife and mother, I also am a lawyer and a writer.
To have great relationships with other people, you have to be interested in them. They can’t just be a sounding board for your issues and concerns. It is only when you know someone else fully that you can connect with them in a meaningful way.
Be Confident: You can’t have good relationships with others if you aren’t confident in yourself. Why? Because if you are insecure, then you won’t treat your friends and family properly.
If you are insecure, every time someone you love is successful, you’ll think, “Why aren’t I as successful as they are? What is wrong with me?” And you won’t be happy for them, as you should be. You’ll be too worried about your own success or failure.
Insecure people make terrible friends, family members and spouses. They lash out at others whenever they are feeling badly about themselves. And they don’t have the capacity to be happy for the successes of others. As a result, being confident is a quality that you need to possess in order to have good relationships.
The key to increasing your confidence is to run your own race. Stop comparing yourself to others. If you live your life comparing it to others, that inevitably will affect your confidence and self-esteem.
The reality is that there will always be someone who is doing better than you are. There will always be someone who makes more money than you. And there will always be someone who has a better marriage. Or whose kids are more successful. You’ll never be#1 in all things. So, if you spend your time in competition with others, you will end up feeling badly about yourself.
It is far better to judge yourself based on whether God is happy with you. Specifically, are you diligently working toward accomplishing God’s plan for your life? If you are, then you can feel good about yourself and your life.
Once you are know that you are successful in God’s eyes (and you are!), then you can be confident in every area of your life. And then you can be truly happy for others. You honestly can celebrate the successes of those you love. And you can encourage them to reach their highest potential. And that attitude can only benefit your relationships.
If you are struggling in your relationships, consider developing those qualities that will make you a good friend, family member and spouse. It is well worth your time. There is no greater blessing in life than being in good relationships with others. Make sure that your relationships are the best that they can be.
(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)
Books: “The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother” by Meerabelle Dey (https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Success-Working-Mother/dp/1546329544 )