Why Relationships Are Important as a Raging Sloth?
One of the greatest challenges when living with a limitation is maintaining relationships. When an unwanted challenge or limitation is placed upon you, the realization of the circumstances can make you focus inward. During these inward facing times you will tend to push relationships further away. The reasons are many; not enough time, not enough energy, afraid you are not enjoyable to talk to, and any of a number of reasons to justify not getting together.
But the problem is we need relationships. When we are suffering we need them even more. They are not something we can push aside during trying times, but we must diligently pursue with what little energy we can muster. In order to accomplish this task there are 5 different ways we can maintain our own relationships when a limitation turns our life upside-down.
1) Be Intentional
Relationships will not simply happen. In the beginning it may be easy, but to maintain them takes work and you will need to be intentional with them in order to keep them moving forward. You can accomplish this step by doing a quick evaluation of your relationships and putting them into categories. There are three basic places we have room for relationships; close, casual, and ceasing.
You know those people who build you up, give you life, and can push you further. These are the relationships you want to cultivate and be very intentional about. Be purposeful in getting together with them, growing the relationship, and making it beneficial to both of you. The second group are the casual relationships. This group consists of people you enjoy, they may be long time friends, but not a place where you can exert much energy. Put these on the back burner. Check-in every once in a while through email, Facebook, or even a coffee. But since your limitation does not allow for an overload of energy make sure you are not investing too much of your energy with this group.
The last group involves the people you need to cease meeting with and break ties. You have people in your lives which suck the energy out of you. Do not be afraid to sever ties with this group. You may not have to break ties in an official capacity, but if you have people in your life who only take, then you need to stop being around them. You do not have the energy to deal with these people and they are doing nothing to move you forward in the pursuit of your life or goals. Evaluate this group carefully and take the necessary steps to ensure you are focusing your attention and energy in the relationships which are meaningful and useful in your life.
2) Give Permission
Once you have defined your close relationships then do not be afraid to give them permission. What this means is you need to be honest with them about your circumstances. This is not a gripe session, even your closest friends can only take so much complaining. This is letting them know what your circumstances look like, how your limitation affects you, and your struggles.
Once you have laid this out them give them permission. Give them permission to speak into your life, tell you stop complaining, keep you focused on your goals, and have them reach out to you. When you are living with a limitation you need as many people in your corner to fight with you as possible. Most close friends want to fight with you and for you, but do not understand how to help. Lay it out for them in a very clear fashion so they understand how they can not only help you, but speak into your life where you need it the most. Sometimes all you need is a good butt kicking to keep moving forward. Do not be afraid to ask!
3) Be A Friend
If you are going to maintain relationships, then you can not just take, you need to give and be friend. This may be the most difficult part for you, which is why you need to be intentional and make sure you plan this part into your life. If you want to keep your close relationships going then you need to figure out how to be a friend to that individual. What do they like to do? How can you say thanks every now and then? What is their sweet spot you can speak truth into?
The best way to manage this piece is to plan. Now that may sound a little stale for a relationship, but when you are living with a limitation you need to make sure you are making room for the important things in life. You may also never know how you are going to feel when you wake up. But if you have something on the calendar you are more likely to complete that task than brush it aside because you do not feel well. Put on your calendar when you can reach out to them. When you can say a nice word, schedule coffee where you just talk about stuff other than your issues. Give them little gifts to say thanks. You would never want a friendship that was one sided, so why would anyone else. Be a friend in order to maintain those relationships you need the most.
4) Be Realistic
In order to maintain your relationships properly you need to be realistic. You need to be realistic about your limitations, how it effects you, and how you can best be a friend. If your limitation limits you physically then trying to keep a close friend who is an adrenaline junkie, could be difficult at best. But it can work if you are honest and realistic about what you can do and what a friendship looks like to you.
Be honest with your friends and layout what life looks like for you. Then lay out what a friendship would look like and how you will function best in that situation. Once you know how your limitation affects your life, then you know what you can and cannot do. Let that knowledge guide your understanding of how you will function with others. If you overcommit to any relationship it will leave you exhausted and frustrated. This is not what you need in your life, but is what will happen if you are not realistic.
The last great way to maintain relationships is to serve others. This may be serving your friends or taking yourself to a place to serve those in need. Serving at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or food pantry. What this act does it gives you perspective on your life and relationships.
When you suffer from a limitation it is easy to be selfish. To always think about your problems and how bad life is for you. By serving others in any capacity it immediately takes the focus off yourself. You may even realize your limitation is not so severe when looking at others lives who face misfortune. This may even be an activity you do with your close friends to continue the process of strengthening your time together.
The last thing you need to do during this time is turn your back on relationships. If you have a limitation or challenge placed upon you, then make sure you are taking the time to build and strengthen the relationships around you. This may be your greatest use of energy in your life.
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