Happy New Year Fellow Humans,
The roaring ’20s are upon us once more. I signed a petition to bring back flapper dresses and long cigarette holders (for my sage bundles, duh). But I’ve yet to hear back. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, this week’s newsletter is going to be about a very important aspect of our lives. One that people either unhealthily obsess over or let fall to the wayside.
I’m talking about relationships. Romantic and platonic.
Take a couple of minutes and think about the last time you read a book focused on bettering your friendships. Maybe all you need are a few seconds because chances are, you’ve read a whopping zero.
Relationships are what make life worth living. What’s the point of working endlessly until we wither away if we don’t have people in our lives to enjoy the fruit of our labor with?
Spoiler: there isn’t.
The feeling of belonging and love is literally the third thing we as humans need, given we’re not starving and worried about being eaten alive by a tiger.
Personally, I place great importance on my relationships. And that means coming to terms with the fact that they’re not going to maintain themselves.
Romantic or platonic, there are a few pieces of advice that I learned over the past decade (mostly through my therapist) that help people form stronger relationships.
Learn How To Show Appreciation In Different Ways
If it comes as a shocker to you that not everyone gives and receives appreciation in the same way, then I’d suggest you get familiar with the concept of Love Languages.
While this theory is trendy in the world of dating, it’s also applicable to platonic bonds. You may think telling your friend or partner that you care for them is enough. But to them, they feel cared for by spending quality time with you.
Just like a person’s interests, everyone has different ways of feeling appreciated. Understanding those ways for the people closest to you will help form an even deeper bond.
Give Both You And The Person Time To Be Alone
Learning how to love time being alone is the best thing you can do for your relationships.
If you’re trying to define yourself through those around you, your sense of identity will feel scattered and unstable. Instead, focus on becoming comfortable with yourself. Take the time you need to feel fulfilled and do the hobbies you love.
It’s equally important to extend that space to the people in your life as well. Nothing is more draining than a person clinging to the relationship in hopes of lapping up every love-filled drop they can.
Don’t Compare Your Relationships To Those On Social Media
And I mean never.
Comparison is the ultimate thief of joy, especially when it involves your life and a stranger’s highlight reel. People use social media to showcase the best parts of their life. Hell, influencers use it to showcase perfectly filtered, unrealistic parts of their life.
Spare your relationships from the unnecessary expectations and don’t compare your life to that of people on social media.
Become Aware Of How You Project Your Insecurities
When I was younger, I picked apart every action I had with my friends and boyfriends. Their stray glance down my body meant they were taking note of my muffin top. Their comments on what I was eating were actually comments on how much I ate. I read everyone’s minds and knew they were solely focused on how I looked.
But in reality, I was projecting my body-image insecurities onto those around me. No one cared how I looked, yet I let my issues warp how I saw every interaction.
If you feel like you’re in the same boat, start by taking note of what bothers you in other people. Consider whether there is truth behind why you think they act a certain way or if you might be letting your insecurities get the best of you.
Accept People As Who They Are, Not Ideas
It’s a weird phenomenon for us humans that we form ideas of people and strongly cling to them.
But people aren’t ideas, they’re multi-faceted, ever-changing beings that are going to surprise you in both good and bad ways. That’s part of being human. A relationship is allowing the person to falter and being there to support them when they do.
Think of getting to know a person as a journey. Allow those in your life space to be an imperfect person.
Step-In To Help Without Expecting Anything
Possibly the worst networking advice on the planet is forming connections based on what the other person can do for you.
That’s a sure-fire way to make fragile bonds and look like an asshole.
Relationships with people aren’t a give and take. A real bond with someone, and being a genuine human being, comes from offering your help when there’s nothing in it for you.
Shift Your Mind-Set To Long Term
Seeing relationships as long term means there’s no room for acting like someone else based on who you’re with. There’s no room for deception. No time for selfishness.
Relationships that last a life-time are those formed on honesty and being genuine. If you’re genuinely looking for stronger relationships in this new decade, shift your mindset to aiming for long term relationships; the change in your behaviors will follow.
Hitting the gym and grinding it out to finally get a promotion is great, but that’s not what matters most in life. You’re going to be a lonely person if you get to the top of the corporate ladder with your bulging biceps and realize no one is up there, cheering you on.
Just like the fickle succulent on your kitchen shelf, a relationship with any person needs some tending to. Use this new year as a chance to invest your energy into building stronger relationships.
Because they’re what makes life worth living.
Until next week my lovelies.
All the love,
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