Relationship Matters

February is Heart Month. Heart month is about the relationship that we have with ourselves, and with our most vital organ, our heart. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, we do things that can abuse our heart, such as not eating well and being a couch potato. We must have a healthy relationship with ourselves to make decisions that protect our heart. Our relationship with ourself is primary to our other relationships.

Next week is Valentine’s Day, a day set aside each February that celebrates romantic love. Some espouse that Hallmark created Valentine’s Day, and that it is a day that benefits florists, candy makers, and Hallmark more than anyone else! Christmas and New Year’s have barely ended before the stores are decorated for Valentine’s Day and are full of trinkets to give our loved ones. More about romantic love next week.

Valentine’s Day has been expanded in recent years to include showing affection for relatives and friends. It is unfortunate that we need a day each year that encourages us to show others how much we care about them. But the reality is that many of us are so busy that we often fail to pay attention to those who mean the most to us. There is nothing wrong with joining the throngs of others who get caught up in the Valentine’s Day celebration and focusing on the importance of our relationships. Not in a manner that is created by florists and others who benefit from what can be an artificial recognition of this celebration. But by careful acknowledgment of the importance of our relationships with others.

What is the most important way that we can show our affection for others? By giving of our time. Not by just our physical presence, but by giving our attention to those we love. It does no good to be in the same room with our children if we are all on our devices. Or worse yet, at the dinner table. We should really monitor the behavior we are showing others when we spend more time on our devices than we do truly connecting with those we say we care the most about. Or taking photos and missing the moments.

Those who are fortunate enough to have parents still living have an opportunity to spend quality time with them, regardless of the miles that may separate them. Regular phone calls are an important way to keep in touch, as are physical visits. If we do not make time for our parents while they are alive, we will have regrets when they are gone. I speak from experience on this one. How I wish I could see my mother waving at me from her window one more time.

Letters and cards are an inexpensive way to visit with those we love. I realize that handwriting is a dying art, but it is so important to take the time to put pen to paper and let those we love know that we are thinking about them. Not just by sending a card for a special event but by sending a card or note just because you are thinking of them. I was struck by the smaller number of Christmas cards that we received this year. I so enjoy receiving cards with handwritten notes from some we rarely see throughout the year. There were fewer of those this past Christmas. I sent a few notes, but not the number that I normally send. Has COVID dealt a death blow to this as well as so many other things? If anything, COVID should have given us more time at home, not less; time that can be spent writing notes and sending cards. 

Friends are an important relationship that needs to be nurtured to thrive or to even survive. It is so easy to get caught up in family priorities and to neglect our friends. We will never find the time to stay connected to others, we must make the time. We need to prioritize our friend relationships, or we may find that they are no longer present.

Can you think of a time when someone, a friend or even an acquaintance, reached out and did something special for you? I am not referring to a tangible gift, although that may have occurred. It can be as simple as a “thinking of you” card or call. The example that comes immediately to mind for me happened in 1983. I had been divorced for several years and was not dating anyone. You know how Valentine’s Day can be when you are not romantically involved; lonely. A co-worker of mine gave me a Valentine’s card with the sentiment that she was thinking of me, and that she knew that I would find love again. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, and to this day I can feel how special that was. Thank you, Jeri. I will always remember that. That gesture required Jeri to get outside of herself, to think of me, and to not just think of me, but to show me support in a very tangible way.

Some readers spend time on Facebook, “connecting” with “friends.” I enjoy Facebook for what it is, but it isn’t really “connection” in the most meaningful way, and some of my “friends” are really acquaintances. The time some spend on Facebook could be spent reaching out and truly connecting with friends in a meaningful manner.

What about texting? Is communication by texting a meaningful connection? I suppose it can be, to a point. But texting is a form of written communication, and usually quick, best used for passing information back and forth, which is different than connection. A phone call will always be more connection than a text. While texting does have some benefits, such as it does not have to be an interruption in someone’s day. One can read the text and respond when it is convenient, which can be later than when it was received. (How much later is appropriate is a subject for another blog post.)

If relationships are important to us, we make time for them. Use this Valentine’s Day to show those who you care about how important they are to you. And not just your romantic partner.

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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2 Responses to Relationship Matters

  1. Sarah Friedman says:

    Patti, I just finished reading Relationships Matter. What a thought provoking read. Thank you so much for sharing. i definitely agree and at times guilty.
    Will definitely work at following your advise.
    Please do not STOP publishing It’s In the Sauce.
    Sarah Friedman

    • Patti Fralix says:

      Sarah, thank you so much for your sweet comments. They mean so much to me. You cannot know how much I needed to read your words this am. You are a blessing to me. Love to you and Cary.

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