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Relationship Literacy

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Every person we meet has a story to tell. Imagine that life is like a library filled with individual books to be experienced and enjoyed.

Of course, you have your favorites and you know what topic is their specialty. Their main theme may be an ongoing drama, tragedy or comedy or they may simply offer a respite from the challenges of your own life. Visiting with old friends can bring comfort, since they represent a story you think you already know.

Maybe you are in the mood for a new story. What will satisfy that wish to be entertained, inspired or simply to experience a different perspective?

It can be one of life’s delights to be gifted with a well-formed, well-spoken story that will give you a glimpse into the motivations, choices and outcomes of a life that inspires you to expand your own horizons.

You can learn from other’s missteps and triumphs, receiving guidance and direction as a reward for your willingness to be open and receptive to new information.

What if you’ve never cultivated the relationship skills that will give you access to the riches that your life library holds? A few attitudinal and behavioral shifts can open new doors to deepening your connection with others.

Are you in the habit of judging a book by its cover? Do you try to skip the introduction because you are in too much of a hurry to get to ‘the good stuff’? Do you rely on the positive or negative reviews of others so that you end up passing on anything but superficial interactions with someone new?

Are you stuck in a rut of only seeking out those of similar age, background, ethnicity or beliefs that are familiar to you? Are you more interested in the author’s status and reputation than what your actual experience of what they have to offer?

Do you turn to the final chapter to see how this story ends before you’ve invested any time or energy into allowing the story to unfold at its own pace? Do you judge the story you’re being told as good, bad, right or wrong according to your point of view instead of listening with an open mind?

Have you stopped spending any time learning about others because it would require you to slow down and savor the experience that can only come from unhurried interactions? Have you learned to speed read so that you can freeway drive through life with the result that your experience isn’t too pretty but you make great time?

In our fast-paced world of instant communication, it is crucial that we remember that we are social beings. The quality of our connections with others is an important ingredient to sustaining our mental and emotional health. An antidote to loneliness is to have at least one trustworthy friend that cares enough to hear your story. With a little effort on your part, you can be that friend.

Susan is a local author and writes and produces advanced seminars on how to Unleash the Power of Your Intuition. beyondintellect.com

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