Pillars of Relationship (Part 2)

This week, we would be taking a closer look at another pillar that holds our relationships and keeps it working. I call it the oil that keeps the engine of every relationship moving.
Trust is a powerful pillar upon which all relationships are built. Once trust disintegrates from any relationship and efforts are not made to fix it, that could most likely signify the end of that relationship. There can never be progress until trust is restored. The restoration of trust is very tough once it has been broken, therefore, the place of trust in our relationships should be guarded jealously.

Trust is the ability to rely on the integrity of others or earn other people’s confidence.  It is the confident expectation we have in others or we earn from others we closely relate with. Trust cannot work in isolation, there are things that makes  trust workable and effective , lets run through a few.
Trust and accountability cannot be separated. Accountability to others and to ourselves makes us trustworthy persons. We must have a strong resolve to be accountable for our choices, decisions, time, money,Trustresources and emotional pursuits, just to name a few. Trusted people don’t just go ahead and do whatever catches their fancy. They realize they are responsible to others in their relationship.
So they weigh their decision carefully and are ready to give account without giving excuses whenever the need arises.

Responsibility is another aspect of trust. Nobody entrusts things to an irresponsible person. Our ability to respond to issues promptly, effectively and decisively in our relationships without being prompted earns us the trust of others.

Faithfulness and consistency is another integral aspect of trust. Anyone who exhibits an incoherent habit in words and deeds cannot be trusted. Consistency is the adherence to principles and values agreed upon by people involved in a relationship.  Faithfulness in our relationships is the ability to retain coherence and hold one’s self together regardless of pressure. Giving high esteem to ones relationship and staying focused in view of all odds is the key to being deeply trusted by others. Inconsistency breeds confusion while consistency builds trust.  Trustworthy and faithful people develop the ability to stay true to their words, vows, promises, principles and values. This earns them the respect and trust of others.

Another aspect of trust is space. Respecting other people’s space helps relationship stay strong. When we do not give enough space, we choke life and vibrancy out of our relationships. It takes maturity to allow our relationships to breath.  Space in this case does not mean we should create an emotional or physical distance. It simply means respecting those we closely relate with.

Respecting other people’s space comes with allowing others to make their own decisions without enforcing ours. Looking at other people’s decisions objectively. Allowing others to follow their dreams and visions freely without a fuss but supporting them wholeheartedly. Allowing others to be who they want to be and giving them room for expression without creating  unrealistic barriers. Doing all these earns us the trust of others. Other practical ways to create an healthy space in our relationship is by not  crossing personal barriers like searching through other people’s personal items without their consent.  e.g mails, phones, letters , etc.  Doing this exhibits lack of trust in others.

Another aspect of trust is ability to let go of the past. Not bringing the old into the new or past into the present. Bringing the experiences in our past relationships into the new chokes the power of trust. Due to past painful experiences some find it hard to trust wholly again. We must be able to separate issues of the past from the present to be able to trust unreservedly. We must learn from past experiences so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past but it should not affect the way we relate to the new people that comes into our lives.

Having extrapolated all of these pillars, it’s very obvious trust is a big deal in every relationship. The level of trust in our relationships can be built if all parties involved make the necessary effort to work at it. Let’s do what it takes to earn the trust of others and also learn to trust others unreservedly.

The Pillars of Relationship

From my observation, it is obvious that the rate of divorce is becoming very much alarming.  Keeps me wondering why relationships are deteriorating so fast this days. Everyone claims to have fallen in love  Pillars

before taking their vows at the altar.

I am sure at the point of exchanging their vows, young lovers often felt the experience is the best thing that could ever happen to them. Why do most of these relationships eventually turn out to be nightmares? It keeps me wondering what could have happened to the profession of undying love by two love birds to one another after few months and even many years of marriage.  It’s as bad as seeing young couples who just got married  in less than three months filing for divorce or those who have been together for over twenty five years seeking to go their separate ways.  I  strongly believe all these stems from foundational issues.

When the foundation of a building is weak due to lack of proper structure, we all know it cannot retain any solid structure.  It’s a matter of time before the building would eventually come crashing down; when a building’s foundation is weak, an eventual collapse is inevitable. This brings me to the point of looking closely at the principles upon which solid relationships  thrives and stays strong forever.  In the next few weeks, we would be looking at few principles that keeps beautiful relationships alive.

