If we are being honest with ourselves, we can all acknowledge some challenges that come about with close relationships in the home, at work, and in the community. Life gets complicated and often messy when it comes to our close relationships.
The bookshelves of the local library, bookstore, and the virtual shelves of Amazon are filled with books containing all sorts of tips and techniques to help us build better relationships with those we care about most. The resources help us have difficult conversations, help us appreciate each other’s differences, and help us find moments of joy in the daily grind we may find ourselves in.
Many times, we over-complicate things.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we can simplify our approach and take a few small steps each day to make a big, positive difference in the relationships that matter most to each of us.
These small steps don’t require a PhD in psychology, attendance at a weekend conference, or a life-coach to keep us on track. We can handle most of these ourselves.
- A simple smile…instead of a frown. Just the casual glance accompanied by a nice smile can consistently lift the spirits of the other person and provide a positive boost to the relationship.
- A simple word of encouragement…instead of judgment (from our limited point of view). Comments like “I believe in you” and “you’ve got this” can make a big difference with someone facing a difficult decision.
- A simple touch…instead of a cold shoulder. The warmth of a touch on the shoulder or a hug kicks off a wave of biochemical reactions in the body that has been demonstrated to boost our immune system, fight depression, and break down huge relationship barriers that most likely were created by a poor choice of words in the heat of the moment.
- Put the phone away and look someone in the eye. No need to explain this further.
A popular Swedish proverb is a helpful reminder of the importance of being our best with those we care about most: “Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
When we consistently take some small steps to build healthy relationships, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity for us to have a positive impact on those around us.