Make Time For Those Who Matter Most

The holidays can be such a difficult time for some families. All crowded in the same house. Forcing civility. Trying each other’s patience. Accommodating. Pleasing. Or trying to please with the same childhood insecurities and failures rearing their ugly heads.

Here is a post I wrote a while ago. A little Jane’s wisdom. I am a work in progress. And so are you. Hug yourself and let go.

I’ve made a conscious decision in my adult life to focus on people who reciprocate. I don’t mean in a tit-for-tat kind of way. I don’t keep score. I have some friends from far away that make an effort to visit and some that don’t. With some friends, we need to talk a few times a week and with others we can pick up where we left off after months of no contact. I suppose my criteria is different depending on the relationship. But for the most part,  it has to feel like we’re both making an effort to nurture the relationship.

A very wise man once gave me the following visual about marriage. He said that there are times when a marriage is like this – and he made a fist with one hand and covered it with the other. And then there are other times when a marriage is like this – and he reversed his hands. But for most of the journey a marriage should be like this:

hands

He interlaced his fingers, joining them together.

That visual made such an impression on me. I was in a relationship at the time that was so lop-sided. I was co-dependently orchestrating our journey. I left that relationship – thank goodness. I’ve applied this visual to other parts of my life, both with family and friends.

I recognize that we need to carry the other person sometimes. We all have struggles in our lives where we need others to pick up the slack. And sometimes, we’re the one who needs to be carried. Being able to lean on your friends and family from time to time is essential. But for most of the time, for most of our journey, we need to be working together to nurture and care for each other.

Journeys shared are the journeys worth taking. I surround myself with people who nurture me and allow themselves to be nurtured by me. People that listen with their heart. Act with compassion and kindness. See with loving eyes.

These are the people who I make time for.

These are the people who matter most.

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12 Comments

Filed under family, friends

12 responses to “Make Time For Those Who Matter Most

  1. I love the “marriage visual”…thank you so much for reposting this, Jane! I’m putting the link on Facebook as we speak!

    Wendy

  2. That’s a cool visual. I like this part: “People that listen with their heart.”

  3. Jane, you don’t know how much I needed this post. I am going through a difficult time with a life long friend and I needed a “sign” to direct me to a more nurturing pathway. Your advice is right on. And I thank for you for it.

  4. Wonderful visual.
    I don’t have as much give as I use to and frankly I am a little less sympathetic to whining–If I am going to listen, and suggest, and be there for my friend–the next step is for them to make an effort to feel better; at least over time The “nurturing and allowing to be nurtured” is a wonderful way of writing it….and it works both ways- when I let people help me feel better strangely enough I do feel better and 0f-course they feel pretty good to0! The relationship is reciprocal. The other day, my helper arrived with two Starbucks. It did not change my world, but it did rock it and when she saw how appreciative I was–I think it rocked her world a little too.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Very wise words. I think everyone struggles with this at some point — am I being a doormat? am I being selfish to expect more give and less take? does this relationship just take more than I can give right now? It’s important to have balance, if not equality.

  6. I agree and the key is that balance you talk about … it is great to feel needed and appreciated by the people in your life you love and care for, however, you also must be able to depend on them to be there for you and care for you. The thought of both working together warms my heart (I am having a few struggles with this these days). The symbolism of the interlaced fingers … getting through life together is great.
    Thanks for reposting some very wise words.
    Happy New Year!

  7. I agree with you completely. Being in a non-reciprocal relationship isn’t only unfair, it’s also frustrating and draining. Someone usually ends up getting hurt, too.

  8. unabridgedgirl

    I feel the same way, Jane. It’s hard to be in a relationship (of any kind) when you feel like you’re the one making all the effort. Beautifully written. Well said!

  9. I absolutely agree with you. I’m not keeping score but if it becomes apparent that things are forever one-sided then I’ll walk away.

    Happy New Year to you! :)

  10. What a fantastic post and visual. I memorized the visual so I could pass it on even before I decided to post.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year!

  11. Let’s be honest, blogging is a little bit like this too. If I constantly support another blog by reading it and commenting, but the other person doesn’t do the same back, I tend to lose interest. I make time for people that make time for me. It doesn’t have to be , as you said tit-for-tat, but it’s hard to support someone else all the time and get no support back. We all need a bit of TLC.

  12. secretlifeofjane

    Bravo. So true.

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