Authentic Relationships

I’ve always had a mouth.  That’s what my mother used to say.  Then she started saying it without saying it, by looking and rolling her eyes when I said something I shouldn’t have.  I could see her shaking her when I “mouthed off” or when I “cut somebody without them knowing” or when I told somebody that something they just said made no sense.  I started saying these things as a child.  The behavior stuck.  I still tell people things like that, though I’ve developed more tact and grace.

Even though I’ve always had a mouth, it’s never been easy for me to be transparent.  I’m one of those people who appreciates mystery.  I love the fact that I don’t know everything about a person, a friend, or a relative.  It keeps me interested and engaged.  When I think I know what somebody’s going to say, when I start to anticipate a person correctly, I lose interest.

And yet there’s this quality to my strongest relationships.  Something stemming from familiarity.  I’ll read something or hear something and think of a friend.  I’ll think of my wife.  A memory will spring to mind after a comment on the radio.  A song will make me remember a person and something they did that I needed to rehearse in order to keep remembering.  I’ll want to share that I heard someone refer to Queen Elizabeth as a “thug and a gangsta,” and I’ll know who exactly to text the quote to.

I’ll know how those folks will react, and rather than disengaging, I’ll call or email them specifically for those reactions.  They do it to me, too.  I’ll get a text after somebody’s seen something funny and it’ll be a quick description which leaves me laughing or, at least, smiling.

Those friendships come to mind because of something I read the other day.  In a on creating authentic relationships, Cherese Jackson talks about what is easily taken for granted when you have good people around you–the need for good relationships.  Here are a couple great lines from the article, things you probably know already but should remember:

We do not exist in life without relationships.

Your relationships drive your life.

You can know a lot of people, but if the dynamic of the relationships aren’t adequate, they don’t bring any distinct value in your life.

Our concern, as individuals, is primarily with ourselves, but this can change. If authentic relationships are important to us we can practice being authentic.

Maybe her thoughts are new.  Maybe not.  But their keepable.  If you’d like to read the full article, click here.

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