Have you ever witnessed an unhealthy relationship? Both parties have no respect for each other. They often cast blame on the other person for things they are partially responsible. There is no mutuality, and instead of moving forward side-by-side, they are pushing against each other and going nowhere.
Health in relationships, or lack thereof, is the hinge on which every part of society either progresses or regresses. Think about the success of every invention, business partnership, new product or idea. They depend on healthy relationships, don’t they? As we have seen and witnessed, relationships can either enable or disable political, scientific, and artistic progress.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the degree of intimacy and connectedness of a relationship is what determines its impact on those involved. Simply and more obviously put, the closer you are to someone the more you will affect him or her. That’s why romantic relationships have the potential to bring us so much fulfilment and satisfaction, and at the same time, so much heartache and pain.
When bad break-ups happen, typically bad relationships are to blame. But is that accurate? If we were able to read between the lines of the various relationship epitaphs that are announced daily – from “irreconcilable differences” to “consciously uncoupling” – we would find, more often than not, that the health deficit of the individual is what really killed the relationship. Unhealthy people, who are oblivious to their state, get together. The unhealthy habit, belief, or feeling finds another set of eyes. Eyes that are unaccustomed to it. And so the attrition begins.
A healthy individual, then, is the first requirement for a healthy relationship. You can’t demand of a relationship what you won’t contribute to it. So, today I want to encourage you to let go of three things. If you do, it will dramatically improve your relationships:
Of the many feelings that can affect relationships, anger ranks pretty high. A 2015 NBC News survey reveals that 68% of Americans get angry at least once a day. Anger itself can bring such a high, we can grow accustomed to its thrill. We can get angry about politics, we can get angry about our jobs, we can get angry with strangers driving near and around us. We like to think we only channel it toward the bad, and we justify it in our minds as a gateway to justice. But harbored anger will eventually affect those we never meant to harm. Growing resentment from harbored anger will increasingly affect our judgment. Anger can cause you to build walls and isolate from those around you. Outbursts of anger can leave lasting damage on all those affected.
If you have an anger problem, there is no better time to let go than today. Those closest to you are bearing a load they were never meant to bear. To let go of anger, exercise forgiveness. Decide to forgive daily, and to forgive quickly.
Contrary to what you might think, shame is not a feeling, shame is a belief system. Dr. Sandra Wilson writes on Hurt People Hurt People that, “shame is a deep soul-belief that there is something wrong with you that is not wrong with anyone else.” When you carry shame, you have a distorted view of your identity – you cannot properly assess your capacities and abilities. Shame limits. Shame confines. Shame is a like broken mirror, you can’t see yourself whole, all you see is the broken reflection of yourself.
If something happened to you; if you were told things you eventually believed about yourself, and because of it you are bound by shame, it is time to be free. It’s time to restore your identity. You are not a mistake, you are not a loser, you are not unworthy. You are a child of God. You have talents, capacity, ability, and potential. Expose the lies. Tell God, in prayer, what you have wrongly believed about yourself, and begin embracing your true identity – a victor! Not a victim.
Perhaps the most encouraged and permissible craving that can be deeply detrimental to us today, is greed. Greed can mask as drive for success, but there is a tell, greed is always selfish. Greed is a craving, and can never be fully satisfied. It will enslave you to its desires, and it will make you dishonor those you love. Greed puts its lusts first, and your loved ones last. It corrupts character, and destroys integrity. Greed promotes no values other than placing undue value on what it wants. Greed is compulsive and obsessive.
If you battle with greed, it is time to starve it. Let me make this clear: Greed doesn’t make you rich. The grace of God, coupled with hard work and well-seized opportunities do. On the contrary, greed consumes what you earn. Yes, you beat greed by starving it, but you don’t starve greed with lack, you starve it with generosity. Generosity is putting others first. Generosity is giving. And generosity comes with a promise found in Scriptures: “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 nlt
These are not the only things that make a healthy mind and soul. But, if you practice forgiveness, if you believe in your heart you are God’s child, and live like so, and if you give generously, you will sense health within, and everyone of your relationships will benefit from it. Especially those closest to you.
It’s time to go to the next level. Let’s do this!