Facebook, blogs, Twitter…coffee shop conversations, texts, and random conversations in grocery stores…they have one thing in common this week. Everywhere, people of all backgrounds, looks, and skill sets are recapping their experiences in 2013 and discussing whether they’ll make resolutions for 2014. If they do make resolutions, what will the resolutions be? Or will they skip the resolutions and choose One Word for this new year?
Every year brings its own highs and lows, and many of the memorable moments in 2013, just like any year, have to do with relationships. Some were soaring experiences with lots of emotion and joy, while others were dark experiences filled with regret and despair. One way or the other, most of us are ready for the fresh start that a new year brings. Here’s the thing, though: you can’t keep doing the same things you’ve always done in your relationships and expect a different outcome this year. While you’re thinking about what the year has in store, it’s a good time to be honest about relationship patterns from the past and make choices to pursue healthy relationships in 2014 that will help you become the person you’re meant to be.
Stop Letting Yourself Be Defined by Unhealthy Relationships
We all choose the people that are closest to us. Close friends should respect your values, be willing to do things you like and not just the things they like, and leave enough space for you to build relationships with other people. Same is true for boyfriends and girlfriends: the best and healthiest relationships are with people who already appreciate who we are and are glad to spend time with us doing things we love. As one blogger said, “Healthy relationships will always add more to your life than they take.” Think about who you’re letting into your life and whether you need to make changes this year to spend more time with people who appreciate you and enjoy you just the way you are, with nothing left to prove or earn.
Stop Confusing Sex with Emotional Security
Physical intimacy can seem like the way to “feel close” in a relationship. He (she) MUST care if they’re having sex with you, right? But sex as a stand-alone event or as a plan to rescue a struggling relationship is a bad idea. Every time I’ve talked to a young person about the effect that sex has had on their relationships, the answer is the same: sex made everything more complicated and didn’t fix anything. We all have deep and genuine emotional needs—needs for safety, acceptance, affirmation, love, and respect—that are met in our relationships with other people. Because those emotional needs are as real and urgent as physical needs, we are willing to do almost anything to be sure our needs are being met. Don’t be confused this year into thinking that someone will meet the needs of your heart if they’re willing to have sex with you. Not sure what that means or how to build a healthy relationship built on trust and genuine love? We’d love to talk to you. Healthy relationship coaching is one of the things we do at Selah.
Stop Thinking You Are Worth Less.
You are more. Believe it in 2014.
Relationships can be complicated. They can also be wonderful. They can be our greatest joy and our greatest despair. Mistakes from the past can haunt us, but they don’t need to define us. In this new year, we all have a chance to recognize the mistakes we’ve made before and choose to pursue healthier, wiser, better relationships. Here’s to a new year with fresh beginnings and relationships that build you up! You can even choose one word that you want to define your relationships this year.
If you were to choose a word to summarize your hopes for relationships in 2014, what would it be? Leave us a comment and tell us about it…
(Stay tuned for part two: Relationship Choices You Want to Make in 2014)