How To Get Ahead In Your World III – Relationships

We continue our discussion on how to rule our world as Christians. I should point out that these points (both here and in previous issues) are very useful even to those who are not Christians. Kindly follow through on this subject as it is a long read. I promise you will find it very helpful. Enjoy…….
Every Human being is an extension of God. God made everyone and that includes the very good and very bad. As a matter of fact, our perception of good and bad is not always accurate We often base our judgement of who or what is good and bad on our own biased definition perception of those terms, sometimes derived from personal life experiences, upbringing and religious beliefs.
The awesomely creative power of God has designed Human beings such that Relationship is an intrinsic part of our lives. Our physical body parts are an obvious illustration of this as every body part is systematically connected to another, so are the internal systems that may not function at their best without other systems. He also took cognizance of the fact that humans cannot thrive on solitude and invented what we call ‘’Companionship’’. This was demonstrated when he created a female being out of Adam’s rib.
I have always thought that the only fundamental needs of Human Beings are Food, Shelter and Clothing. You are forgiven if you ever thought like me, our social science teachers who passed that down did not know any better, maybe they did but assumed we were too young to understand any more points . More of life experiences as I gradually did transcend from childhood to adulthood have taught me that a major fundamental need of Human is Relationship.
We need to be called to the consciousness of the kind of relationships we start or build with others. While some may be healthy, others may be Toxic. Healthy relationships are helpful, curative and nonlethal, while the Toxic ones constitute Abuse, Harassment, usually poisonous, sometimes deadly. We definitely do not want to be found dead fixing the avoidable.
While all relationships are sensitive, some are a whole lot more than others. There is therefore no definite formula for making our relationships healthy, the way we treat and are treated by our each of our children will differ from that of our spouses. How we treat and are treated by our Bosses, Subordinates, Business partners, Banking officers, Teachers, Classmates, Church leaders, Chauffeurs, Vendors, Artisans and Long distance relatives differ and should therefore be treated as such, in their peculiarities and uniqueness.
I still do not know why God has designed that I sometimes have to get others involved in my personal affairs for some things to come through, I don’t know why I need others to make and spend money, but what I certainly know is that, as private as I always love it, my life has never really been sufficiently satisfying without the infusion of other people’s effort.
Have you ever felt an extreme emotion and can hardly express it until you find that person you trust and feel most comfortable with? We can try this simple exercise, think back and try recall the last time you received a very great news alone, how many seconds did it require for you to decide to put a call through or travel down to someone who could share in your joy? Mine was that very second.
Love, Accepting Differences, Communication, Forgiveness and Spiritual Maturity are all intrinsic parts of a healthy relationship, they are factors that cannot be undermined in starting, building and sustaining a Non-toxic relationship. System of application may however differ from person to person as we have earlier established.
Going further, we will discuss factors listed above. They make the difference between Healthy and Toxic relationships. I however implore that we are open minded as some of these points might sound almost impracticable but the only reason for this will be if we find it difficult to deal with our intra-personal beings, I know of a little man called ‘’Ego’’ who just might deter us from recognizing and admitting the negativity of our relationships and moving in the right direction of making things right. Going on, we will discuss more of this.
LOVE is beyond that ‘’Frenzy’’ emotion of affection that we sometimes feel deep within, as important as this kind of feeling is in starting a relationship most times with a potential spouse, it is hardly ever sufficient to sustain such relationships. A deeper kind of emotion is required to sustain any relationship we may find ourselves in, deep enough to sustain a relationship with an obnoxious parent, rebellious child, obstinate spouse, insensitive boss, slothful employee, even a stalking long distant relative. The kind that is poured out in our hearts by the Spirit. This ‘’Agape’’ (God kind of Love) exudes from a decision to ‘’act’’ in Love regardless of situations and circumstances, how difficult or loveable an individual might be becomes inconsequential. It is usually deliberate and dogged.
Have we ever taken our time to consider the fact that we do not always please God by our daily actions, yet he forgives as many times as possible as long as we are remorseful and repentant, Now this explains why it is easy to define God as Love, it summarises who He is and the extent to which He ‘’demonstrates’’ His unending Goodwill towards His own creatures. Ok, we have learnt that we are the exact image of God, an expectation to consequently take after His image of Love just as a son picks up the traits of his father will just be natural.
