With whom do I have the closest relationships? What connections are those relationships based on? How can I re-evaluate the depth of particular relationships to know where to put my energies?
These are some of the questions I asked myself while sitting in on a course called, Your CrossRoads.
Working with a non-profit for much of my career, I had considered literally hundreds of people to be friends. A belief is that the mission is held together by relationships and shared ethos. Consequently, I had almost no mental map to differentiate various relationships.
However, when I left the group, it became more obvious who were my friends and who were relationships of convenience. True friends follow you in life; friendships of convenience or circumstance fade away.
Now a couple of years out, I find myself thinking about my relationships and considering the differences between friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There are differences.
In her CrossRoads course, creator Victoria Jeffs challenges participants to identify the foundations important to healthy relationships. The model helped me identify how I relate to various people in my life.
The foundational pillars are touch points we have in common with others. Upon examination, I found that my closest friendships are with those people I share several touch points. They are:
Some people are in our lives due to circumstances. These include family members, work colleagues, and others we know through various groups in which we participate.
The close relationships in our lives are those we have invited in.
Like me, you can use the seven pillars to examine your closest relationships. This simple exercise can help you identify what aspects of those relationships are healthy and also what are unhealthy. Healthy relationships are life-giving. Unhealthy relationships are life-stealing.
Jeffs uses another model that uses concentric circles to categorize relationships.
Place yourself at the center. Next are your closest, dearest friends. They are likely people with whom you connect via several pillars. For example, you might connect intellectually, socially and spiritually.
Next are those who you also consider close, but not the closest, and so on.
Finally, the outer circle contains those who are in your life but with whom you feel less connection. Maybe you realize you have only one or even NO pillars in common. So to continue to prop up those relationships can often be frustrating and draining.
I encourage you to print or draw your own concentric circles, then write names in each orbit. The exercise will help you clarify the nature and priority of your relationships, define their purpose in your life, and help you know where to put your energies.
Be sure to listen to a podcast with Victoria Jeffs on Finding Your Day 2!
Read about Your CrossRoads:http://www.findyourday2.com
Royalty-free image by Alex Ling; retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/friends-on-the-beach-1486963