3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Building Relationships

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Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

I originally conceived of this topic and the associated article as one for business. An article about how to create deep connections with the people we work with, and the people we’d like to work with.

However, after reflecting upon it throughout the day, it occurred to me that this topic is applicable to everyone. Why?

Well, relationships are the cornerstone of life. Really. Think about all of the people in your life. You have people that are very close to you, friends and family, work associates and colleagues, and, maybe a little further from you, aquantinaces, clients, and neighbors, to name a few.

And, connecting, really connecting with these people, all of them, requires understanding ourselves.

Understanding why we do the things we do, why we feel the way we do, and think the way we think. Knowing ourselves. Why?

Because in order to connect deeply with another human being we must know ourselves first. Then, we can know them; and, know them as deeply as we know ourselves. If, however, we only know ourselves on the surface, we will only ever know them in the same way. Not a deep connection then.

Alright, let’s take a look at three things you can do to build deeper connections with the people that are currently in your life, and the ones that will show up in the future. Ready? Let’s go.

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Photo by Mike Clark on Unsplash

1. Know Your Why

Remember being little where everything we saw, thought, and felt was done with a sense of wonder and amazement? Yep, me too. Well, does life still feel that way to you? If not, don’t worry, it’s not a demerit; and, you are not alone.

As we grow older, we lose some of that wonder and amazement. Yet, we can intentionally create opportunities to get it back. How?

First, we must get back in touch with the things that drive us. You know, the reasons that get us up in the morning. And, I’m not talking about intellectual reasons. Nope.

I’m talking about those things deep within us that make us the person we are today. Can you feel them? If not, don’t worry. They are there, and you can get back in touch with them.

In the post, 3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why, I walk through three simple steps you can take to create your why. If you’ve not created one, create one; if you have one, maybe take a look at it again. Why?

It’s important to connect deeply with that why, or to reconnect with it if it’s been a while. When we reconnect with the why of why we do what we do, we are actually reconnecting with the vision we have of ourselves as human beings. And, in that moment, we create new possibilities. Really.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

When we know who we are, what we are up to in life, we can share that with others. We can touch someone else with the passion we have for life. Just like when we were little.

The reason people connect with children, watch them, smile at them, want to be around them, is that, to them, everything is a wonder.

They are a wonder. Everything is amazing. And, reconnecting with your why can move you in that direction.

Further, when you reconnect with yourself on that level, you can now connect with someone else at that level. Sharing something of yourself that, in some cases, as it was for me for a long time, was buried underneath other intellectual ideas, concepts, and pursuits.

Remember one thing. People are not moved by their intellect, or by their head, they are moved by their emotional-center, or ther heart.

Now, you may be wondering, alright, I’ve got my why, then what? Well, now you can create a statement about your why. Something that you can share with those close to you and those that are further removed from you. Anyone really.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

2. Create Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is something you can create, which declares why you are doing what you are doing; it will also give the people you are connecting with a sense of who you are as a human being. Example? Sure.

Here is my why.

To increase access to higher education for everyone.

Right, yet there is more to it. Yep. Here, then, is also part of my why.

Develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Okay, so now lets fashion a personal mission statement. Ready? Okay, here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, and to develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Hm, that’s not quite right. It has the components, yet is not really getting at the crux of the why. Let’s try again. Here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, while also working with students and clients to develop their leadership skills, expand their creative potential, and assist in their personal transformation.

Closer. The point? That there is no one way to create a why, or a personal mission statement. They are yours, and should be created by you for you to share with others when you choose, and how you choose. Simple.

You must simply create from within you. Important. If you don’t, and it is something that you don’t really believe in, well, you will know, and so will everyone else. Believe me. They will know if it is not sincere.

And, really, the point is to deepen your connection with yourself, first, and then with other people. You want it to be real. Real from your heat to the hearts of others.

Alright, you’ve got your why and you’ve created a personal mission statement, now what? A reminder.

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3. Understand that Relationships are Everything

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about understanding that every relationship in our life is important. All of them. That, in fact, everything we do, everything, is about the relationship we have with ourselves, first, and then with everyone else.

Remember the relationships system? Looks like this.

Pinterest

There we go. Alright, so as you can see from the above system, everything we do starts with us. Everything. And, then as you move from the center circle, out to each corresponding circle, all that we do, goes out to those closest to us, first, and then to those that are further from us.

And, what do they get from you? From me for a time, they got cynicism. Yep. Not a judgement, just the reality as it was, not as it is today. Today?