The acts of Forgiveness, Kindness and Compassion all bother on our ‘’Love capability’’. On one of the days I was feeling quite low owning to rough patches I had with an individual I regard as really close to me, I had a conversation with another friend of mine, conversation with him could be somewhat therapeutic I must admit, a statement he made that made an indelible effect on me was ‘’You can Love someone but not Like same’’, I did not quite understand that at first but then, he explained further by telling me that some people will really get on your nerves and you will rather have them shot dead if you would go by the hurt you feel by their actions, but as Christians, we are obliged by the reason of our Heavenly Father to love this people regardless, and return their wrong actions with a deliberate show of Love. This act of Love should ultimately override the feeling of contempt we might have towards such individual and vice versa.
It is easy for us to admit that loving down-to –earth, kind people is a lot easier than loving insensitive, sometimes choleric people around us, but a good place to start might just be a solemn decision to express a Spirit induced kind of love towards everyone we come across, even strangers, and ask for Divine Grace for same. Somewhat tough decision like this do not begin to play out in a day or a week or even a month, it usually requires an intentional sense of willingness and gradual inculcation of new Love habits like Giving compliments, Smiling, Giving Support and Encouragement, Asking about the welfare of others and Interceding on their behalf.
Can I also mention that I have come across very few people that do not love themselves, although they do not often make down-right blunt confession of disdain for themselves but their action and speeches usually says it all? From self-condemnation to self-judgement and criticism. What I usually tell people in this state is that ‘’you can hardly be treated better than you treat yourself’’. One can hardly live successfully with others if he or she has a challenge living peacefully with him/her. This is where it starts, so I usually advice a visit to a counsellor. It always helps.
ACCEPTING INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES is not like summing up 2 and 2 to make 4, if it was that simple, I bet Isaac would have blessed his two sons and not make one subject to the other. It is a bit of an effort in admitting that the next person is unique and has some peculiarities not particularly the same as yours
You may agree with me on the fact that having all nice, kind, black race, same language, truthful and with one kind of temperament race of human might just be boring, this is as we have earlier established. Variety is Spicy.
Several factors make up differences in Human beings, from Gender to Religion, Race, Language, Society & Culture, Family, Temperament and several others. Our world and lives are designed such that everyone has a freedom of choice, the unnatural one being gender choice shows the extent to which human beings wildly express their freedom of choice and abuse the right to use our own brains for positive energy and creativity.
Accepting what makes others different does not mean accepting their weaknesses. DIFFERENCES ARE NOT WEAKNESSES, they are only expressions of diverse perspectives from which life and people can be viewed from. So the fact that as a parent, I do not like to play my life out at centre stage does not give me a right to deprive my child who loves fame and spotlight. I can or should at best give insights to pains and gains of a chosen route of decision, play open all cards, give some thorough Bible based teachings and pray that the individual resolves on the right decision. This is usually applicable when decisions in question are not life threatening or destructive, when they are, more vigorous measures may be employed.
Individual differences are not to be scorned or detested, but the ability to leverage on qualities in others that you probably do not possess may give you an advantage in managing issues we sometimes regard as challenging. One would hardly get the best of any situation if we choose to under estimate the capabilities and incapability of others. That perceived weakness of the next person might just be the ‘’Jackpot’’ needed to get ahead with your own life’s most important issues.
It sometimes plays up in people’s temperament. A Choleric or Melancholic wife may be put off by the boisterous and highly ecstatic character of a Sanguine husband. If she sensitive enough to realize that her all Firm, Furious and Forceful tendencies may not always be an all-time-door-opener or problem solver, she may learn to focus and leverage on the strength of her Happy-go-lucky husband, she thereby stands a better chance at happiness and definitely a stress free, result-oriented life and home.
We certainly cannot have a world of only choleric individuals, the world will be too serious a place to live in, we cannot all be phlegmatic, the world will be too laid back, an all melancholic world will make the world too perfect and depressing, where will be the room for creative ideas? A world of only sanguine humans will definitely make it a noisy place
Variety and Differences are natural and an evidence of God’s creativity, it however can work for or against us depending on how we opt to view and manage it. It is pertinent that I also add that Individual Differences are in no way synonymous to Social Vices, although can lead to them. I will not suggest that we accept as a form of difference an individual’s constant fraudulent act. This individual might have a tough, zealous and an over ambitious personality but apparently has not been channelled in the right direction, such individual can be helped and a seemingly recipe for destruction can be turned into positive energy.
The importance of COMMUNICATION in every relationship can never be over emphasized. Its cliché when they say ‘’Communication is key’’. Forgive me but IT IS! Imagine that everyone in the world is knowledgeable and smart enough to know what to do, and even though we are accountable to some people, we do not have to share our joy, grieves, opinions or run our bulb-lit ideas by anyone, we do not have to write letters or say a word to anyone about how we feel, we just go ahead and execute our great or sometimes wild-running thoughts. In my imagination of such non-civil world, it will be a bane of some becoming suicidal, others murderous; most will run a rather tacky existence. A chaotic world would not sufficiently describe what we may have. It would not be much of a difference if no two people spoke a common language.
