Driving is such an exhilarating experience when it is just you and the road. There is nothing like the experience of flowing without having to accommodate for others. You have so much control when the road is empty. You can control the speed, and you can have your choice of lane at any given moment. There is a great appeal to it, and just about anyone will tell you that they would even settle for lighter traffic if they couldn't have an empty road.
Having to drive on a busy road is limiting. You can't make certain moves, or drive at certain speeds. It can feel a bit stifling. I am sure you have had the experience of being stuck in traffic before. It is a frustrating experience if not flat out irritating. I know how common the experience of a crowded road is and that is why I chose that for this entry. It is an experience that is very familiar to us that can be used to understand something as complex as relationships.
We actually sometimes have more consideration of others on the road than we do in our own personal lives. I love the example of the empty road because it illustrates perfectly the kind of freedom we all yearn for while simultaneously illustrating that it requires some degree of loneliness. Freedom all of the time does yield a great deal of control over your time and your choices. You don't have to accommodate for others, but you don't get to enjoy others either. The empty road, like the absence of meaningful relationships, doesn't feel like freedom if you're on it all of the time.
People have countless conflicts in their daily lives because they refuse to accommodate or yield to others. They either have way too many people to accommodate, or they are used to having too few people to accommodate and can't manage increasing restrictions. They drive people away because they are unable to deal with the discord. Even though they desire the companionship they are unable to either yield to others or are unable to keep their relationships manageable.
Figuring out this tightrope of a situation is important. You have to be able to have the meaningful relationships that you value, and also have space to experience that freedom which inspires you. I manage my life using the FEW process which helps me keep tabs on the relationship segments of my life, and I know that publishing the handbook and making it available to others will be helpful; but what until then? What advice do I have to use in the short term? How does one walk this tightrope of relationship management with more grace?
There's a quick checklist that I used some years back which helped me focus on the relationships I valued most. I have had many changes in my life, and I have undergone a number of challenges, some in my personal relationships; but I have never lost sight of those relationships I value and I have always provided the space they required. I recommend this checklist as a starting point to feel stability in your relationships.
Relationship Management Checklist
- Take time for yourself when needed.
- Know which are your core relationships.
- Have conditions for people outside of your core relationships.
- Do not add people to your closest circles if they drain you.
- Keep your relationships manageable.
It is very difficult to pass up on relationships that are promising, but sometimes they are not healthy relationships. It is important to identify the conditions that a relationship needs to meet so that you do not find yourself in those that drain you. Sometimes people will be a good fit for you, but you might not be a good fit for them. You might find that you are a good fit for them, but they are not a good fit for you. Neither condition means that either person is not good enough. Whatever the case if you have a conscious approach to relationships the situation will be manageable.
I don't like to impose my own ideas onto others when sharing general management and procedural techniques. I do however often share my thoughts or ideas as an example, not as a suggestion. I will close with one such thought, nothing is more beautiful than the presence of a meaningful relationship with a loved one in your life. Cherish and nurture that.