Food for Thought #7 – Restored Relationships

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In “how to survive the coronavirus quarantine”, I wrote about not letting this time at home go to waste. I talked about the importance of focusing on ourselves, spending our time well, and improving our mental health. I also shared the value of investing in our relationships during this time as well:

“…Now is a good time to invest in the intangible. Invest into your relationships. Being willing to engage with one another allows us to keep our humanity and our sanity.”

It’s so important that we nurture our relationships in this season because the rewards of doing so will be invaluable. I believe one of the things God is doing in this season, is restoring relationships. Over the last two weeks I’ve heard stories about and have experienced firsthand the restoration of broken relationships.

For me, I recently developed a close relationship with an uncle that I was estranged from for years. I’ve also seen a significant improvement in other important relationships in my life. I believe that there is more in store for anyone who is willing to lean in and develop old or broken relationships in this season; and I wanted to briefly share some ways on how to do so.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness can be a post all on its own, but in essence, forgiveness is when we free ourselves from the entanglement of another person. Do not forgive because you want the other person to feel some type of way for what they may or may not have done; forgive for yourself.

There is so much freedom in saying, I forgive that person regardless of whether or not they know it. In the context of restored relationships, before something can be fixed, we have to be willing to acknowledge that it is broken. That’s what forgiveness does, it gets us over the hump of unwillingness to accept what was done to us.

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    Be Willing to say Something First

    Sometimes in an estranged or awkward relationship it can be hard to be the first to start the conversation. Both sides may feel this way, that’s why there is value in being the first to rip the band aid off and engage the other person. Not enough credit is given to someone who is able to be a bigger person in a situation.

    It can sometimes take a lot to overcome one’s own short comings and be able to come to the table first. Its also a lot easier to avoid a negative situation than to deal with it. One thing that wounds need to heal is air, and I would encourage some of us, to allow the air of effective communication to blow on our wounds and watch as they begin to heal better.

    Admit if you Were Wrong/ Bias

    There is always three sides in any situation. Your side, their side, and the truth. When working towards restoring relationships it is vital to be willing to admit wrongness. It’s always easier to place blame on others as opposed to taking it on ourselves. Think back to the thing that may have caused the falling out, were you 100% blameless? Of course not.

    We have to be able to look at things objectively and identify what we would have liked to see from the other person, but more importantly, what allowances we did not give that person. How detrimental was it, that so and so forgot to do what they said they would, or they broke their promise on something?

    One of the caveats of being human is being unreliable. Our challenge that we have every day, is to be willing to accept the people we are given, flaws and all. There are always exceptions to this, but the idea is to put ourselves in that other person’s shoes.

    Now is such an amazing time to lean into what is happening. While we are social distancing there is still a chance to get closer to the people in our lives than we ever were before. Being able to forgive, and communicate effectively, will allow for peace to begin to enter in those difficult situations. Even if the other party involved is not willing to take the necessary steps towards progress, the least we can do for ourselves is give ourselves the okay to move on.  

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