2023 beckons, expand your relationship horizons
Laina Makuzha Love by Design
If you been reading my articles in the past couple of months, you probably know by now, how I’m all about love. Love by design, that is to say, by choice.
Love really is a choice we can make. And love has many faces, many aspects to it. During my radio days, whenever I was on a late night show, I always dedicated an hour of my 3 hour shift to addressing relationships, passionate about promoting healthier relationships, helping people find love, and mending relationship disasters — all for a happier individual, family and community or nation at large. Charity does begin at home indeed:
I believe like many relationship coaches that love is the soul of life, the very heart that keeps us beating. However, this week I want to address something that can help someone out there who probably feels left out when we speak just about romantic relationships.
Like I always say, it is still okay if one is not into all that. While romantic love relationships have been the focus of this column, I also hope to show that romance is not the ONLY aspect of a satisfying life. So many other things come into play and can help balance your life.
As the year 2022 glides to a powerful end, purpose in your heart to do more in the coming year, to do better. It can be in the seemingly small things, or in the pursuit of your innermost dreams and desires, that one’s life can be more fulfilling.
I’m in the process of pursuing those things that I find gratifying — and helping others find love and strengthen their romantic relationships and their families — is a big part of it.
And expressing or pursuing one’s passion is not without its drama however, yet it’s worth every effort.
Take this for example: I was chatting to an individual who neglected his parenting duties for two decades, who was feeling quite proud and satisfied with himself that once a year he remembers to send a one-liner birthday message to each of his grown kids.
He felt the children should appreciate this effort but I stressed he could do better. He felt it was too late, that he didn’t have anything to offer as they were grown and was adamant that he didn’t owe them any explanation nor apology because “it is what it is..”.
He was downright arrogant. And I feel, this sort of attitude from one individual, is what gives men an unfair bad name, an unfortunate stereotyping. I pointed out areas where I felt he could improve and showed him a pattern that I could see in his modus operandi in family relationships, particularly with his own father, and that he was repeating this cycle with his own children.
I told him the buck had to stop somewhere. I was hoping as we discussed, he could see how perhaps without intention, he was not allowing love to flow between him and his children.
But he was livid. Refusing to acknowledge it nor hear it. He had excuses that sounded lame at best.
“Is that the best you can do?”, I charged. “Shame on you. Do better”, is what I ended up offering. To me that was the bottom line.
Needless to say this conversation went south. He threw the mother of all tantrums! I had intended for the discussion to go really well. In my mind I was going to literally “make him see” the blind spots. Now, here’s the thing about me, if you ask me for my thoughts on relationship matters, you best be prepared to hear those thoughts — you’ll have to contend with what you asked for, because I call like I see it, without being judgemental.
But what’s your view on my approach with this particular individual? Was I judgemental? You can be utterly honest with me, it’s how we all improve I reckon.
Perhaps my timing for engaging in this discussion was off? It was Christmas day people!
While we are at it though, if you are a parent who has not been available for your children or not doing anything in the raising of your children or child for whatever reason, no judgement from me I promise.
I’m just saying, it’s better late than never. Do something to build a relationship with your children or child, if yours is a young child, then you also need a cordial approach to the family or guardians who’ve been raising your offspring, they deserve your appreciation if nothing else.
Express your gratitude and go on to open a discussion on how you can begin to have access, to communicate with your child/children.
Don’t manipulate other people into doing it for you, or emotionally blackmail relatives to do it, or be satisfied with having someone else raising your child for you entirely, while you enjoy life elsewhere.
How about you make 2023 the year that you turn this narrative around and do better? Just do your part — whatever is it you can do, do it.
I digress! My article is really about expanding your relationships beyond your romantic partner, to delve into contributing to the wellbeing of your community. I guess I couldn’t resist touching on family, that’s how I ended up digressing if I can call it that — after all charity does begin at home, right?
There are ways you can plug in and contribute to your community without swamping yourself beyond what you can manage and without burning out. Being connected to different circles of friends for instance, can bring more happiness to your life than focusing exclusively on your romantic partner.
Infact it can help you avoid being obsessed with your romantic partner, “crowding” them or being too “clingy”.
Spend some of your energy and time elsewhere, doing good, putting a smile on someone else’s face. By so doing, you are in the service of our Heavenly Father, who wants us to be instruments in His hands, for His use and His glory.
Interestingly, studies show that people who participate in their community are the happiest of all. There’s just something about giving to others, be it our time, substance, friendships and making a difference, that is so gratifying and healthy to the soul.
People who make time for this are said to be even emotionally and physically healthier than those who are content with sticking exclusively with a “romantic” relationship and exhausting all their time and love there. Happiness really is found in something bigger than yourself. Being part of multiple healthy (constructive) social groups brings meaning and joy to our lives.
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These groups connect you to different circles of friends. There are groups such as church youth group, men’s group, women’s ministry, former high school groups, former primary school groups, humanitarian or charity groups, work groups, prayer groups, groups of your profession, family groups and so on.
Whichever groups you may find yourself in, make the most of them. Some of these groups give your life a broader purpose, surprisingly.
Of course it’s good to also choose wisely what groups to be in, as some are utterly noisy vessels but empty of substance. Those, you graciously exit. But still, break out of your four walls, even if you are yet to find love and your own happy ending. Start somewhere.
Don’t hide or shy away from living. Branch out into your community. Expand your friendships and bring more happiness into your life.
You can always sift through and discard all the chaff, to leave only those that enrich your experience. Are there areas where you see you can plug in, participate in doing good for the community?
Is there someone doing good that you can emulate, or are you that person making a difference? What practical things could you do in your community to make it better, more pleasant? What relationships can you build or improve on, as we anticipate the new year?
If you are yet to find love, yours could be out there looking for you. And if that’s the case, may it locate you in the New Year. My prayer for you is that you may prosper in all things and be in good health even as your soul prospers in 2023 and beyond. Also see 3 John 1v2.
My parting shot this week is: Love someone, love your environment enough to make a difference, love the children enough to care for them, love your community enough to do something: You can be part of making sure someone has a meal, clean water, shelter, happy interactions, facilitate a child’s access to education — there are plenty of options.
By God’s grace,2023, here we come. . .
Let’s keep the conversation going on other platforms. Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.
WhatsApp: 0719102572 Email: [email protected]/Twitter:@LediSoul/Instagram@djledisoul