“Intimate relationships cannot substitute for a life plan. But to have any meaning or viability at all, a life plan must include intimate relationships.” –Harriet Lerner
One of life’s greatest joys is the opportunity we have to create new relationships. No matter how introspective you are or how much you think of yourself as a loner, the people in your life and your relationships with them really do matter.
I have a confession to make. I’m basically an extremely shy person. I bet you didn’t know that. Neither do most of the people sitting in the audience when I speak or sitting around the table when we talk about one of my presentations. Why does my introversion surprise even people who have known me for several years? Because I’m good at telling stories, love to use humor to make a point, and often become very animated when I drive the point home. I much prefer solitude. Place me alone in a beautiful natural setting and I soon forget about missing social interaction. However, it doesn’t take long for the desire to hear another voice and share my thoughts to stir within me. Being surrounded by others is what life is all about.
Each of us experiences many types of relationships. From your mother to the person who cuts your hair, you have a relationship with everyone you encounter. Some of them are wonderful and some are awful. Some are uplifting and some are not. Some you regret and others you relish. Examine your relationships with the people around you. Who they are, what they say, and what they do affect you whether you want to admit it or not. This effect can be uplifting or detrimental.
If you spend too much of your time with individuals who believe that life is a struggle, they will bring you down. People who are filled with doom and gloom predictions, criticisms, and victim mentalities will color your outlook. This is also true for what you watch on television and what you read. Surrounding yourself with negative emotions does not provide you with the positive feedback you require to fulfill your highest and best vision.
We recently had a friend and her travel companion visit us for a weekend at our home. Their trip had not gone well before joining us, and they argued with each other the entire time they were with us. It took me almost a week to clear out all the negative residue left from their visit. I felt physically drained almost to exhaustion when they left. I caught myself acting out of character and realized, “This isn’t me!… What am I thinking?” It didn’t take me long to figure out where all of the negative energy had come from. I took some time to refocus myself and returned to the balanced, centered, and empowered place within myself. Who you spend even a short period of time with can make a huge difference in the quality of your life!