I believe that a successful relationship is one where both people get far more from the relationship than they put in.
And I tell people this a lot.
If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ve probably heard that a half dozen times or more.
Because I’m passionate about this idea taking hold and being a measuring stick for people.
There are far too many people out there giving love and pieces of themselves for nothing (or not enough) in return.
And that’s a shame.
Because when we do that, we drain ourselves to a point where we are unable to keep giving, or to even really support ourselves, and life becomes difficult, sad, a burden, and something to get through, instead of a joyous adventure.
Relationships should fill us up.
And by “relationships,” I mean ALL of them: family, friends, lovers, work…
Not all will be successful.
Some MUST simply be accepted or survived (but let’s always consider how they can be better).
However, we can choose some of our relationships, and those should fill us. We should choose people who know how to fill us just by being, and people also that we can fill and delight and bring joy to by being ourselves.
Because—and this is important—just because someone does not give back more than we give them does not mean they are a bad person.
Not at all.
Perhaps they are just not a match for us.
Perhaps they are too hurt and withdrawn.
Perhaps they are bad. That’s entirely possible. I won’t deny that.
However, if they are constantly draining your joy and energy, if you have a small feeling if dread in the pit of your stomach when seeing them (or planning to see them), perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.
And to look at it as itself, and what you get from it and what you give to it, and as part of your overall life.
Because in life, there will be people and projects that you will give FAR more to than you get out, for your own reasons.
It may be temporary (a friend is going through a depression).
It may be something you are passionate about, and so you get a satisfactions from it (volunteering, for example).
It may be your work (first responders often give a lot of themselves, without a ton of thanks from the job).
And it may be worth it.
So, when you have good relationships that fill you up constantly, you can balance out the rest of life.
I like to make the analogy of an ATM.
What if every time you made a $5 deposit in the ATM, you got $10 back? Would you keep depositing?
And no matter how much you put in, you ALWAYS got more back, so you could put in greater amounts: $20, $100, $1000
And if you have that, how does it feel?
And if you don’t, think about it.
If your relationships were like that, what would that mean to you? How might that change your life?
And don’t you deserve it?