The best place to gain a deeper understanding of yourself is in relationships. Divorce rates are at an all time high and levels of childhood anxiety and depression are skyrocketing. This coupled with the fact that people are changing jobs as often as their socks, means that now more than ever checking in with your relationships is imperative.
People do not innately know how they’re doing in a relationship. It would be the equivalent of not giving an employee a review and just saying, “Well, you should know how you’re doing. I shouldn’t have to tell you.” Patterns (good and bad) fall into place, neural pathways are created, and auto-responses kick in. As abstruse as this sounds, it’s like you’ve become unconscious in your relationships. You stop tending to them, hindering their ability to grow and evolve.
Think about it, how often do you ask the other person in the relationship how you’re doing? There are performance reviews at work to gauge how you’re doing as a boss or employee and there are customer reviews/surveys to determine how good your products or services are. So, it’s interesting that I’ve never seen a relationship survey. Not the kind where you might be thrown under the bus, but the kind where you’re told if you’re being a good parent, co-worker, friend, etc.
You don’t always see yourself the way others do, so several months ago, I decided to ask my kids how they perceived me as a mom. After all, why wouldn’t I want to be the best mom possible? What came to light surprised me. They said that, when we’re talking, I sometimes go into “coach” mode. That was never my intention so this awareness was quite helpful.
I was so pleased with the discussion that I decided to talk to my husband. I asked him what he liked most about me and if there was something he’d like me to do differently.
My heart sang when he told me what he liked about me. However, I think my exact words were, “Ya, that’ll happen – NOT!” when he requested that I squeegee the shower every time I use it. I reciprocated with my responses and we had a fun, enlightening exchange.
Relationships, by definition, are not one sided. The point in these conversations wasn’t to become a doormat or something that someone else wanted me to be, but, to be a better parent and spouse.
It is my belief that you aren’t meant to go through life blindly hoping that your relationships are healthy. It is when each person takes active responsibility, that magic happens.
What actions can you take in your current relationships to ensure that they’re healthy?