Commitment is a very strong requirement for a lasting relationship. The human nature naturally finds it hard to commit.  Once a situation changes, the natural human instinct desires to move into a more comfortable zone.  Commitment cannot stand on its own; it needs maturity and purpose to survive.   Maturity as regards commitment is the ability to stay put whether things are good or bad as long as it’s not life threatening. Wherever you find true commitment, convenience is thrown out of the window.  Purpose is also a big deal to commitment.  A relationship that does not have a clear purpose or laid out plan is doomed to fail; no matter how long it takes. Purpose gives commitment a meaning; no one commits to a mission that has no clear destination.  Relationships with a clear purpose or destination naturally attracts commitment and determination by all parties  involved.  Everyone involved would have a strong desire to maintain , preserve  and  protect the relationship at all cost. With the belief in their heart that this relationship must not and cannot fail.

In the light of the background laid above, I strongly believe purpose strengthens commitment in relationships. What is the purpose of your relationship and what is its destination?  Your ability to answer this question clearly will help to redefine  and re-evaluate why you are in the relationship in the first place and why you should remain there. The purpose of our relationship with one another must go beyond ordinary feelings; it must be bigger than all parties involved.  The ability to evaluate  our purpose for relating, choosing our  partners and friends helps us put our relationship in proper perspective.  It gives us the strong resolve to stay committed at all cost even when the tides are high.

Relationships That Makes or Mars Your Destiny

In following up on our previous discussion about choosing the right company, I would like us to look closely at how to identify healthy relationships.  This issue is a big deal this year because it’s a major determinant of the choices you would make and how far you would go in Friends 1the right direction.

Two cannot walk together except they agree.  If you are in any type of relationship that does not esteem your values, it’s time to move on.  It could be a business relationship that has kept you grounded for years.  You could even silently be in an abusive relationship that has totally battered your self esteem. You might have forgotten who you really are.  It’s time you find yourself.  I have been able to apply this principle with great discipline these past years and it has changed my life and perception tremendously.

So how do we recognize relationships that are good for us?

–         A good relationship inspires you to pursue your life’s purpose.
It supports an excellent attitude and encourages you to operate at your optimum performance.

–         A good relationship helps you to sharpen your skill.  “Iron sharpens iron; so does a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”, so says the Friends 2Holy Book.  It encourages you to step out of mediocrity.

–         A good relationship upholds good character like integrity, faithfulness, sincerity, truthfulness, etc.

–   A good relationship helps you to confront the truth about yourself.  No flattering but a loving appraisal of who you truly are and encourages you to make changes where it matters most.

-A good relationship invests in your destiny. It’s not just about taking from you all the time but would give all it takes to see you grow and expand.

If the relationship you are in right now makes you feel incapable, belittles your ability and puts you under consistent pressure to always prove your self-worth, it is therefore dangerous to your existence. Choose wisely and choose carefully.  He that takes a flight with achievers ultimately finds and fulfills purpose. Take a walk into the light; you can do it!

Change Your Company

As we start the new year, I would like to take some time to address the quality and the effect of the relationships we have at present and the type we should attract during the course of the year. It cannot be over-emphasized because it can determine how your year turns out in the long run. It’s a new year and the best gift you can give yourself in this new season is to take a closer look at the company you keep. It might just be photowhat you consciously need to do to take you to the next level.

No man is an island unto himself; we have been designed to depend on one another to survive.  Relationship is a major part of our human  existence. Every relationship we have is important because it makes our life interesting, spurs us to achieve great things and it has a great effect on our entire life’s purpose.  Our relationships can be a catalyst for change, growth, failure or success. This points to the fact that we need to choose discreetly those we closely relate with.

A popular adage says, “show me your friends and I can tell who you are.” Your friends are a reflection of you.  Another wise man says, “you smell like the company you keep.”  The Holy Bible also affirms that bad company corrupts good manners. When we spend time with people over time, we consciously or unconsciously  adopt their values, beliefs  and culture.

Any relationship that is not adding value to you is definitely taking virtue from you.  You need to make a conscious effort in discerning a healthy and unhealthy relationship.  Are your friends goal setters or they just jump into ever opportunity that presents itself?  Does your relationship with them build your self-esteem or keeps you away from self discovery?  This and many other  questions you would  need to answer to know if you need to dislodge them or continue on this journey.

