The most important part of any relationship is the middle. You can overcome a bad beginning and you can move on from a bad ending, but if you want the relationship to work, you’ve got to keep it going, moving forward and keeping it healthy.
Relationship expert, motivational speaker and author of the forthcoming book The People Factor, Van Moody has a lot to say about relationships. His people sent out a nicely detailed bit of information on how Moody views relationships and what we dudes need to do to keep them working for us.
Yesterday, I talked about some of the rules that Moody considers essential to making healthy relationships work in the office and at home. Today, we’re going to do even more.
Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will effect a more desirable outcome.
Really, it’s what I said at the beginning up there. You can recover from a bad beginning in most any relationship, provided all parties want to do so. It’s also an admonition to, if not forget, at least forgive. I specifically broke those two out because I think they’re two very separate events. You can forgive someone for doing you wrong, but you should always remember that it’s been done. That way, you ‘re not caught blindsided if it happens again. Cynical, but I think it works.
Don’t be a “taker.” All relationships involve give and take, so it is important to recognize when each relationship could use more of a giving spirit. When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the very heart of healthy, successful interactions. In a strong relationship, both people willingly give, far more than they take.
I can’t stress strongly enough just how important this one is. You’ve got to have a reciprocal relationship in which all parties are giving and taking. But just as important is one where no party is toting up the gives and the takes, trying to make sure everyone takes just as much as everyone else and no one has to give more than anyone else. This kind of scorekeeping really sours a relationship quickly.
Don’t stay in an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes we make a poor choice and enter into relationships that will never be healthy no matter what actions are taken. If someone is not able to accept a change in the status or direction, is not loyal and stable under pressure or in the face of challenge, or had once been dependable but now is unreliable, these are strong clues that the relationship may not be worth saving. Don’t let feelings of misplaced guilt or sympathy get in the way of making good personal choices.
What he said. Really. It can be hard to take a realistic, practical look at your relationships and begin pruning away the ones that don’t work, but it is necessary. Mostly because of what we see in the next rule.
Don’t accept everyone. The people in your life right now are setting the course for next week, month, year and possibly the rest of your life. Accordingly, there must be a qualification and selection process for friends and others you choose to surround yourself with. Blocking the wrong people from your life is the only way to make room for the right people who help you achieve your dreams, enrich your lives, and create a happy, satisfying life experience.
It’s not that you want to be a relationship digger, only looking for the ones that can carry you forward, but it’s a matter of making sure you surround yourself with the right people who will help you to be the better dude or dudette you’re trying to become. If you hang around only with people who knew you in high school, you’re probably not going to act much differently than you did then. You only have a certain amount of time and energy, so you shouldn’t waste them on actions that are actively holding you back.
Don’t forget who and what really matters. The most valuable people in life aren’t always the most visible. People of true value bring fulfillment, not frustration. All too often, those taken for granted or overlooked are veritable lifesavers or ones that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights and connections.
Here’s that whole relationship triage thing I was talking about earlier. Take a good look at the people with whom you interact, find the ones who mean the most to you and work hard to buttress those relationships.
There’s your homework, dudes. Right there. Take a good look at your life. See what’s working. See what’s not. Then have the strength to do something with that knowledge. It’s the direction of a healthy outcome.
For more from Van Moody, you can look for his book or he may be reached online at www.vanmoody.com.