Spoken words are evidently a vital part of Communication but a greater percentage of communication skills lie in Message tone, Body Language and Facial expression.
Successful communication skill I have always believed starts internally. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The ability to deal with one’s character, mind-set, and motive in what is called Internal Dialogue usually has a direct effect on how one is able to get along with others and not constantly get a punch in the face (Short-term effect) or incur life-long foes (Long-term effect).
In intra-personal communication or dialogue, we are able to deal with personal weaknesses like pride, inferiority/superiority complex, selfishness, insecurities and trust issues that may forestall getting along with other individuals. External help from counsellors, parents and psychologists in extreme cases can also come in handy.
Ego is a rather huge force that gets in the way of a meant-to-be-harmless conversation and consequently, relationship. however subconsciously or intentionally Egoistic an individual might be, he may constantly be in the horrific books of others if he is not able to sometimes shove or completely overcome his Ego. It also boosts our ability to be dependent on other and not feel all sufficient; we might just be able to get things done a bit easier through favours when our Ego is shoved aside
Poor communication or distortion of it constantly gets in the way of healthy relationships and what started out as healthy may turn toxic with the use of just one word with the wrong intonation, attitude, body language or facial expression. It is therefore very important to make a thorough check of our attitude and motive behind subject of dialogue. We can start out by asking questions like ‘’How do I feel? Angry, cheated, tensed or worried?’’ ‘’How does the other person feel, angry or intimidated?’’. If answers to these questions turn out in the negative, we may need to take some time off for some internal dialogue and/or external help if required. Talking about it to someone mature or experienced usually helps. While we are at this, it also gives the other person time to ease out and heal if it is a pending or lingering issue. If there is still a need to talk about it afterwards, then questions like ‘’What do I need to say?’’ ‘’When and How should I say it?’’ ‘’When should I stop?’’. Effective communication can be put in perspective with the right internal questions. I am however yet to find a good reason for extreme arguments, verbal abuse or use of foul languages in any relationship or conversations therein. They may seem normal in toxic relationships but out rightly abominable for healthy ones or those we hope to become healthy. Physical abuse also communicates nothing but lack of self-control. This is not the same as lightly spanking a child in correction and not anger. But remember, FOR CHILDREN ONLY!!!
We cannot deny the fact that we sometimes need to reprimand a subordinate or an employee, it could be to a spouse we need to express our displeasure, it always happens to be effective when we are courteous and constructive about it. The individual is likely to take your correction with joy and gratitude if done with a level of sensitivity and caution. I have had times in my life when I thought clamping down heavily and bluntly on an individual will make such individual get my point straight and feel challenged to act better next time, this is not out rightly a bad style as it were but wisdom to decipher when and who this style will work with is important, when applied too often and wrongly, our intention becomes a mere goose chase, it will be likened to expecting Rainfall in the Drought, Disappointing. It is crucial to equally apply wisdom when communicating Good News, factors like age and state of health might be considered. I bet we do not want to nurse or sit a patient in a hospital bed after only sharing and exciting information with him or her.
Our actions are definitely a major language of communication. I always prefer to use the family unit for the illustration of this. Children are more likely to pick what they see been done by a parent that what they hear been said. How you act towards them, towards your spouse, your parent, the domestic staff, what you do when you are alone and think they are not watching, your attitude even while you drive all speak louder and clearer to these growing ones. You would not blame them if they pick these things faster than what to tell, teach or instruct. It is their natural design.
Making the best of every relationship requires saying the right things, at the right time and definitely with the right attitude
Capacity for FORGIVENESS is paramount to every relationship. As a matter of fact, we only possess a level of control over what we do to ourselves and to others; we hardly do have that hold on what others do to us or to themselves. The faster we are able to come to terms with this, the easier it becomes for us to always take ‘’Chill Pills’’, forgive, be creative, stay happy and live a purpose-driven life.
From my little life experience, I have discovered that the saying ‘’Anger is Destructive’’ is not a mere quote, I really have seen it destroy. It might be unrealistic to suggest that human beings always stay happy and never get angry, but how we manage and respond to the subject of anger determines how fast we are able to move on and get ahead with our lives’ visions and purposes. Some individuals are able to express impulsively their anger and extreme negative emotion in words and actions, they claim to be relieved afterwards and to have forgiven the one who offends, but they forget to put into consideration or ask themselves ‘’is the other person equally relieved afterwards?’’
