Cultivating Relationships that Bloom in the Garden of Life
By Juliann Haarman
Many people are busy this time of year transporting children to activities, trying to fit in outdoor and social events during the warm summer weather, while also tending to various tasks that need attention around the house, the yard and maybe even the garden. Let’s face it, we are often on the go, in high gear, and engaging in non-stop running around craziness. While we can’t simply ignore everyday responsibilities, we certainly can find some balance, by slowing down and taking an opportunity to smell the roses and cherish the many gifts we have in life.
Speaking of gifts, one I often think about in life, is the precious gift of relationships. Without them, we would be sad and lonely. As humans we seek and crave close and intimate relationships. When we feel loved and engaged, our soul feels whole. Please note that romantic relationships are not the only or even primary source of relational happiness. Family, friendships and even pets play a major role, and can be just as important. Whatever relationships you are blessed with, please know that they require attention, nourishment, maintenance, and a little pruning occasionally, to grow and flourish.
Tips for Tending to your Relationships:
Love yourself first. We often project onto others whatever we feel about ourselves. If we are self-critical and harsh with ourselves, we won’t let anyone else off the hook either. Practice self-love and then open the doors to others.
Empathy. Consciously think about how another person might feel by putting yourself in their shoes. Soften your heart and think of empathy as the foundation and core of any successful relationship.
Consistency and follow-through. Simply stated, if you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!
Make small, affectionate gestures. Say or do something sweet every day. It could be as simple as texting “I love you,” helping with a task around the house you normally would not, or send a funny card. The point is to remind your loved ones that even though life is hectic they are still in your thoughts.
Talk and Listen. Communication is key in all relationships. It’s important that you share your thoughts, and equally as important to provide a listening ear.
Thoughtfulness and generosity. When we are busy and stressed out in life, we often forget to thank and acknowledge the people closest to us. Be sure to practice emotional generosity often. Share small endearments with your partner, express your love and share gratitude.
Just like anything worth tending too, relationships are a work in progress. When we are mindful and nurture our relationships, they can flourish and grow into a beautiful garden filled life.