Helen was a highly successful career woman. Her star shined bright in her corporation. Yet, in spite of these corporate accomplishments, Helen had no meaningful relationships. Her husband was distanced due to Helen’s businesslike approaches to her. Helen’s three children resent her because she was emotional absent in their lives. On the dark days when Helen was alone and uninterrupted, she longed for more meaningful relationships.
During a Christmas banquet, Pastor Nathan Wilson was the keynote speaker and led a lively topic on All I Want for Christmas Is You. In his speech, Pastor Wilson harked on the true meaning of Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christmas instead of the commercialization of the holidays.
Of course, this title is a famous song sung by pop diva Mariah Carey. Some thought provoking lyrics are:
“I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true oh
All I want for Christmas is you”
As another Christmas season has come and gone, many people assess whether the holidays were successful based on whether they got what they wanted. According to Worldatlas.com, Americans planned on spending around $830 on average in 2015 for various Christmas-related purposes (15% increase from 2014).
One in five Americans intended to spend between $500 and $999. With the slick advertisements, businesses convince the general public that their relationships will be enhanced by buying certain products/services for their loved ones.
Thus, there is a mad dash to acquire things in the hopes of making others happy. In fact, there is an understanding that the gifts are what the receiver really wants. Some people would argue that that’s the nature of children. However, when these actions are not of children but adults, society has created a society with empty relationships.
Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, argues that people give to the degree that they will receive something of equal measure. He observes, “Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of other’s needs.”
Good relationships take quality time and effort. Building any meaningful relationships means the relationship needs to be based on substance and not superfluous elements. There is no universal definition for a good relationship. Yet, there are some common attributes of good relationships.
A good relationship is defined as the way that two or more people deal with each other based on the foundation of mutual trust, respect, and personal concern. When a person truly cares about an individual, the quality of life is enhanced.
However, good relationships take effort on everyone’s parts. Some people are caught in the past with experiencing negative relationships. Given that scenario, past relationships hold these people captive. Biblically speaking, this wisdom (I Peter 4:8) comes through: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Good relationships are not one-sided. In fact, good working relationships are authentic in nature. For example, a boss demonstrates his concern about his employees when they are having personal issues outside of work. This boss understands that employees want to be treated individually.
By taking these actions, the boss is building good relationships with his workers. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, author of Contemporary Management, note, “Relationship-oriented leaders are primarily concerned with developing good relationships with their subordinates and being liked by them.” Thus, relationships in general, are not static, but can change over time due to several variables including time and distance. The following questions help jump start good relationships:
- Are you frustrated enough to change your past behavior so that you can move in a positive direction?
- Do you set unrealistic expectations of other people in your relationships?
- Have you invested enough energy in your relationships to make them meaningful?
- Are you still trying to change others to meet your needs instead of allowing people to be themselves?
- Have you forgiven others in order to let go of the negative elements of past relationships?
- Are you willing to get help from professionals such counselors who can help you?
Good relationships go beyond the receiving of things. Without good relationships, happiness will be far away. After the Christmas holidays are over, some people will be left feeling bitter because they didn’t get what they wanted. Yet, one of the best gifts that one can have is a meaningful, authentic relationship that lasts a long time. However, the demands of any good relationship can make a person vulnerable.
Caroline Zwickerson, author of 9 Qualities of People Who Are Great At Relationships, discussed the cost of working relationships: “When we are vulnerable, we allow another person to see us and peek into our soul. This fosters a sense of trust that cannot be reached with a thousand words.” Don’t wait any longer for building good relationships. Start today to build a great life, not a wasted one.
(c) 2016 by Dr. Daryl D. Green