As I celebrated my first Christmas and New Years as Jeff’s wife, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the ways that the relationships in my life have shaped me into the person I am today.
We had a fun visit from a neighbor over the holidays and she shared with us the “History” of our house.
Over the past 30 yrs, our home had been foreclosed on 4 times.
The second to last family to live there before us were very heavily involved in drugs, and crime. They were a menace to the neighborhood.
My sweet neighbor told me how a few of the ladies in the neighborhood had gotten together and prayed for a Godly family to purchase the home and restore it and love it once again.
The man that Jeff and I bought the house from had purchased the home as a “FIXER-UPPER” for a very good price because of all the work that was needed after the homeowners had bashed the walls and counters in before they were forced to leave.
He lovingly restored the house and then put it on the market so he could find his next FIXER-UPPER.
So, when Jeff and I purchased it, we had a brand new looking home that we could come in and make our own.
When she told us that she felt in her heart that we were that family that they had prayed for six years ago, I cried.
So many prayers have been answered in my life this past year.
In so many ways, I feel that both me and the house have been waiting a REALLY long time to have Jeff come in and heal us with his amazing love.
And that is what got me to really start thinking about the power of RELATIONSHIPS in our lives.
They have the power to DESTROY…OR to HEAL.
They can show us who we really are, and what we are capable of.
They teach us about coping and feeling, about cooperation, and individuality.
But the main thing that we can learn from Relationships it this:
We all struggle in our relationships with others.
Every single person who has ever lived has always had the desire to be understood and to understand.
Unfortunately…Something usually prevents us from getting to the place we desire in most of our relationships.
And, many times we find relationships where we just don’t connect.
Or we can’t relate because, to be honest… we fundamentally dislike the other person.
Yet we so often make the choice to waste time and energy lamenting these relationships, or trying to “fix” another person.
The world is full of people who choose either deliberately, or unconsciously to become a difficult person.
If you let them, they can literally consume your focus and zap your energy.
As I have pondered the role that relationships have played in my life up to this point, I realized that there has always been one dominate lesson in all of my relationships…
And that lesson is…
The root of our problems with others is that fundamentally we simply don’t understand other people.
We don’t take the time to examine what’s really going on in our relationships and instead we rush to label and to judgment.
We don’t realize that we all have filters on the world and we don’t “see” others clearly, because our filters blind us.
One person’s life experience cannot possibly be the same as another’s and yet we believe everyone should see things the way we do.
We come to our relationships with expectations and baggage and we emotionally heap them on the person we are trying to connect with.
In addition, our filters are clogged with different preferences for communication.
We all have developed different values and different views of what’s important.
And so we waste time trying to get others to do it like we do, or see it our way.
The greatest gift we can give another person is to drop our own assumptions about what’s right and wrong.
My 2016 Resolution is this:
I want to be able to learn how to refuse to color my viewpoint about who someone is, or what they do, with a black brush that says, “That’s bad” or “My way is better”.
This is a gift that Jeff has given to me and my children.
his example has taught me that the “gift of non-judgement” will also includes giving someone a break when they don’t do something the way we want them to.
It involves spending the time to put a focus on the other person by asking them questions.
You give this gift when you refuse to bring the conversation back onto yourselves.
It requires that you be willing to use your emotional energy, as best you can, to learn what someone else is trying to communicate.
So much of my life has been wasted on trying to “fix” others.
If instead we spent the energy trying to understand others, and at the same time, looking deeply inside of ourselves to understand our own filters and judgments…
I believe that many of our relationship troubles would disappear overnight.
So as we begin a NEW YEAR, Let’s all agree that is OKAY to disagree.
We don’t have to like everyone…
If we can work to understand them, we would all find ourselves living in a more peaceful world.