In my last few blogs, I’ve been focusing on the nature of relationships because, as social creatures, virtually all of us are dependent on our relationships for our emotional health and even our survival. I believe that the more we understand the nature of relationships and what makes them healthy, the more we can each endeavor to improve and maintain them.
I invite you to consider a poem written by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker, first published in 2000. As you read it, I invite you to consider the significant relationships in your life and under which category each seems to fall. Notice how you feel when you bring this person to mind. What memories or images pop up for you? Was this relationship meaningful, supportive, helpful to you? Why?
I also suggest you consider the significant relationships you have had with others and how they might be feeling about you in the relationship: do they think you are a part of their life for a reason, a season or a lifetime?
If you have had many significant relationships over a long period of time you may have a wide variety on which to reflect. If you are a much younger person, this information may be helpful to you in guiding you to understand what the dynamics of each significant relationship might involve as you move forward in your life.
Reason, Season, or Lifetime by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a Lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will Know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their wake is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
HUMAN CONNECTIONS ARE ESSENTIAL TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. THANK EVERYONE WHOSE PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE.
Those relationships that existed for a reason or a season typically come to an end, either suddenly or gradually. For many people, ending one of these relationships, because they were significant, brings on experiences of grieving, the deep sense of loss for what once was. There also can be profound gratitude for what they brought you. They most likely will remain in your memory because of what they meant to you, how they helped you learn, grow, and heal.
Sometimes a person will believe a relationship falls into the category of lasting for a lifetime. When it is a beautiful relationship based on deep love, emotional intimacy, safety and trust, you can feel very blessed and secure in the fact that this relationship will last as long as the people in it live. There are times when a presumed lifetime relationship ends, not because of death but because one person changes, grows tired of some aspect of the relationship, wants to move forward in some way that leaves the other person behind. These relational ruptures can be the most painful of all, bringing on deep grieving, fears about what might have hurt or disappointed the other person, a huge breach in trusting that person ever again and maybe trusting all future relationships. People hurt in this way may not only grieve, they can despair, ache with fear that they somehow did something that caused the breakage. People who experience these kinds of relational breakage can feel shocked, abandoned, and depressed.
When I was earning my Master’s degree in psychoeducational processes, I learned to appreciate that relationships should be viewed as living organisms that needed to be feed and nurtured. Being aware of what promotes and nurtures healthy relationships can empower us to do what is needed to keep a relationship alive, well and thriving. Knowledge is power and we each can work on empowering ourselves to promote health in relationships that exist for a reason, season or lifetime.
Invitation for Reflection
- Reflect on your responses to the questions posed in the third and fourth paragraphs at the beginning of this blog. How has reflecting impacted your understanding of the nature of relationships?
- Are there relationships you want to focus on to preserve and protect so they can last a lifetime? What are some specific ways you can do this?
- If you have experienced pain in relationships that ended too soon, how have you helped yourself heal? What can you do to promote health in other significant relationships?
Diane Wagenhals, Director, Lakeside Global Institute