5 Steps to Prioritizing & Nurturing Your Relationships - Amber Hurdle | Brand Strategy & Leadership

5 Steps to Prioritizing & Nurturing Your Relationships

January 14, 2019

A while back, I was chatting with another mom.  I was sharing how my oldest child had found himself in a season of depression.  What started out in an innocent way to take a break and blow off steam, my son soon was choosing to play video games instead of connecting with his friends.  The more he isolated into the gaming world, the more he withdrew from his friends. At the time, he felt that chatting to his online friends while gaming was sufficient connection to peers. He would be the first to tell you that it was not.  The thing is, the more he went to the games for fun, connection, and numbing, the more it left him feeling drained, sad and alone. Once he could see that what he was doing was giving him the opposite of what he wanted, he shifted.

This other mom totally connected. She said that she saw it over and over in her line of work. Teens isolate for a break and then ultimately become depressed. I told her, it’s not just teens.  Adults do it too…only we don’t choose video games — we choose busyness. At that moment, her eyes welled.

I think almost any adult can see the pitfalls of gaming verse actual human interaction.  But when it comes to many of us, we choose to make our schedules so busy that there is no margin for connection.  When we run into a friend why do we immediately tell them how crazy life is? When did this become a badge of honor and not seen as tragic? When the time with our kids is spent rushing them to get dressed, get in the car, get out of the car, brush your teeth, get in bed, get back in bed, we might as well be playing video games…the connection is bypassed too often to count.

You are not alone when you lay down at night, too exhausted to have a deep conversation with your spouse while your head is swimming with your to-do list for tomorrow. According to a study published by Cigna, 46 percent of U.S. adults report sometimes or always feeling lonely.

Why Should I Care?

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier according to this amazing study.  During this 75-year long study, researchers found that social connections are good for us on many levels (shocking).  While those who felt they had meaningful connections lived longer, those who felt lonely were less happy, less healthy and brain health declined faster.

Step 1: Make It A Priority.  

Sounds simple because it is. That doesn’t mean that it is easy.  If you are committed to causing deep connections with those closest to you then there will be opportunities to grow.  It’s one thing to say, I want deep connections and another to be present when all you want to do is check out.

Step 2: Replace Numbing With Engaging.  

That may mean shutting off electronics.  It may look like not having a glass of wine to “unwind.” It may mean cutting out lessons/sports for the kids, or not answering emails or checking social media.  It will mean engaging in conversations. It will mean allowing yourself the time to see and connect with the people around you. It may mean having the fight, or series of fights, you have been avoiding.  Remember I said simple, not easy.

Step 3: Make A “To Be” List.

How do you know if you are making any progress?  One thing that has been helpful to me is to write out a daily “to be” list alongside my “to do” list.  I write things like: authentic, honest, generous listener, joyful, and connected. So as often as I look at my “to do” list, I am seeing my “to be” list.  I am reminded of what is most important to me that day.

Step 4: Measure Your Results.

Like any goal or vision, measuring our progress is vital. To measure progress on your “to be” list simply ask yourself if I was “blank” what evidence would I be able to find to prove it? If you want to be connected, for instance, you would have intimate conversations, feel known and really know others.  So as you look at your lists you can ask yourself, have I had intimate conversations today? Do I feel known today? Did I learn something new about my husband, child or friend today? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad. The goal isn’t perfection and performance, rather connection. You simply ask yourself what didn’t work today, and what might work tomorrow to help you be more connected to those most important to you.  

Step 5: Troubleshooting.

Trying everything and still feeling disconnected in your relationships?  There might be something sabotaging your efforts. Forgiveness can be one of the most powerful catalysts in connection. Choosing resentment instead of forgiveness could be what is drying up the riverbeds of intimacy.

Remember forgiveness is not saying, “it’s okay,” and it’s not being a boundaryless doormat. It is saying “I choose to not hold this offense against you.”  It’s about gaining freedom from holding onto the grudge.

Whether you are forgiving someone else or yourself, give yourself grace. Know that while forgiveness is an event, it is also a process. Some offenses have layers of hurt, anger, and disappointments that must be grieved, processed and forgiven as the feelings bubble up.  

Nearly half of adults wish for deeper, more connected relationships.  Let’s not just wish for something we can have. Give these 5 steps a whirl. All you have to lose is your loneliness.

About the Author

Jaime Gordon

Jaime Gordon

Jaime Gordon Life Coaching

Transformational Coaching/Life Coaching

Jaime Gordon is a transformational life coach who partners with individuals to clarify their vision, break through barriers, and achieve the longings of their hearts in life, relationships and business. In addition to being a wife and mother of 3, she truly believes in the power of standing with her clients as they do the work of transformation.
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