He that keeps the company of fools eventually becomes one.  He that takes counsel from the wise adopts the same attitude with time.  It’s time to drop the baggage.  It’s time to make a change.  Happy New Year and welcome to happy new you!

Give Your Partner a New Year Gift!

It has been with pleasure of monumental proportions that I have had all of you read from me in the course of 2013 as this blog on Romance and Happy Living launched in the last quarter of the year.  It has been my determined desire since that time to give you quality value that should improve your relationship and make your life happy whether you are married, single, divorced or in a relationship.  As the year rolls to an end and as we enter the year 2014, it is my desire that you make it count!  I will do my utmost to give you tips that will make the year magical especially in the realm of your relationship.

As the year tees off, it is important that you give your spouse, partner or couplesfiance/fiancee a New Year Gift.  What is that gift?  They are in two packages…

1.  LET YOUR ATTITUDE BE RIGHT

With a right attitude, you will make the year fruitful for both you and your partner.  You may have all the degrees by the thermometer but if you have no good attitude, you will have your relationship running down the hills and heading for drowning.  As you might already have known, attitude is everything.  A good attitude is the best insurance against unforeseen crisis in your relationship.  Always look out for the best in your partner and see the best out of every bad situation.  That is a good gift to give your partner this New Year.

2.  CHANGE THAT WRONG HABIT

Certain habits that have been with you from childhood may not be helping your relationship.  It could be too much of an open mouth or an inability to take in constructive advice meant for your good.  For some, it is not being able to handle household chores for ladies and hanging out with all the wrong people (for the guys).  Take stock of all the stuff that your partner complains about constantly and make a decision to take a shot at stopping them.

You will be shocked how happy and excited your partner will be if you present these two gifts to them this New Year.  Above applying your deliberate effort to effect the changes required, your closeness to God in prayers and commitment to make the year a season of a closer walk with your Maker will spice up your relationship like you never thought possible.

It is a New Year and your life will be the better for it if you make the right choices.

Happy New Year and stay prosperous for all the right reasons.

 

NURTURING YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Over the last couple of blogs, I have extensively discussed the power of communication as it affects the various realms of relationships ranging from the romantic to the work place.  In this particular blog, I want to round up this discourse as we take a look at four critical points by which you can improve and nurture your communication skills.couples-talking

Before we delve into these points, I would not fail to remind you that the role communication plays in our relationships cannot be over-stretched.  No relationship can survive silence, or the absence of communication; it is the soul and life-wire of every human endeavour.

Below are the four skill nurturing factors for communication as it relates to the development of your relationships:

a)      Be Yourself

Being yourself is one critical way of helping you to communicate sincerely and truthfully.  You don’t have to be like someone else.  Be comfortable with who you are.  Pretense is a clog in the wheel of effective communication.  Being truthful can sometimes be hurtful and painful to those who hear you, but at the end of the day, it pays off handsomely.

 

b)      Be Observant

Be careful to know when to say something and when to shut up.  There are times you may speak rightly but in the wrong time.  What you have to say is so important, you must not waste it being spoken out of tune and in the wrong place and time.  Be careful to observe and know the mood of those you want to speak to; their state of mind and their capacity for receiving it and their expected perception of the issue.  Know that as people are different, so is their individual differences.  What may mean so much to you may not move your partner, friend or colleague.  Understand what people need and communicate with them appropriately.

 

c)      Be Compromise for Peace

Trade-off is a hallmark of effective and enduring communication.  You must be ready to give up on certain things you hold on to tenaciously that may not be directly going against your values and principles if you do so.  Be objective enough to know that you cannot win all the time, especially if it’s about an argument with someone you care about.  You may win the argument and loss the friend.  Which will you prefer?  Look for humor in everything and lighten up when a misunderstood statement is about to create a fire-ball.

 

This is not insisting that you must compromise your values and principles.  No; those are not negotiable.  You must ensure that nothing takes you away from the highway of integrity in that respect.

 

d)      Improve on your emotional awareness

Many people run their lives from the dictates of their emotions.  You must therefore learn how to have mastery over your emotions.  It is a huge hindrance to communicating effectively.  Learn to manage your anger; take a hold on your emotional outbursts; be cautiously passionate about people you care about and do not go over-board in trying to defend them against those who you believe are responsible for certain failures or the other in their lives.

