I hope you had a productive week and if you were here in the northern hemisphere you got out and enjoyed a bit of the thaw before the latest cold front swept in. We are past the height of winter now but it can and will still take a bite.
This weekend is Valentine's Day. I have in years past expressed that this is by far my least favorite holiday. I always tend to be single when it rolls around. However this year it has me thinking of relationships in general. We as human beings build our life around our relationships. We start with how we relate to ourselves, our family, friends, colleagues, and our partners. Relationships are the one aspect of life where if we don't have good ones it is nearly impossible for us to find happiness. Once our biological necessities are met the quality of our life will be directly impacted by the quality and depth of the relationships we have.
The interesting thing is that we are given almost no formal instruction as we grow up about relationships. The current trajectory of our technology actually makes us less likely to interact with people. Our relationships color everything and we for the most part just wing it when it comes to navigating them. Unless we end up in counseling we may not ever even attempt to look at the structure and patterns that repeat in our lives when it comes to them.
People are rapidly losing the ability to make and maintain friendships due to all the time they spend behind a screen (not you dear reader of course so please continue reading). There have been studies that show that kids who were denied screen time improved in their ability to read emotions in facial expressions. I am thankful each day that texting was not around when I was growing up. Now it is common for elementary school kids to have cell phones. We have teenagers on social media. So we have given over our socializing responsibility to television, the internet and smart phones. I can't tell you how many times at either a family gathering or at a party people are on their phones rather than relating to the people around them.
So you'd think with how important a good healthy social network is to our overall wellbeing that we would be a bit more deliberate about our relationships. It unfortunately usually takes a few really bad ones to make us more aware of how we are delegating our time. One of the most significant events of my life was parting ways with a whole group of people. I'd never done it before. I had always been too afraid of being alone. However when I finally did it a huge weight was lifted off of me. It came as a great source of autonomy that I could in most cases dictate who was in my life. Growing up in school you are stuck with the people in your class, your household, and your neighborhood. Now as an adult the people I am stuck with are very few in number and usually are family members or coworkers and the rest is all my choice. I've spent the last few years cleaning house when it comes to the people I allow in my circle and while sometimes I feel lonely it is momentary because the truth is there are people who want to spend time with me. I am very blessed to know and care for good honest people and to have them care for me as well. So while I pass Valentines Day single I don't greet it unloved.
So how does any of this apply to you? Well how conscious are you of who you spend your time with? Whom do you allow to settle into your life? Are you giving the people that genuinely care for you the attention they deserve? Are you wasting your precious time and energy on people that are users or abusers? Do you feel spread thin by all your relationships or do you feel bolstered by them? Spring is almost around the corner so it might be time to do some of your own house cleaning. What if you gave those that mattered to you a bit more of your time and those that you don't matter much to less of it? Let me know what happens in the comments.
Peace and Blessings,