BUILDING TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS (Parts 1 of 4)
Greetings and welcome to my blog post. My intention for this blog space is to address and talk about how we do relationships. How do you relate to people? What are your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, approach or even avoidance when it comes to how you relate to people? Whether the person in your life is a spouse, sibling, friend, child, parent, or co-worker, etc, it does not matter, to live life is to face the reality of dealing with people.
I believe that we were created to have relationships with people. I do believe that healthy people and healthy relationships give meaning to our lives. A good life=good relationships. Think about this. Think about the important relationships in your life. Can you reflect and recognize that when you have harmony with the people in your life, that this harmony can lead to calmness, happiness, meaning, and relaxation? Can you say and notice how much you like and value being in a relationship with that person? And because of this relationship, you notice how that affects your mood, your ability to function, to sleep, to work, to have the energy to deal and tackle problems in life. When you know that you are liked and loved, this will provide the fuel to face the realities of life.
In my last four-part blog post series, I invited you to consider what ingredients you are not willing to put into building healthy relationships. (If you have not read this series, I would invite you to read this). In this new four part series, I want to invite you to consider some necessary healthy relationship ingredients that I know will greatly improve your relationships. Just like the song states: “Just A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down” is also true when it comes to participating in these four ‘healthy spoonfuls’ to help make your relationships work.
Consider this scenario: You decide to have three friends over for dinner. Someone has given you a two hundred dollar gift card to your favorite grocery store. You decide to use this gift card for this dinner party by cooking and preparing a four course meal. You want to choose the four best items from the grocery store, so all four of you can really, really enjoy a nice meal together. You value these three friends and you want to celebrate a nice meal and quality time hosting this dinner party.
So, what four items would you choose? Let’s say, for argument sake, the four items are a main entrée, a vegetable, a salad and a dessert. Therefore, you can spend up to $50.00 on each item from your two hundred dollar gift card. What a joy, what a pleasure. Your desire is to go out of your way to provide these four food items because you deeply like and value these three friends as well as quality food. You don’t want to compromise and you don’t want to settle.
Let’s switch gears and talk about what four qualities you want as excellence in building healthy relationships? What four items would you choose in order to participate and enjoy savoring a really good relationship with someone? What do you want and what will you not compromise on when it comes to seeking and desiring the best for your relationships?
RELATIONSHIP TRAIT # 1: RELIABILITY
Let me invite you to consider Reliability as your first quality relationship trait. How would you define this word? What experiences would you be able to look back on where you felt that the people in your life were reliable? Can you see the benefit of recognizing how a friend, a spouse, a family member, a co-worker has demonstrated this relationship trait and how this has helped you to build trust?
When you choose reliability as a main ingredient, think of the implications for all your relationships. Reliability is the experience and the confident assurance that the people in your life are dependable, honest and truthful. When reliability is experienced and valued, you know and you have a history in which that person will do what they say they are going to do. You want to know, in your important relationships, that you do feel this person is respectful, dependable, and responsible.
Reliability is something that you witness and build memories of experiences over time, to prove to you people are reliable. A person cannot just say to you in words that they are reliable; they must show it to you in various experiences over and over again. For example, you ask your friend, spouse, co-worker, or family member to meet you at the movie theater by 7:15 for a 7:30 showing. You are really looking forward to this movie and you purchase tickets ahead of time to guarantee two seats for this showing. You are standing at 7:15 waiting for the person to show up. They do show up on time, and you are reminded, this person is someone that you can rely on.
Or, you ask your spouse to pick up the kids after soccer practice because you have dentist appointment. You can rely on him to be a man of promise that he will be there to do this and you don’t have to worry about this. Or you meet with another friend for a cup of coffee and you share with this person some personal issues or conflicts you are having and you trust this person is reliable to keep the conversation confidential and not fear they are going to go home and Facebook the conversation or personal problem you had shared with this one friend. Or you ask your sibling to go with you because you are not feeling well, and you are meeting with the physician to go over the tests you recently had. Your sibling demonstrates that they are reliable because they do show up to support you when the doctor unfortunately shares the bad news you have cancer.
When you ask, value, and practice reliability in your most important relationships, then you are demonstrating and wanting to show the other person that you also will be there for them. As you develop this trait in yourself and you also ask for this trait in your important relationships, then trust gets built, sharing increases, and a sense of peace and joy develops from the relationship.
So choose and pursue reliability. When you can build the foundation with reliability in your relationships, then you are participating in a healthy relationship that will only lead to a happy and satisfying relationships for your life.
Phil Kiehl, LMFT, M.Div.
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ingredients you would put into building a healthy relationship. Share your comments and share this article with others. Thanks.