If you’ve lived a while, you definitely, well, hopefully, know how to relate to yourself. Otherwise 🙊 Most monks do this well too. Cut off from significant interaction with people they are able to lead peaceful lives. Unfortunately, you and I don’t live in a bubble and can’t afford such luxury, so we must unlearn unproductive habits. Hopefully, you’ve had some success with relating to others, but people are constantly growing, hence, our relationships should be evolving constantly. This is why educating ourselves is key. I know! Another book or two to read, on top of your current growing library.
But it gets easier if you invest your time wisely into developing your relational skills. For one, we build the necessary neural pathways that become more highly connected and organized with time, making this process more efficient. Although, you might also need to re-evaluate your reading skills. But that’s a matter for another day. In the words of one of my favorite authors – John Maxwell, Relationships are our greatest assets. This, I believe, is how we live on forever in people’s memories and no, I am not reiterating any lines from the movie Coco. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d suggest you do. Try not to cry, if you are so inclined.
One book (among many others such as the 5 Love Languages and 52 Uncommon Dates – by Dr. Gary Chapman) that has made a life-changing effect on my life recently is called BOUNDARIES – my most recent buzzword – by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Boundaries can be physical (e.g. landmarks between Nations) or abstract (philosophical), automatic or intentional (you get my drift). They all define territories or protect. These books surmise that the key to quality relationships is YOU. Well, mostly you.
While a recent study where people were tracked for 75 years (since before WWII), measuring outcomes of emotional and physical trauma such as the horrors of the Holocaust – conducted by researchers at Harvard showed compelling evidence that good relationships define us. The ability to respond properly with a YES or NO in relationships, albeit the right way, allows for balance. In this book on Boundaries, rather than explore personality differences and how these influence relationships. The authors categorized people based on the way they handle conflicts. These categories were: the complaint, the controller, the manipulator or the non-responsive person. The type of conflict we experience depends on the pair in the said friendship. Broadly speaking, complaints find it hard to say no, non-responsive people tend not to be passive in relationships, while controllers and manipulators violate other people’s boundary limits by doing precisely what their title suggests.
I should add that by relationships I do not mean romantic bonds. Relationships here refer to friendships or partnerships. Because if partnerships say in marriage, at work or business was central to maintaining bonds between people, then there will be no divorce, workers would not leave institutions for others and business partnerships would never be annulled. Strong attachment or fondness makes us stay when boundary conflicts arise. Developing and applying healthy boundaries is a skill that needs to be cultivated with work, family, hobbies, God, kids, etc., you name it. You don’t have to be an expert at most things, but you have to manage your relationships, no one can do your relating for you.
You are a finite being; with ye amount of resources, living in an environment governed by laws and principles such as gravity, where consequences are meted to our words and actions within the social network we engage with. Hope you grab yourself a copy too, sooner, rather than later; identify yourself and grow thereby. Here, the expectation is for you to learn new skills and put them to practice in ways that would free you and people around you to love and live successfully. I hope you find it as insightful as I did. Happy reading!