Intentional Relationships

In the latest episode of The Middle Child Podcast, I discussed my intentions with relationships I want to gain in the future. This past year has taught me that we all have expectations and intentions for others, but we don’t often communicate them. We get upset when people don’t meet those expectations. We may end relationships because those uncommunicated expectations weren’t met or just be angry and treat the other person poorly. I’ve experienced both of these things in personal and professional relationships this year.

I’ve been seeing posts online about how people are setting boundaries and pursuing relationships that serve their emotional and mental well-being. It lets me know that I’m not alone and to think about how I pursue and engage with people to establish and maintain relationships. I admit I’ve spent a lot of my life closed off. It does take people a while to get to know me. No fault of their own, but it’s the wall I put up because disappointment hits me hard and I would rather not deal with it. 

In my recent therapy sessions, I’ve been unlearning negative thought patterns and negative traits that have kept me bound for a long time. Both have been hard to break since I had surrounded myself around negativity and allowed people to have negative energy around me. It’s been draining and it gets lonely when those people drift away because I no longer want to absorb the negativity. One negative trait that I have is allowing things to build up until they boil over. I call it looking for patterns, but it’s allowing abuse and mistreatment until I make up an excuse to not deal with the person any longer. 

Moving forward, I want to be more intentional about who I let into my life and use discernment when engaging with people. I do understand that there may be some unavoidable situations in which I will have to follow the advice of a former mentor. I have to speak up and stop allowing myself to take on so much weight that doesn’t belong to me and advocate for myself. Avoidance has always been my way to deal with conflict when I didn’t feel safe to speak up. Safety is very important to me. Yet, I will have to be uncomfortable in voicing my thoughts and feelings for my own growth. It won’t do much good if I’m silently suffering while others continue to mistreat me.

I also understand that I will be the villain in some stories and I’m okay with that. I only have control over how I react to situations based on my perception. Some people may be telling the truth. Some people may be projecting to make themselves look like the victim in the story. I have no control over those situations. I pray that my discernment kicks in so those people and people who mean me harm steer clear of me. I don’t want frenemies or only to receive praise when I do well and make them look good, but I’m damned to hell when I fall short as all humans do. 

My prayer is that all who enter my life from this day forward only have good intentions and other attempts to destroy me are blocked as soon as those thoughts enter the minds of those who are being misled. I don’t expect to be liked by everyone because that is not realistic. I do pray that those who engage with me whether as acquaintances, friends, colleagues, mentors, and family do so with a pure heart. 2023 and beyond, my values and love will guide all relationships. It’s grace, love, integrity, accountability, and reciprocity over here. 

That means I’ll be working on myself and opening my heart because I know my closed heart attracted hurt people in the past. I know there’s love in my heart. It’s finding a way to show love so people know they are loved and appreciated without the thought, “I’m here, so I love you.” People need more than that. They need to know they matter and are appreciated. They have to know you value them and they can count on you. They have to know you have an interest instead of treating every person as disposable. If I expect a trait from a person in our friendship or engagements, then I need to exhibit traits that say, “Yes, I see and value you.”

Reflection Questions

  • What are traits you look for in personal relationships?
  • What traits do you avoid when engaging with others?
  • How can you be more intentional about the people you connect with?
  • What are your relationship goals for 2023?
  • How can you communicate the goals?

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