The 10 Most Important Things We Can Do for the People We Love
People. Life is all about people. We don’t have to have a ton of relationships, but we all need people in our lives who get us. Who’ve seen our freak flag countless times and love when it comes out. People who tag us on memes that capture our spirit, or Tasty videos they know we’d drool over. People who text us with random pictures of bumper stickers or book covers or bath mats or beard accessories with a note that reads “Saw this and thought of you.”
We all need these kind of close connections to feel a sense of security and belonging in the world.
We need people who think of us, look out for us, accept us, bring out the best in us, and challenge us to be the best us we can possibly be. And we need to be that person for them.
It could be the family you were born into, the one that you chose, or the one that chose you after plowing down the big wall you erected to keep yourself safe.
Whoever makes up your tribe, and regardless of its size, these are the kinds of relationships that make everything else seem manageable.
Whether you’re having a hard day or a hard month or a hard year, a call or a hug from the right person can remind you that life really is worth living. And when things are going well, it’s all the more enjoyable for having people you love to share it with.
Most of us would agree that our relationships are the most important thing. That a layoff or lost opportunity can be tolerated so long as the people we love are healthy and safe.
And yet it’s all too easy to lose sight of the big picture when we’re knee-deep in the struggles of our daily lives. It’s easy to deprioritize the little things that keep relationships strong when we’re worried about our debt and our deadlines.
It’s human nature—our negativity bias: we’re more sensitive to what’s going wrong than what’s going right. It’s how we’re wired, a means to keep ourselves safe.
But life is about more than just being safe. Or at least I want it to be. I want to focus more on what I love than what I fear. I want to be proactive, not just reactive. I want to wake up every day and be the good that happens to someone else instead of just playing defense to prevent bad from happening to me.
So this year, instead of focusing mostly on everything I want to gain or achieve, I plan to live each day with the following intentions in mind.
I intend to…
1. Be present.
I will put down my phone and focus fully on the person in front of me. My texts and emails will be there later. The person in front of me won’t.
2. Listen deeply.
Instead of plotting what I’m going to say next, or collecting mental buckets of sage advice I can’t wait to dole out, I will listen completely, with the primary goals of understanding and being there.