Get close to the people you’re close to. We all know how easy it is to take people for granted, and everyone has had the experience of attending a funeral, or just hearing of someone’s death, and thinking “I wish I had told her I love her one more time!” But close relationships can also be draining, stressful, and many times it is easier to avoid a “loved” one just to keep the heat and volume turned down.
Maintaining human relationships is actually a type of work that we have to keep up with. It’s the same as cleaning the house, no matter how much we clean, there’s always more housework that needs to be done. Personal contact is not only a matter of telling people you love them. It’s also listening to how their day went, giving them encouraging feedback, cooking their favorite foods on their birthday and generally being present for them.
The good news is, the more you invest in human relationship, the more you get back from family and friends. Take a few moments right now to think about the folks who make up your personal world. For each relationship, what is working and what is not? What positive input can you make to that relationship today? Even the most broken of relationships can sometimes respond to an investment of care. If the only thing you can do is mail them a pre-printed birthday card, why not do it? We are all sustained at a deep level by the people around us, and putting energy into sustaining the network of community always pays off, in small or large ways, immediately or in the future.
So here are some concrete steps for a healthier family, community and friendship network to take today:
- Figure out how long it’s been since you talked to the people in your network and give them a phone call – the least recent first.
- Post something positive on your social media outlets; something that will make people smile.
- Give a child a new book to read.
- Bake cookies for a neighbor or friend.
- Go out for coffee with someone you’ve been thinking about.
Of course, you can think of many more. Keep in mind that the human network around us is a necessity for human life. Everything you put into that network is needed by yourself and the other people you’re connected to. Reach out to someone now!
How to support a family member