Most people probably don’t think of relationships as a system; so I will hopefully explain here,why that’s a big mistake. A system is small, seemingly unconnected things, connecting to make the big picture, or the whole. The systems within relationships is no different than a business system or an eco-system.
Understanding the relationship system starts with realizing that every thing you think, say, and do effects hundreds and even thousands of other people. For example, if you cancel a meeting with somebody you have just affected the people with whom you had the meeting with, their family, a babysitter and her family, another person who that person could have been helping, and the multitude of people who feel the ripple effect from there. I would encourage you to seriously think of the ramifications that your words and actions have on the lives of the people around you.
I feel the most important area of relationship systems is: Respecting others’ time. This seems to be an area where people unintentionally, but significantly damage relationships. There are many ways that this happens, from constantly being late to appointments/meetings to over talking to addressing things totally unrelated to the reason for getting together, and the list goes on.
The best way to start respecting others’ time is to start respecting your time. Start living intentionally, schedule your day, week, and month. Once you start to understand how valuable your time is, it will become much easier to value the time of others. Once you’re on the receiving end of time thieves, you’ll think twice before taking someone else’s time for granted.
Another relationship system that many people don’t pay attention to is their words. Words have a long and lasting impact. If your words are constantly negative, sarcastic, or hurtful, you are force for evil in the world. The destructive ripple effect you are creating in your life is shameful. Just think, you could personally be responsible for dozens of instances of domestic violence every week by your thoughtless, hurtful words to somebody that you aren’t even really paying attention to. Hurting people hurt people.
By contrast, one of the best ways to be a force for good in the world is by being positive, encouraging, and uplifting. Mark Twain once said, ” I can live an entire year on one compliment.” You will never know where the impact of a positive, encouraging word to someone will end. If you don’t believe this, I challenge you to try it for one week. Resolve to have a positive attitude, to sincerely compliment as many people you can each day, and encourage someone who is struggling with an obstacle in their life. If you try this for just one week, I guarantee you will see the impact your words are having on the people in your life.
Understand that what you do affects the lives of many, many people. Make the decision today to recognize the relationship systems in your life, and choose to be a force for good.