FOR THE FIRST TIME in years, families and friends are re-examining their relationships just as companies, organizations, and governments are re-examining why they exist.
Gone are unconscious connections replaced by the choice to connect or not to connect. Before COVID many relationships were supported by routine, habit, and convenience. Like driving a car to a familiar place, we drove our relationships from point A to point B without much attention. The rhythm of going to work, picking up kids from school, making dinner, socializing over the weekend, the annual vacation created a rhythm in our relationships as well. We didn’t always like our relationships, but they were predictable. We knew what to expect through unspoken rules and patterns. We may not have done it well, but we knew how to play the relationship game. And if we didn’t there was always something we could do that would make our relationships better.
Then COVID hit and the rhythm of just about every aspect of our lives was disrupted, including our relationships. The rules of the game were thrown out. The illusion we could change others was shattered. And we felt that in the school of relationships we’d been kicked back to kindergarten. Have you noticed:
- You’re upset that some people have cut you out of their lives, but you’re also aware you’ve done the same to others?
- People are not responding to texts or phone calls?
- You’ve decided not to reach out to a friend because it’s just not worth the energy,
- You’re asking yourself “what does it really mean to be a family, a friend, a husband, a wife, a partner?”
- You get upset for some things that before wouldn’t have bothered you?
The veil has been pulled back from all of our eyes revealing a truth we’ve been avoiding: The only relationship we can truly change is the one we have with ourselves.
Here are three suggestions to re-build the relationship you have with yourself:
- Create a list of recent situations you appreciate and another list of situations you dislike. Then ask yourself: what values (like loyalty, commitment, playfulness) were expressed in the list of situations you appreciate and what positive values were not expressed in the situations you disliked? With this list of core values, orient your life and activities around those things you value and stop doing those things that don’t contain those values.
- What is the best version of yourself? Once you can clearly see that future-state version of yourself, take actions every day to bridge the gap between who you are now and who you want to be in the future.
- Start each day with a new routine of meditation, journaling what you’re grateful for, and end the day having exercised, and done a random act of kindness.