If you take seriously these four basic ingredients for improving and nurturing your communication, you will be well on your way to result-oriented and purpose-driven communication in your relationship no matter the realms you may find yourself in.

 

 

Effective Communication in the Maketplace

Our discussions on communication as a bedrock for result-oriented relationship at all levels continues with this discourse on communicating effectively in the market-place.  Market-place in this context depicts your place of work, your business environment and in the relationship you have with your superiors, colleagues, and subordinates not excluding the critical stakeholders of every business who are the customers and/or clients.

Let us hit the nail on the head right from the start.  We will look at communication in this realm from four critical angles:

1.   Vertical Communication – Relating with your superiors

Except you run your own business and are the CEO, you may have someone up above you in the hierarchy to whom you have to report.  In that case, you will need to know how to communicate with that person in order that you enjoy a smooth working relationship.  Where there is a disconnect in communication, the work will suffer and like most superiors, they will lay the blame at your desk and the consequences of having to be the reason for a project or activity not working can be damning as it is demoralizing.

In Africa, like in most developing countries, there exists a lord and master format of relationship between the boss and his subordinates.  While this is not the ideal in text-book management style, we must come to terms with the reality and work with it while working our way towards the ideal.  The ability to balance the ideal with the reality calls for maturity on your part as you communicate with your boss.  It is therefore important that you understand the way his mind works, his mood swings and his work attitude; this will enable you to say the appropriate things at the right time.  When such people give instructions, having known what they mean besides what they say through effective listening learnt over time of working with them, you can do their bidding to the amazement of others who do not want to pay attention to learn this art.

Relating and communicating with your superiorsCommunicate at Workcan be an art more than a mere skill and everyone who wants to make a success of his or her career must learn this.

2.     Horizontal Communication – Relating with your colleagues

Ordinarily, one expects that relationship amongst colleagues should not elicit any difficulty but yet again, it is a tension soaked area.  I have discussed with folks who believe that their work-place is a shark-infested environment.  Rather than engage in the core duties that brought everyone to the place of work, many work places have become dens of politics, back-stabbing and high-wire divide-and-rule camp.  Some of the tensions are deliberated engineered from the superiors who would want to have camps amongst the employees in order to achieve their inordinate ambitions.

Working in this kind of environment which is commonplace, for you to keep your head up and get results, you must determine that the work place is not an avenue for cultivating friendships.  It is a place of work to earn a living and you ensure that personal interests do not take center-stage.  With this understanding, you will learn how not to be affected by negative statements and discussions; you will be able to equip your mind to be focused only on the job and this will directly or indirectly affect your communication so that you get to say what is needed at every point in time and you listen and assimilate only those things that are related directly to the job.  This will enable you walk the fine line between distraction and focus.

Learn to care about your colleagues enough to seek their good and be careful to be distant enough from controversial issues not directly related to your job functions.

3.   Down-ward Communication – Relating to your subordinates

You will have to relate and deal with those below your rank in the work place.  You need them to effectively carry out your duties.  You may not totally like all of them but yet again, the work place is not a place for being liked or for you to like the people.  You must always keep the big picture of the job in front of you – getting the core objective realized.  Be sentimental and sensitive enough to treat your subordinates as fellow human beings and be firm enough to ensure they follow instructions and get their jobs done.  This has to be built into how you communicate: friendly, firm and clear.  If you communicate with them the way you do with your superiors, they will take advantage of your liberality; if you Work Place Communicationrelate with them as colleagues, they will think you are equals and they can chose not to take instructions; but if your speech and command of language is firm and instructive but not aggressive and oppressive, they will know their level and get things done.

4.  Communicating with your Clients

While the first three levels of communication are important, this is most critical because the customer is the reason why you open your doors every day.  Therefore, whether you are the business owner or you are the employee, thecustomer must be truly treated as king and must be accorded all the courtesy of an important personality.  No customer should enter into your office and spend up to 3 seconds before he is warmly greeted and made welcome.  He must not be allowed to speak up before you if you are the first point of contact either in the front desk or in your department.  He should be spoken to softly, sincerely and with all sense of modesty.  To the customer, gesticulations, body language and the spoken word all mean something important to him and these conveys messages on their own.  It will not be out of place to learn the art of customer relationship with a crash course in communication in this respect.

This discussion will continue later with a third realm of communication.  Stay connected.