The field of public relations centers around this idea of “authentic relationships”. And while I do believe this is an effective professional endeavor for long-term success, I believe even more so that this is an essential aspect of a healthy personal life.
Out of all the “unexpected” that Covid-19 has brought into our lives, what I am most thankful for is the opportunity it gave me to work on the relationships I have with the people I hold dear. In fact, my friend and I did a bible study called Awesome Relationships, and here I have listed three lessons I really took to heart and put into practice during this pandemic. I hope they can be useful to you as well :)
1. Attitude of Gratitude
The mindsets we have about others is a CHOICE. Typically, it is much easier to get stuck focusing on negative things- so much so that it blinds our ability to see areas of growth. I have made it my goal to spend more time acknowledging what I appreciate about others as opposed to what I can mentally criticize or complain about. If you want to see positive change, focus on the positives first. It can all start with YOU.
2. Friends Help Friends Grow
The older I get, the more I realize the difference between people who encourage self-improvement and people who are comfortable staying the same. Especially as graduation and the “real-world” get closer, I want to make sure I spend my time surrounded by those who are motivated not only to succeed, but to make a positive impact while doing it. Thus, I have re-evaluated many relationships to be certain I make intentional investments of time in those that are mutually beneficial.
3. Love By Listening and Through Humility
Most of us have probably heard that there is a difference between “hearing” what an individual says and actually “listening” to what that person means by it. So often, we react before we reflect. We jump to conclusions before we fully understand the perspective of another individual because we have preconceived notions about the situation. By showing humility, we can recognize that there is always more to learn- we can empathize better because we choose to see through more than our own eyes. I have learned that being patient in conversation and actively listening have allowed my relationships to become so much deeper than when I simply waited for my turn to speak.
Despite all of these tips, the most important discovery I made throughout this whole self-reflection endeavor is that the relationship we have with ourselves will directly impact the relationships we have with others. To have truly authentic relationships, we must first lose the fear we have of being ourselves. Quarantine has reminded me that we should never take for granted the time we have with others, whether that is physically in-person or virtually over FaceTime. I am making the most of my relationships by choosing NOW to make those calls, send those letters, and give all I can to make sure the connections I value most will last.