It’s the last blog for “love month” and I’m sorry that we are 1 week late, now bridging into the new beat of March. However I was excited about this post and didn’t want to skip it no matter my crazy schedule last week. So…Whether your “love” is for your pet, your one-to-come, your spouse, your kids, or your bestie I hope you found something both encouraging and practical here this month!
Be sure to check the other three blogs for developing your love muscles and relationship skills.
Dear Reader it’s so true that we all want to be loved, liked, and appreciated! After all, we are all just standing in front of someone asking them to like us. (Nod to that witty rom-com that’s on my movie list.).
I remember a time I stood in the hallway literally crying to my current roommate, “I’m a relationship disaster zone!” It was a dramatic statement that could be in any movie scene but the story turned out fabulously when I got connected to a counselor, a dating coach, and an amazing community. I learned the very things I’m about to share with you. They might not be revolutionary but they could change your world if you implemented them consistently.
To be a champion in relationships takes a few skills, some humor, and these 5 C’s: communication, compassion, consistency, commitment, community.
This week I’d like to elaborate briefly on these 5 C’s that will help you to be a relationship champion.
5 C’s that create relationship champions –
Communication – yes this is the means of sharing thoughts, emotions, dreams and experiences with others. It is also the means by which you understand yourself. So here communication is not just between you and others, or between you and God, it is also between you and yourself. To be a relationship champion means you get to know yourself so that you can grow into the best version of yourself. It also means what you probably already thought of, learning the skills of knowing someone else and sharing yourself with that person.
Here’s some reflection and next step suggestions for growing in communication –
- How well do you know your ways of processing information, your preferred style of relating, your likes/dislikes, your life rhythm that includes the things that make you the best you, and the ways you tend to short-circuit your own goals?
- How well would your closest friend say you communication so that they feel understood and supported by you? How many types of communication tools or skills can you name—and do you use them?
Compassion – this is more than just wanting to help someone in distress or understanding someone else’s plot to the degree you want to act on it. It is also the bedrock for any form of beneficial connection, especially friendship, the type of relationship all romantic relationships should be founded upon. Compassion is not just towards others either – it is also the way we care for ourselves and listen to the inner critic that can disrupt our capacity for compassion to ourselves and to others. A relationship champion allows themselves to seek to understand someone else and then takes the actionable step to create a connection out of that compassion. Compassion lets you see your humanity and also your strength in offering support. That support then creates a context for understanding, and the context of understanding creates a connection that could turn into a relationship or just a kind action to a stranger.
Here’s some reflection and next step suggestions for growing in compassion –
- What is your current capacity for feeling compassion for yourself or for others? Is your inner critic so loud that it’s hard to give yourself compassion, much less anyone else? Is life too packed or too stressful right now for compassion to have any room?
- What is one thing recently where you felt compassion and either acted on it or didn’t?
Consistency – Ahh, we all long for consistency in some areas at least. Again like the others, this one is for you and for others too. Consistency is important because it creates respect, safety, and the place for growth. To be a relationship champion means you are consistent (more often than not) in showing yourself respect by taking care of the things that are valuable to you—that needs to include your own whole self. And you also are demonstrating consistent contact with a balanced mood so that there is safety and respect to the other person. If you read the earlier blog on the people you need in your life you will remember that a healthy person is one that allows you to grow closer to God, closer to others, and grow into the person you were created to be. Consistency for yourself and others allows for this growing space.
Here’s some reflection and next step suggestions for growing in consistency –
- At this stage, how are you doing with more often than not (the grace-filled way of offering consistency) taking care of your whole self (that includes your emotions, spirit, body, intellect and relationships)? What typically takes the place of you consistently caring for your whole self?
- Ask your closest friend the areas they see you being consistent in these days. Now, are these areas helping your relationship grow healthy and strong? If yes, celebrate! If not, brainstorm on ways you can change that for good.
Commitment – Naturally we think of commitment in the context of a committed relationship but there’s also the commitment you have to yourself and to those you maintain consistent communication with too. How you consistently treat yourself and commit to time to grow into the best version of yourself so you can life out your God-given destiny. Also your consistency in relationship with others is a form of commitment, but you can provide direct commitment with words and actions to that other person. Commitment also becomes the place to return to in a safe and healthy relationship when things get tough but each one is willing to grow, change, and care in even healthier ways.
Here’s some reflection and next step suggestions for growing in commitment –
- When has someone else made a commitment in relationship with you? How did that go?
- Are there any wounds or hurts related to that commitment or lack of commitment that is impacting your current capacity for commitment to yourself or to others?
Community – a relationship champion knows that healthy things grow with other healthy things, and so it is with any relationship. We can not and must not do life alone. We were designed to need one another and to meet those needs in healthy life giving ways. The definition of an intimate relationship that I like is one where there is mutual care giving in a mutually beneficial relationship where emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical needs are met in healthy ways. People that are in your community are there for everyones benefit. Its not just and never will be only about you or about me. When we are in healthy community where there is mutual benefit in healthy ways occurring we are all growing closer to God, closer to each other, and closer to the person we each are designed to be.
Here’s some reflection and next step suggestions for growing in community –
- Who is in your life right now that is part of your healthy community?
- When was the last time you had a group or a few people you consistently shared life with and offered grace to each other and lived out healthy mutually beneficial relationships?
- If you don’t have a community right now that’s consistent or that is more than 2 people, why not check out some local and healthy ways of establishing those possible connections? As a follower of Jesus (Christian) I encourage you to check out your local church and start serving somewhere and also attend a weekly small group or dinner party to begin those relationships.
- Of all the questions after each section, which one is your highest priority/which one will you approach first?
- What are your thoughts as you consider yourself growing into a relationship champion?
- Do you need to gather any support for your current growth?
We were never designed to go through life alone, but life and adulting can make it begin to feel like that! Don’t let it stay that way! Get back to the important things of building healthy relationships and being a healthy, safe, good friend to those in your life! Together we can make a difference in bringing about healthy, safe, good growing relationships!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva