Each friend represents a world in us, a world probably not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. ~ Anais Nin
They were not much to look at, but the mini-bikes that we got when we were kids put a lot of excitation in our ordinary country living lives. Do not know why or how we got them; They just appeared to show up one day. I think some guy owed my father some money, andave him the bikes instead.
When we got the bikes, my father fixed them up for us so that we could ride them, but after that, I seem to remember us being on our own whenever they needed attention. We changed and cleaned the oil filters, and kept feeding gas into them, but that was all the maintenance that they got. We did not ever change the oil, because, quite simply, we did not know that we had to.
After a while, it got harder and harder could not get them started. One day, someone discovered that instead of trying to use the kick starter, we could go to the top of the hill and get a push and then pop the clutch to start the engine on the way down. This method did not always work, and sometimes, after pushing the bike up to the top of the hill and then running down pushing it ten or fifteen times, we really did not feel much like riding them anyway.
After a summer of this, we just gave up and left the bikes in the back yard. When they were new and working great we loved them, but when we had to keep them they were not much fun.
Relationships are just like those old mini-bikes. When we first get them, all we think about is how much fun or interesting they are, but if we are not constantly working on improving them and we stop valuing them, they will deceive.
They do not usually die overnight either, it takes lots of neglect, abuse and apathy to make a relationship go south.
Sometimes something as simple as forgetting a birthday can create a rift in a relationship, or sometimes we go all out and open our mouths and blurt out something that should not have been said in the first place, either way, if we just leave them Alone and think that the other person will forgive or forget what happened, we are mistaken.
People have long memories, and often they choose to hold on to these accidents just in case they need to bring them up again at another time to remind us that we messed up.
In my experience, and there has been a lot of it, I have seen that the hardest thing to do to repair a relationship, is to honestly say "I'm sorry". I know that there are many times when I should have said it to a client, or a friend, or my family, but I did not. And because I did not, I felt like a complete fool and was often uncomfortable in their presence after because I knew that I should have said something, but I did not.
It is pretty hard to ignore your conscience, but it is harder still to go against your pride. Do we have to be right all of the time? Even if we are, it's not good to rub people's noses in it.
Here are a few suggestions for dealing with mistakes made in relationships:
- If we have made a mistake, admit it before anyone else has a chance to jump all over it. By admitting your fallibility, you will develop courage in yourself, and respect from others.
- Avoid the temptation to argument. Dale Carnegie said in his best selling book "How to Win Friends and Influence People", the best way to win an argument is to avoid them. Now this does not mean walk away from something that challenges your values, it means stay away from the petty little things that really do not mean much anyway.
- If a relationship that you once treasured looks to have fizzled, ask yourself why first, then ask the other person their feelings as to why, and then listen, really listen to the answer. You may not want to hear what they say, but if you are being sincere with the other person, and if the relationship is important to you both, they will usually tell you why. Be prepared to accept that whatever they say is their own opinion as to what happened, and if necessary, be prepared to take action based on what they suggest. Whether you think it is right or wrong, it is the other person's opinion, and that needs to be valued.
- Be constantly interested in others. Notice little things that mean a lot to the other person.
This week, why not try to do some maintenance on the relationships in our lives? Just because things may be going great is no reason to assume that things will always be great: Make a stand for the people in your life, support them, learn from them, treasure them and take care of them, and when you do, you Will be living a life full of opportunity and success.
Make this your best week ever.