HOW TO BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS

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What we put in our lives should bring us joy and relationships are no exception. The people in our lives can influence every choice we make. From the clothes we wear to the career we choose, the people we care about are in every decision. They mold our values, they give us another perspective that can bring us to new worlds.

It’s important that we surround ourselves with meaningful relationships that add value to our lives and take steps to let go of the relationships that bring us down. In doing this, we discover the people who help us to be the best version of ourselves. The ones who are there when we need them, who point us in the direction that will make us happiest.

The people who want the best for us are the people who deserve the best of us. They are the ones who deserve to feel more important than the meaningless, short term joys around us. It’s time to start being for others what we want from others and to harness the “meaning” part of our meaningful relationships.

HOW TO BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS

PUT THE PHONE DOWN

This is my newest pet peeve. You go to see family or friends and everyone is on their phone. Sometimes, when they’re not on their phone, their talking about stuff on their phone.

When you cling to your phone while visiting with someone, you’re telling them they’re not enough. It communicates to them that you either don’t have time or there is something more interesting or important than the moment of their life that they are attempting to share with you.

If you don’t really care about someone, don’t waste their time. If you do care, show them by giving them your focus.

BE HONEST

White lies have become toxic. It’s the lie we tell ourselves is okay. We aren’t willing to realize that a lie is a lie, whether it’s good intentioned or not. It’s still deceiving someone for your own personal gain. Whether you’re telling someone they look skinny when they don’t or that you love their new boyfriend when you hate him. You’re only doing it to avoid a moment of discomfort for yourself. What you may not realize is, you’re not only preventing a possible meaningful moment between you and the person you care about. You’re also inadvertently weakening your trust towards them.

When you lie, big or small, you are showing everyone around you that you cannot be trusted. After all, if people can’t trust you with the little stuff, how can they trust you with the big stuff? Trust others by trusting them. If someone doesn’t want to hear the truth, they shouldn’t be asking the question in the first place.

LISTEN

Don’t just hear, don’t get the gist. Actually take the time to hear and process what people are saying. Feel what they are feeling, go through their stories with them. It’s not just about having something to say. Practice listening without planning your response ahead of time. It will not only help you to feel closer and more connected to the person you’re listening to. It can help you to form a response that could really add meaning to the conversation.

GET PERSONAL

Avoid the surface with as many people as you can. Any relationship can become a meaningful relationship if you let it. When someone asks how your day is going, give them an honest answer. If someone wants to hear your opinion, don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear. Let yourself be yourself. Put it all out there and don’t hold back. If someone doesn’t like it, it’s okay. You can’t let a few “bad reviews” hold you back from finding the people that will really like you for you.

DON’T RELY ON OTHERS TO AFFIRM YOUR WORTH

My biggest weakness over the years has been basing my worth on numbers. The amount of friends I have, the number of texts they send me, the number of likes I get, the number of followers I have.. It makes your friendships unreliable. Follows aren’t there for you. Likes on a photo can’t truly encourage you. Texts don’t mean personal contact and more friends does not always mean good friends. The people in your life should remind you of the worth you already have, not hold it all in their hands.

Growing up I was always told that all anyone needs is love and acceptance. Now I know that if you want it, you have to give it. So build meaninful relationships. Find the value in others and harness it by exposing the value within yourself.

Photo by Clarisse Meyer

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