Today, I have been thinking about the power of positive relationships and how important they truly are. I have been thinking about this for several reasons. First, I am thankful for all of the positive and supportive relationships that I have – and have had – in my life. Sometimes, people do not think much of relationships or give them much credit, but they are extremely valuable and important. My connections with family, friends, colleagues, and community members are based on positive relationships. Now, sometimes, we may not always like to hear or to share certain realities about things, but a true friend will find a way to do it in a healthy and positive way.
I was able to be supportive to two colleagues who reached out to me today with some shocking and unexpected news. They are physically okay, but their lives have been somewhat altered. Without saying what they experienced, suffice it to say that they will have to go in a different direction now. I always believe that when one door is closed, another is opened, and there are reasons for that, even if we do not know exactly what those reasons are. I gave my colleagues – who are also my friends – as much encouragement and support as I could. I am thankful that they both have a strong and positive family network that they can rely on for support because the support I can provide is only minimal.
My being able to be supportive of my collegial friends today is also a reflection of the strong, positive support that I have recently-received in my close relationships. I believe that because of the support these folks provided to me, I was better able to be a support to my colleagues today. Last week, I reached out to a good friend about an issue that I was struggling with, and he responded with wonderful support. He shared his insights with me in an honest, real, and positive way that was helpful to me in clearing my head and getting me back on track with my focus. I also spoke to my son about the same issue, but in more age and life experience-appropriate terms, and he was supportive, as well. I further spoke with a colleague at work about the same issue, and she was additionally supportive. So, these are three people close to me who I spoke with about this issue – and it was a very serious and upsetting issue – and they all provided support and helped me. All three of them gave me excellent counsel to help me overcome the issue, reminding me about what is good, right, and honest. Of course, I know what is good, right, and honest, but in certain situations, one’s brain can become muddled and it can be challenging to clear away the mud.
Therefore, I am so thankful that I have people in my life with whom I have positive relationships that I can reach out to. It takes time to develop relationships, and it takes even more time to maintain strong, positive, and healthy relationships. I understand and appreciate that, but sometimes, people do not want to invest that time or energy, especially for fear that those relationships will not last. Being hurt is definitely no fun. This is sometimes one of the negative effects of divorce – that people are hesitant in investing into a potential future relationship because promises and commitments made in the prior one were not honored. Or, perhaps, someone may have experienced trauma or abuse in prior relationships, and that can be another reason for people to be cautious about investing in relationships, due to the memories of painful experiences.
My ultimate point here is that positive, healthy, supportive relationships are extremely valuable and they are definitely something to be thankful for. I have recognized that more and more throughout my life, and as I have gotten older. The saying is really true that love is like a garden – you have to water it to make it grow. The same is true of any good relationship. And, as my son reminds me, “friendships are good.” One does not necessarily have to be in an intimate relationship with someone to have a good, positive relationship. I am thankful that he reminds of that, too.