Like Erykah Badu’s song, Tyrone, “I’m [a creative] and I’m sensitive about my sh**” and this message is truly an inside to my soul with hopes that it reaches yours.
As a 29 year old, I often reflect the whirlwind of my twenties and it has been an era of risks, trials, and errors. After I graduated from college in the Midwest, I took the risk to move away from my home state to the east coast to a city that I never lived in, never visited, or had any familial connections within.
As a recent graduate, I tried to earn my place in this foreign workforce by working 12 hour days to qualify myself for a job where I resented my boss and after failed relationship after failed relationship, I began to wonder, “is it me?”
In the same thought, the sagacious words of the late Maya Angelou creeps into my thoughts, “they [people] may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” and the keywords of “…how YOU made them feel” are on a constant loop.
The people I love and trust often tell me that my twenties are my “selfish years” or “years of becoming you” negating that selfishness comes with a price. This price of thoughtlessness, selfishness, and apathy has impacted many individuals and resulted me becoming extremely conscious of how I value my romantic and platonic relationships, especially since my thirtieth birthday is less than a year away. Blame society and ultimately blame social media.
As I am getting older I am becoming more conscious of who I interact with, how I interact with them, and how I plan to add value to their lives and mine. On a positive note, social media has inspired the Millennial generation to break generational curses and invest more into self-care no matter the cost. The investment that I have taken into my life is therapy. Thank you Charlamage the God.
Leaning into this era of personal self-care, I have decided to take the proactive approach of seeing a therapist for preventive care. The school of thought from older generations is you only saw a “shrink” when you have been diagnosed with an aliment that occurs from a mental imbalance. While assuaging my family that I am not “crazy,” I inform them that I am investing in my inner self to become a better me to not repeat the errors of my past. Do they understand? The real question is, do I care? The answer is no.
However, I will not repeat the errors of my past without reflecting on it. We call this introspection. Now, I want to note that introspection is difficult. In an era of highlights that are promoted on social media, discovering and uncovering your faults and limitations is uncomfortable for everyone, but thankfully with therapy, introspection has become a tad bit easier.
What better way to become a better you without introspection? Asking yourself questions and uncovering your faults is difficult and although it is difficult, it is necessary for personal growth. Often times, the lack of introspection inhibits our ability to become better humans and build successful relationships with people whether romantic or platonic.
Therapy, which I recommend for anyone, has assisted me to reach a higher plane of my introspection with nine questions that was given to me during my session and as it has helped me, I hope it will help you as we begin to embark to have more successful relationships:
When will I discover what I need to have a successful relationship?
This question is answered in the present tense. We are in search of relationships that add value to our lives and not backslide into a space that we want to exit.
The magic that is establishing a successful relationship is that your person should bring out attributes that you did not know that was innately in you. Your gifts, your presence, and your skills. Realizing this person helps you see yourself and your relationships in a different light. Successful relationships help you to improve yourself. This begins the process to a true successful relationship.
What are my false connections?
These “false connections” are our failed relationships. These failed relationships sparked, then died as quickly as it began. The deeper question is, why did this connection become false or a fallacy of some sorts?
What are my real connections?
“Real connections” can seem fixed and predictable. These connections occur when you are in spaces where you feel comfortable, safe, and your true authentic self without wondering what the person receiving my emotions think.
With my real connections, do I understand their limitations?
Short answer, yes. Of course, we able to see the flaws of people. The long answer is, no. Understanding people’s limitations, truly capturing an understanding of someone’s limitations is difficult and often times courageous. Courageous in a sense where understanding someone’s limitations is about investing in that relationship. An investment takes courage, patience, and time. The deeper question is, are you able to emotionally deposit the distrust, trauma, hurt, and failed connections that they have had in their past?
Why do I want to “stick it out” with [toxic] relationships?
As someone who has a village who has sacrificed so much for me and who has seen me at my weakest points, who am I to not do the same for others? For me, this is me paying it forward for the other person because it has happened to me. If these individuals within my village stuck it out for me, why can I not do it for others? This return on investment is essentially what we want.
What am I fostering when it comes to generating successful relationships?
When answering this question, I follow the platinum rule, “treat people how they want to be treated.” Additionally, ask yourself, are you fostering love, trust, and true empathy of how your person wants to be treated? Are you in this game of finding a partner to grow with someone or for your own personal gain?
Am I focused only on my wants in terms of successful relationships?
Focusing on your wants seems simple. For example, you could identify your wants for someone as: intellectual, professional, spontaneous, and fun. Are you focused only on your wants because identifying your needs are difficult?
Am I tapping into my needs for a successful relationship?
Tapping into your needs is difficult because in order to have a successful relationship you have to take into account the requisite that it is coupled with it. This requisite is taking a deeper dive into someone’s soul. It requires a level of care that you must be willing to give to someone.
Do I want a successful relationship or do I simply have the desire to connect with someone?
In the words of Andre 3000’s, Love Hater, “…don’t nobody want to grow old and lonely,” so asking yourself, do you simply want a person in your life or someone who you truly connect with. This begins entering a relationship with intention. Are you entering a relationship for friendship, romance, intimacy, marriage, or a combination of all of these? However, if your person does not fall into any of these categories, are you courageous enough to let them know and ultimately, let them go.
Taking these questions into account, a successful relationship comes from individuals who realize that a connection is something that you can actually can do. Successful relationships is more about what we discover with another person opposed to what we uncover about ourselves and the individual that we are interested connecting and cultivating a successful relationship with.