How Do You Build Relationships?


Today I work up with the realization I suffer from “self-centeredness” on any given day.  SMACK!  When I walked back into recovery, I was unaware of how often I actually did this.  I rationalized and justified everything I did.  I thought I was being responsible.  I thought I was hard working (in other words a workaholic).  Slowly but surely I have found out what the true meaning of “self-centeredness” is and how selfish I truly was (or can be).

Self-centered is defined as “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests”I used to say this wasn’t me!  Then I looked at some other words for self-centeredness and they included egotistical, narcissistic, self-absorbed, selfish, self-involved, and I didn’t think I was any of those either.  Yes, I was an only-child.  Yes, I was spoiled – I was an only child, an only grandchild and an only niece BUT….. You know what they say “everything that comes after the word “but” is BS!  When I thought of egotistical or narcissistic, I thought of people who were so full of themselves, I mean they actually loved themselves.  Most days I don’t love myself and there are even the occasional days when I don’t like myself so how could I be self-centered?

My first time around in recovery, I didn’t grasp this concept.  I became a workaholic and as I was recently told – “I thought your clients came before us, even though you were there for the important things”.  SMACK!  So, this is a concept I am trying hard to understand.

“I choose relationships wisely and nurture them intentionally.”

Okay, so I may choose relationships wisely but I definitely didn’t nurture them.  WHY?  Because I didn’t know how.  YIKES!  Think about it. When there is turmoil in your relationships, it impacts your whole life.  As a result, my relapse and road to being totally self-centered has effected my business, and my personal life.  It has ruined friendships, it has left me sitting on a “pity pot” and struggling to figure out the difference between being self-centered and being responsible.  You would think at the ripe old age of 61, I would know the difference.

The truth is I struggle with building strong relationships and maintaining them. Even in the relationships I didn’t  choose – family members or coworkers – I mean they need to be nurtured in order to be strong and healthy too.  So, I went from people pleasing (pre-recovery), to workaholic (recovery) to self-centeredness (relapse) to relearning the things I learned in kindergarten about making friends.  Talk about a roller coaster.  Along the way has been filled with a lack of confidence and fear which causes me to become (or at least appear to be) self-involved.  I may not always say “ME, ME, ME” although I am grateful for people in my life who lovingly point out to me when I am being “self-centered”.  It is always like a lightbulb going off.

I know this is totally a ramble and for some they will tune out because they have healthy relationships.  They are able to make the best of those relationships by setting strong boundaries, building trust where they can, and expressing gratitude when others are a blessing to them. For those few people who may relate, take it from one who has learned the hard way….. self-centeredness doesn’t always mean we say “me” or “I”, it can come out through our actions.  Do you justify and rationalize everything you do to make sure your plans stay in take?

So, for today I challenge you to ask yourself this powerful question:

What one gesture could I make today to strengthen one of my important relationships?

Are you already feeling the panic?  What if if you made a simple phone call of support to encourage someone?  What if you wrote a thank you note to someone for something that touched your heart?  What if you put your phone away and gave your undivided attention to the person you are sitting next to?  My simple gesture lately has been to put my phone away and be present in the moment.  Is it tough, without a doubt!

Believe it or not these small gestures strengthen the bonds of a relationship, any relationship. We can’t achieve our goals or meet our needs alone –  we need people. And people need us.  So, if you think any of these may be you…. step out of your comfort zone and make a gesture – no matter how small.

Wonder why you are struggling in your business?  Wonder why you scroll through social media thinking the grass is always greener? The truth is those who are most resilient and successful have strong relationships.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Trust and Believe

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”         Philippians 4:6 (TLB)

As we get closer to Belinda’s wedding, I am reminded that HE is in control.  Life’s challenges are curve balls when we least expect them.  Long work hours.  Title changes without pay increases.  Finalizing wedding details.  Paying bills.  Feeling over whelmed.  Tired.  Stressed.  Worry. None of the parts fitting together like WE planned or think they should

I have fond memories (okay, maybe not so fond) of putting together Belinda’s first Barbie car. Not the battery operated kind, but one she had to pedal.  It was a gift from two of my very good friends but none of us saw the “some assembly required” message on the box. To say the least it was a interesting night. Her first and LAST “some assembly required” toy.

Shouldn’t “some assembly required” be on other things in life too?  It’s not the most welcome sentence, but it’s an honest one.

  • Marriage licenses should include those words, in large print.
  • Job contracts should state them in bold letters.
  • Babies should exit the womb with a toe tag: “Some assembly required.”  
  • Relationships with family and friends should include directions.

Life is a gift, albeit disassembled. It comes in pieces and sometimes falls to pieces. Part A doesn’t always fit Part B. The struggle seems large and inevitably, something is missing.  Our immediate reaction is often to sit on a pity pot of “poor me” – no cares, nothing ever goes right, why me and the list goes on.  Would’t it be great if we could say that we ALWAYS respond in prayer? Why is it that only when we hit rock bottom, we come to God in prayer?

It is easy to worry.  It’s easy to try and fix the problem ourselves. It is easy to look outside ourselves for answers. The truth is that God has all of the answers for us. We may not want them. We may not like them. We may even try to negotiate the answer to one that we like better.  Life’s challenges holds lessons for us.  Some may be tough lessons while others may be the “AHA” that we needed to get back on track.

Hubby always says, “just have a conversation with God”. WOW! I make things so complex. I want to fix things when they are broke.  I want to wave the magic wand and make things right.  The truth is that it really is just that simple – have a conversation with God.  Share with him what is in my heart and ask for his help. Okay, the next step is the hardest one for me – LISTEN AND WAIT for his response.

Today, I am turning my problems over and leaving them there. I am going to WAIT and LISTEN for God’s answers. The concerns that I have today are out of my hands, the plan has been written and I need to lean on my faith to get me through.

What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!