They get everything I can give them, just as I do for myself, including the why of what I do each and every day.

The coolest thing about sharing your why, your passion, purpose, whatever you want to call it, with others is that they then get to know you on a level that will inspire them. Really.

Think about the people in your life that inspire you. What do they do? I bet they are up to all kinds of cool things, creating change, transforming themselves, working at changing the world. One step at a time.

And, you know the second coolest thing about sharing your why with someone else? You get to learn about their why. Yep. You get to know them on a level that might not have been previously available.

These deep connections are what drive people together. Actually the more appropriate language here, would be that they pull people together. Pulled by inspiring ideas, yes, and by inspiring actions.

Inspiring people to be all they can be is a pretty cool thing; and, guess what? You can be a part of that kind of connection anytime. You can create it. Yep. How? Well, as I’ve mentioned it all starts with you.

Why do you do what you do?

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Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 4: The Relationship System

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how relationships work? I mean how they function within the systems and spheres that we move through? It is an interesting question, and one that we will explore in this post.

In my first post on relationships, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about how all relationships start with you, and go outward. Here is the diagram from that post.

Now, in this post, we are going to expand on this simple relationship diagram, so we can see the movement that occurs through each of these relationship spheres. Let’s start with the relationship we have with ourselves, as it really does all start there.

Relationship with ourselves

In the post, The Self-Development Tips Series 1: The Art of Loving Yourself, I write about the importance of developing a highest-quality relationship with ourselves. That, in fact, learning how to love ourselves is the very first step in having other high-quality relationships. It is a must. Really.

Without a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we cannot create high-quality relationships with others. Why? Because if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves, we cannot give care and love out to others. Not in a sustainable way.

We must first develop deep care and love for ourselves, then that same deep care and love will go out from us to others.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Relationships with Family

Once we have a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we can truly be there for our family. In being there, I mean have open, honest, and loving communication with each other; developing those high-quality relationships along the way.

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 3: Understanding Our Emotions and Strengthening Our Relationships by Slowing Down, I write about the importance of noticing when we are being inattentive to how we feel. Important.

When we are inattentive to our emotions, and are reacting without pausing, there is a higher likelihood that arguments with our partners will become more common. These pauseless reactions also function the same way with and toward our children.

It is important to note that we are not reacting to our environments in this way intentionally. Fully understanding how we are reactive, includes learning about our “triggers.” What are they, whom are they with, and why do we have them? Once we know, we can create space to pause, think and reflect, and then choose a different action.

All of which when combined with having a loving relationship with ourselves, free of blame and shame, creates whole new possibilities with the relationships we have with our family.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Relationships at Work

In the post, Three Transformational Leadership Skills, I write about developing high-quality relationships at work. Developing these relationships, like the ones we have with family, also starts with ourselves.

Once we are clear on who we are, and how we think and feel, we can develop work relationships that are strong and long-lasting. In the article I note three essential skills all leaders should develop in order to create these high-quality relationships.

  1. Authenticity – knowing who we are is the first step, then being who we are all the time is the next.
  2. Safety – creating a safe environment with the team you lead, or work on, is essential. People will not be authentic with you unless you are also authentic, and they feel safe.
  3. Transparency – being forthright about the state of the business, and issues that arise, are also important. Sharing with the people you work with is important for them to feel included, and valued.

These three skills, of course, are also important for us to develop in our personal lives. It works like that. What we develop for ourselves, we end up developing for everyone around us.

Relationships with the Community and The Greater World

How we develop ourselves, and our relationships then goes out from us and into the community, and, yes, the greater world. When we create a focus on our inner development, people around us develop, and the community also develops. That is movement.

The movement is part of the way the relationship network, or system works. Here is a simple illustration that goes a bit further than the above referenced system image, showing that we are connected through everyone we know, ultimately, to all people.

By continuing to add more contexts into the above illustration, you can create more complexity in how the relationship system is interwoven.

Ultimately we are connected to everyone, and everything, and what we give out, comes back to us. All contexts are also connected, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, as the above illustration also shows.

Whether the connection is direct or indirect matters less, than the realization that all that we do on this planet as human beings touches each other in some way. Important.

Relationships are so important. Really. The relationship we have with ourselves is the starting point, and, as you can see, it is only the beginning of how we, as human beings, end up touching everyone and everything around us. Even when we don’t know about it.

These relationships and all that we give and get from them are crucial to moving society forward. Without them, there would be no movement.

Know that every action you take to develop and grow yourself also grows your family, friends, teams, organizations, communities, and the greater world.

Develop well.

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