Do I even need to say it? Relationships are important! They make life fun, enjoyable, fulfilling, and worth living. They can lift us up or tear us down. They can turn a meaningless day into a meaningful one.
But, are all relationships created equal? No, of course, they are not. Today, I would like to discuss the value of a ‘right’ relationship… the kind that can make a positive difference in our lives… the kind that can help us be successful… the kind that can keep us on the right road.
Dr. Mike Atherton* has identified three key characteristics of ‘right’ relationships that can help us discern the difference between these positive relationships and those that can be destructive. These points can be meaningful as we consider the relationships we have in our own lives:
- Right relationships engage us at the right times of life
Have you ever noticed how those individuals that really matter in your life seem to appear at just the right times? How many times have you had a call or email or visit from someone just when you needed it most? A right relationship seems to have impeccable timing. It won’t be too early or too late. It won’t delay until tomorrow what needs to happen today. A right relationship will always be there when you need it… even if you don’t realize it at the time.
- Right relationships encourage us in the right ways of thinking
Why is it that a right relationship always makes you realize something new or something you had not considered? A right relationship helps mold us to what is right. It doesn’t demand it, but a right relationship slowly and steadily changes the way we think. And, when our way of thinking changes, we become a better person. A right relationship helps us adjust our thinking in the right direction.
- Right relationships exemplify for us the right habits of living
When we want to know how to live, what do we do? In many cases, the answer lies in the people around us. Our model for living right and living well is often someone we might call a right relationship. Someone we know and care about shows us the way. They emulate what we want in life. Thus, we seek to modify how we live as a result.
So, what is a ‘right’ relationship? The best way I can describe one is to examine and consider how a right relationship can change us… how we are different as a result of a right relationship. Let’s look at a few examples that come to mind for me.
Characteristics of a ‘right’ relationship
- You become a better person… you become a better individual than you ever would have been otherwise
- You can be yourself… you don’t have to act like someone that you are not
- You are encouraged… you attain a more positive outlook on whatever circumstance you might face
- You know that you’ll get the truth… your relationship will never be false, deceptive, or dishonest
- You feel a deep sense of trust… you have a shared sense of faithfulness, honesty, and mutual respect
- You know you can laugh… you look forward to times happy times and experiences
- You know you will be held accountable… you will be continuously reminded of the right path
- You are challenged… you can’t always take the easy road because you are challenged to do better or more or do it faster
- You see the right way… by watching a positive role model, you see the right way to live
- You think better… your mind is clearer and you rely more on facts than emotions
- You know someone cares… you always have someone on your side and seeking the very best for you
- You can’t fool them… they know your heart and what really makes you tick
- You feel respected… you are always treated the way you should be treated
In short, a ‘right’ relationship makes you a better person, lifts you up, and challenges you to do more and do it better than you would have without the relationship. Your life is richer and more fulfilled when you have ‘right’ relationships. A ‘right’ relationship will never hurt you intentionally.
A wrong relationship can pull or push you off track. They can, at best, hinder your happiness and growth as a person. At worst, they can wreck your life.
We all need ‘right’ relationships, whether at home, at work, or in the community. We need people in our lives that are completely dedicated to our good. When you find that kind of relationship, cherish it. And, if you have wrong relationships in your life, you might consider what steps you need to take to remedy that as we approach a new year.