As a middle-aged person, I have noticed that everything starts with a relationship within oneself and with others. The connections close to our hearts such as family dynamics (spouse, siblings, children, parents); and social dynamics (romantic partners, friends, business partners, associates & acquaintances) have the most impact that we often forget to acknowledge. I admit that I knew as a young adult but didn't have a deep understanding of its significance.
Before evaluating my various relationships, I took a different approach and asked myself, how do I prioritize my relationships? As we may vehemently deny, we prioritize relationships based on the material (financial security) or immaterial (emotional) benefits, whether we are aware of it or not.
Additionally, I have taken my loved ones for granted and prioritized my professional life over my relationships due to the direct impact of financial gain. However, let's pause for a moment.
This pandemic taught us that our lives are not only unpredictable but so fragile that any of us can be gone. Also, most of us aren't adequately prepared for it if there's even such a thing as proper preparation.
But one thing that I am pretty sure of, is that no one is on a death bed thinking of how many likes on social media or Hermes bags or Rolex watches they could have had.
Well, with that said, I took a deeper look at my relationships and noticed that there are some significant alignments with everyone in my life. Recognizing these alignments had me thinking about what types of conflicts I have had. While evaluating this, trying not to be judgmental was challenging.
So, I studied my emotions using one-word descriptions on everyone; Like think of one person, what's one word that can describe that specific person? The list can go on: Warmth, grateful, bitter, thankful, cold, calculated, intelligent, petty, fake, funny, neutral, temper, logical, nurturing, love, kind, depressing, toxic, drama, headache, handful, self-centered, etc.
I separated the list, negative emotions from positive ones. With negative emotions, I asked myself, 'Have I caused any of these negative emotions to people in my life?' This part was challenging because various justifications popped up in my head. Additionally, I asked myself,
"Are we supporting each other?"
"Do I want to be around this individual?",
"Do I want to hang on to the negative emotions?",
"What are the choices that I have?"
"What is the best solution?" etc.
I also keep in mind that I could love someone from a distance, whether temporarily or permanently. Evaluating myself through relationships assesses my intentions and deliveries of emotion and energy and keeps me humble to the fact that life is a boomerang. What goes around, comes around!