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Posted: 02-23-2021 14:36
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These are extraordinary times to be sure.

We haven’t been able to see those whom we love for nearly a year now. And, perhaps, we’ve never spent so much time together with those we do live with. We’ve gotten creative in finding new ways to interact and to share. This situation has given us a unique opportunity to review what is really important to us, if we devote the time to think about it. [Please click on the title above to continue reading.]

It starts with a very simplistic exercise, one not meant to be shared. Make a list of the twenty or so people most important to you in your life right now. Sit in a comfortable, quiet place away from the distractions of technology and other people and focus on each person, recording next to their names whether your relationship with them has improved over the past year (a “+” sign) or not (”-“) sign. You are welcome to change the opening question to something that better fits what is most important to you, such as: Is the relationship healthy? Is this relationship vital to me? Has this person demonstrated to me that I matter to them? Have they demonstrated that I am loved? Write your question at the top of the page. It doesn’t matter what question you use to begin… only that you begin. What is most important for you is to focus on how you are making those decisions – the considerations you process, the things you think about, the questions you ask yourself, the feelings you feel. This focus reflects who you are and what you need right now in your life. We may never have this pause again in our lives to consider our relationships in this way.

If you are severely analytical, you could take those five or so things you repeatedly consider and develop a column for each. Then you can score the people on your list using these same criterion, add up the +/-‘s and come up with a composite score. Not bad, as the criterion typically will focus on what you regard to be most important to you in your relationships. The downside is that this approach may force you into a “box” applying the same criterion to each relationship. We are human after all. Don’t get hung up on the process you choose to employ – it’s the deep reflection and honesty about your thoughts and feelings that matter most.

You’re not done yet. Take that piece of paper with all the names and scribbles, stuff it into your pocket and go out for a walk. Try not to think about anything… yet. Let your subconscious work on it for a while. Now look at the names and the +/- marks. What story do they tell you about you and your relationships? Don’t let excuses such as the pandemic get in the way – “I haven’t been able to travel”, “we’ve been cooped up together for god knows how long”, etc. It’s the relationships you are assessing, not the circumstances around them right now. Being totally honest with yourself at this point is essential. Ask yourself: what responsibility do I have for those “-“ scores and what am I going to do to change them (not “what do they have to do”).

And now look at the “+” scores. Think about some special way to let these people know how you feel, that your relationship with them means so much to you and has not only weathered the pandemic, but emerged more treasured. Celebrate your relationships with them. It doesn’t have to be big.

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