Sometime in December (or a little earlier if we’re really efficient), in my household, we send out holiday greeting cards and Christmas letters to many of our friends and family members. Some of these folks we don’t get to see, touch or talk to all year long. That’s one of the reasons why we prioritize it every year even though it turns into a major project and does come at some expense for cards or letters, postage, and printing. We care about the people we love and we say to ourselves, “Even if this is the only time all year that we are in touch, we’ll be sure that this contact with our loved one is meaningful.” We feel like it’s the least we can do to make up for the fact that daily living often precludes the kind of contact we would like to have.
Actually, I can’t think of a better time to reach out and touch people. This is the time of year when most of us seek opportunities to connect with other people who bring joy to our lives. It’s also the time of year when some of us start thinking about those annual “New Year’s Resolutions.” It’s as good a time as any to strengthen our connections with people who are special to us.
We don’t have to wait for a holiday motivation, though. At any time we choose, we can take advantage of ways to reaffirm our commitment to relationships. We have husbands, and wives, and boyfriends, and girlfriends, and children, and grandchildren, and siblings, and parents, and grandparents, and cousins, and nieces, and nephews, and even great-relatives more than two generations removed from us. On top of that there are usually hosts of friends, acquaintances, associates, co-workers, clients, servers, and even relative strangers that impact our lives in significant ways. Are we as committed to these relationships as we can be? Are we as committed to these relationships as we would like to be? Are we as committed to these relationships as we should be? Is our commitment reflected in what we do, what we say, what we think, and what we feel?
We are the ones who are best qualified to answer these questions for ourselves. In fact, no one else IS qualified — not even the people with whom we have relationships. They will certainly have their perspectives on our level of commitment to them; but even if they have an opinion about whether we’re as committed as we can be or should be, only we can know for sure. And even if they are able to relate to how our commitment is reflected in our actions, only we can know how it relates to our thoughts and feelings and motivations.
One thing is certain, we cannot keep relationships alive without feeding them regularly; and making them thrive is (in the same way) practically out of the question. And though it is a well-worn cliché, we must also know that relationships are a two-way street: people who are in them must give . . . and receive to keep them thriving. And what better time to talk about giving and receiving than now.
No matter what season it is, let’s give and receive more love, more kindness, more caring, more consideration, more help, more offerings of peace, more leeway, more beauty, more of ourselves. And let’s be certain to give more and more thought to how we can continually improve all the relationships we have. It is an often unspoken but never unbroken “Law of the Universe” that what we give of ourselves comes back to us. We must continue to learn how this law manifests in our lives, because it is certain that it does. If we want to receive more from our relationships we must give more to them. Please . . . let’s do that.