A more pathetic anger management style is when it is allowed to degenerate into Bitterness and fed fat with Envy and Hate. Bitterness they say is like eating poison and expecting the next person to die instead. It is a huge distraction in the achievement of purpose. A therapeutic phenomenon that cures this condition is called ‘’Forgiveness’’. Maybe this is not as easy as it sounds, but the Holy Spirit makes all things possible. A good way to start out is by asking for His help, He does not only give us a forgiving spirit, He lifts our burdens and comforts us in times we hurt. We should also ask for the Grace to trust again, Lack of it jeopardizes and truncates what we have over the years built.
For every one who has ever had a reason to forgive, you will agree with me that Forgiveness truly heals. It brings healing to the one who forgives and to the relationship headed for the ice berg, even a completely broken one.
I have overtime inculcated this formula that always works for me, the assumption that the offender knows no better. Making excuses of genuine ignorance for other people has always saved me a broken heart and subsequently saved my relationships. This way, I do not have to forgive because I do not get hurt. Instead, I seize an opportunity of the situation to explain and enlighten on what is expected of the other person, this I do politely. For it to work, it must be Constructive.
Christ is aware of our capabilities and deficiencies as humans and sure knows a 70×7 times a day forgiveness is not so impossible.
It would not be far-fetched to conclude that the act of Love, Accepting Individual Differences, Effective Communication and Forgiveness may not come so natural to everyone. While it may seem as easy as frying a breakfast sunny-side for some, especially individuals with phlegmatic and sanguine tendencies, others particularly may need to leverage on the Holy Spirit and His Grace made available to us. Whichever of these classification we may fall into, we definitely need a certain level of SPIRITUAL MATURITY to enable us freely tap into the Grace made available to us on the Cross. We however do not have part in the Redemption that took place at the Cross if we do not accept and identify with Christ who paid the price, He sent the Holy Spirit to us after Him to comfort and be our Helper, we also cannot partake of this if we do not invite the Spirit into our lives. A sound relationship with the Holy Spirit translates into a quality one with men.
How surprising it is that Christians are the ones who have the most difficult time sustaining healthy relationships. Some are all nice and kind in church and fellowships but get it totally wrong at the home front while some others just find it difficult to keep their church, home and workplace relationships. This is partly because as Christians, instead of Leveraging on Grace, we take undue advantage of it. These are two separate ideologies, taking undue advantage of Grace might be tantamount to taking it for granted.
Behavioural patterns and character needed to sustain healthy relationships are strongly reliant on our Christian values and maturity level as Christians. Take for example Honesty and Accountability, they are strong Christian values, but as trivial as they might seem, the lack of it may have a dispelling effect on any relationship. It may however require a Spirit filled mature Christian to realize that it takes the help of the Spirit to preserve ones integrity through Honesty and Accountability. Covering up a situation with a lie to preserve someone else’s emotion does nothing to preserve such relationship. The potential Havoc wreck to such relationship is greater that its preservation tendencies.
Spiritual Maturity should not be side-lined in preserving our relationships, so also is our relationship with the Holy Spirit. He helps us to be Kind, Humble, Forgiving and Tolerant if only we ask and are willing to receive.
On a Final note, we need to be aware of the fact that every relationship we have draws us closer to or further from God’s perfect will for our lives, Its place in moving from where we are to where God has destined for us cannot be under-estimated, he has surrounded our lives with diverse kind of people for a reason and should therefore be conscious of how our relationships affect our lives, and those of others. It is good leverage on other people’s uniqueness but this is not equal to taking advantage of them or making them ‘’Characters’’ in our own personal life drama without their permission.
If only you can ignore the very stern and unfriendly look and mannerism of the teacher in the Math class, love him regardless, you just might begin to love and excel at his course and get the marks needed to give your overall grade the leap required to graduate.
If only you can overlook the erratic and insensitive attitude of your choleric boss, take up his overbearing excesses as a Personal Development Spur, you just might learn new ways to be resilient in the face of tough challenges when running your own company
You just might find out about the emotional and psychological challenges being faced by your laid back child and discover ways to help him overcome them if you are patient with him, show him some quality love and not talk him down
Imagine that those who surround you, family friends, colleagues and acquaintances acknowledge to your face how kind you are and how privileged they are to know you and be a part of your life, imagine that they do not want to wait till they see you no more before sharing with others how special you are. It is not so difficult to achieve if we love and live right with ourselves and with others.

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