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“A friend is a gift you give yourself.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Perhaps you have experienced misplaced loyalty, broken commitments and trampled expectations from those you considered friends, colleagues and spouses.
If you have been hurt in relationships, you may ask: relationships – who needs them? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay out of any serious relationship all together?
And yet, we are social animals and require social interaction to survive. As we learn more about the human brain the research reveals that we are hardwired to connect with each other.
Creating secure bonds is important for our health.
- Socially isolated people are two to three times more likely to die prematurely than those with strong social ties.
- Divorced men before the age of 70 are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and strokes as married men.
- The rate of all types of cancer is about five times higher for divorced men and women.
- Poor communication and the ability to resolve conflicts within our relationships contributes to coronary disease.
When you want your money to grow, you check out investment options. What amount needs to be invested to bring a good return over time?
As I was growing up, I was taught to save 10% of everything I earned. From the berry fields to my first job after high school, there was little left to put into savings after expenses. But it was a principle I took seriously, abided by and was always amazed at how those little deposits added up over time.
When my husband and I got married, we started out barely able to make ends meet and pay the bills. But over the years, we continued with that principle of putting away whatever we could and investing it for later years. It required discipline, self-regulation, sacrifice and commitment. But it was a diligence that more than paid off in dividends.
Investing wisely took a while to learn. Some stocks were too risky, others gave hardly any return; but over a short period of time we learned how to invest wisely and prudently, maximizing our return while minimizing the risks.
Relationships are like investments
“Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”
Just like we use a dollar amount to invest for financial growth, so investing in relationships require a commitment of time and energy. To gain a positive return on our relationships, we need to invest time, energy and dedication.
Early childhood relationships meant playing with anyone who was near. Over time, friendships became more complicated. The kids we hung around with gave us social identity and status and we shared a commonality in our doubts and fears. Our camaraderie made us loyal. When that loyalty was betrayed, we experienced the sting of rejection.
As we entered adulthood, we began to choose more wisely. Our circle of friends gradually extended from party times to who shared the same goals and values as we did. We began to make a different investment in our choice of friends. Over time, we realized that important and valued relationships required commitment, loyalty and sacrifice; being willing to endure those tough times as well as enjoying the good times.
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, then walk alone in the light.”
The friendships where we have invested the most time, energy, love, commitment and loyalty will be those that give us the greatest return, which cannot be measured in monetary means. Some friendships last a lifetime – others go by the wayside – others we drop because those early moments of compatibility were really shallow and had no roots to grow.
What relationships have you invested in?
- How do you choose your friends? What are the most important criteria for you?
- What kind of friend are you? What qualities do you believe make for a dependable and long-term relationship?
- Are there friendships you continue to invest in for the wrong reasons such as status, popularity, inclusion, someone to party with, use as a bargaining chip, etc.?
- Are you able to be yourself in your relationships, feeling the safety to disclose and be genuine and real?
We need each other. Can you find ways to invest in the relationships that mirror your beliefs and values making them the best ever with the greatest return?
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