Jana is a student of human nature, forever seeking the truth about the complex issues that face relationships, productivity and daily life.
Relationships Are Critical to Life
If you're human, then you have experienced the chaos and pain that dysfunctional relationships can bring. Abusive lovers, family tensions, and toxic friendships all leave lasting scars.
When a relationship does not have a good foundation, the bond is a sandcastle in the rain. Grain by grain, emotions like pain, mistrust, grief and anger corrode everything. This can be avoided when you know how to recognize the signs of a healthy relationship.
The Problem With Popularity
Society has a bad habit of teaching us that we can only view ourselves as successful when we get a lot of social praise and acceptance. It starts in school where athletes are worshipped. The popular crowd is the nucleus of every class. The rich kid has hangers-on. Even bullies enjoy a degree of status. Years inside this artificial social system reinforce the belief that how others see us is what carries the most weight.
True, popularity feels awesome. But here's the problem - popularity has shallow roots. Fans love the athlete who wins the gold but will forget them quickly when someone better comes along. When a bully is defeated by a victim, he loses his crowd. The rich kid's parents lose their wealth and most of Junior's friends will soon disappear.
Deep Roots Take Time
Society indulges in something else that ruins relationships - the instant culture. There is a lot of good in this. We get instant solutions, food, treatment, and fun. But it also fosters impatience with anything that takes time. Like good relationships.
But cultivating good relationships is worth it. It boils down to nurturing the values that earn respect. Integrate these values into your character and people will not only respect you but will also trust you. Promotions are given to people who can be trusted with more responsibility. Families with stronger ties can survive a crisis without turning on each other.
The Seeds of a Powerful Relationship
Relationships have been likened to a harvest. Sow sparingly and neglect the crop's needs, the results will be poor. There will be little to nothing to harvest. Try to rush the growing process and the harvest might come and go too quickly. Choose the right seeds, sow plenty and work on the field every day and you will be rewarded with a bumper crop.
Integrity Is Perhaps The Most Important Seed
Nothing kills relationships faster than a lack of integrity. For example, there are countless "dating experts" who basically teach their customers to trick the opposite sex into dating or sleeping with them. Most people who buy the programs often find that it does not work. Why? Because others can sense the lack of integrity. Ironically, the dating experts are mostly doing it for the money and not to help their clients experience a wonderful relationship.
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This kind of deception often reeks so much that people won't invest in such a person, not personally nor in business.
Which seeds are the right ones to nurture? Here they are.
- Humility and modesty
- A sense of justice
- Honest work ethic
- Healthy boundaries.
You Don't Need to be a Saint
Wow, that's a hectic list. But don't worry about being perfect. Sometimes, we get frustrated, mess up or don't want to fight for every cause. It's normal. But those who have the best relationships are consistent where it matters. They can be trusted when life gets rough. They don't abandon a promise, they don't abuse trust, and they carry their part in the relationship, marriage, parenting or projects.
Those who grow shallow roots tend to back off when life gets real. For example, a slick guy talked a girl into a date but then breaks it off when he learns she's got a medical condition or a kid. How about the boss who finds it increasingly difficult to find volunteers for projects because she takes all the credit for a team's work?
You really don't need to be perfect. Just consistent with treating others well.
Why Values Win
Behaviour with shallow roots is not always bad. They're fine for short term situations; being charming to the waiter or the foreign colleague who'll return to Guatemala once the project is completed.
But the same attitude towards long-term relationships will be disastrous. You cannot charm yourself through a marriage. A partner needs to trust that you'll be there when things get difficult. Children don't want parents who are loved at every social event but at home, they fight or smoke when they told the kids not to. When your values shine through, persistently, then friends and family feel safe around you. They feel valued and value you in return. Those are the relationships that bring the most joy and comfort, even in the saddest of times.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit