The best part about the 4th of July, apart from the watermelon, fireworks, and reflections on all that it took to form this country of ours, is spending it with the people we love. After all, how much fun would it be to watch a parade, or barbecue alone? This is the perfect week to explore Part 3 of my Life Maintenance series: Social Maintenance. As anyone in a thriving marriage can attest, a strong relationship takes constant attention and care. The world changes, you change, and so of course the bond between yourself and your loved ones needs care and nurturing to keep up with the change. I have developed a 5-step system called the LUCID process that you can use to take care of these precious relationships in your life. Take a minute to work through it, thinking about one person who is dear to you. List Make a list of the important people in your life. Note that this is different than a list of people you like. This list should include key players in your life like your partner, your boss, your parents, and your siblings. Understand Take a minute to evaluate how great the relationship is going. On a scale of 1 (poorly) to 10 (wonderfully), how would you rate your relationship? Pick one of the lower ones. What is your upset with the relationship? There is usually one of two things going on there:
you feel ashamed of something you did, or
something they did made you angry, sad, or afraid
Which one is it in your case? Cherish Take a minute and think about them from another perspective. What are 5 things you cherish about them? What have they contributed to your life by having been in it? I promise, no matter how much they have upset you, they must have some good qualities that you appreciate. For example, I once had a boss who exhibited mood swings that would leave me always cautious about which version of her I would get on a given day. It was easy for me to focus on the negative impact of those swings, but the truth was that she could be very passionate and a lot of fun when she was “up.” Remembering those moments helped me feel a fondness for her that I had forgotten. Invent What would a “good” relationship with them be like? Assuming that they are who they are, and you are who you are, what would it look like to dance beautifully together? I know that it might be hard to look past the current dynamic, but turn on your creative mind and take a stab at it. Discuss Go have a conversation with this person. Let them know that you want a better relationship with them, and discuss the issues you uncovered in the “Understand” step. The LUCID process is a great way to take a regular inventory of your relationships, and tend to the ones that need some help. Many of the steps require that you get out of your current mindset about the relationship and see things differently. This is usually difficult for most people (and takes more than a blog!), and so if you are struggling with it, drop me a line and I can help. Which relationship will you celebrate on this 4th of July by applying some basic maintenance to it? Write me a note a share.
Image courtesy of Nikos Koutoulas