Relationships . . . To Be Accepted, Safe, & Significant

When it comes to this month’s lifeskill, Relationships & Core Values, look around you. How does your family, community, even systems, and institutions support your core values? As with all families and communities, we share in the challenges of getting along. From conception to our final days, we are all influenced by the many relationships we experience. We all have the same basic human needs – to be accepted, safe, and significant. Relationships that offer these three basic human needs are often hard to come by these days.

Those around us often, by their glances, words, and actions, tend not to offer acceptance. There are some relationships that require conformity to their beliefs and behavior in order to feel accepted by them. I sometimes wonder what ever happened to the sage advice a Baptist deacon once gave me? “One of life’s greatest lessons is to learn how to disagree agreeably.” When we do, there is freedom and respect to express one’s views on just about any topic. Yet, in our nation’s current climate, disagreeing is tantamount to an invitation to argue and, at times, initiate fist-a-cuffs and even more dangerous outcomes!

Feeling safe and secure is then lost in the encounter, that’s for sure. Somehow, we then don’t feel we have a voice and are not being heard. In the end whoever is the loudest and most obnoxious gets the greatest attention. Those who bully their way to get attention end up feeling significant about themselves but not the person on the receiving end. Somewhere in that dysfunctional relationship, the value in just being a human being is discarded either for the moment or permanently.

How can we hold onto our core values when they are formed at a very early age and grow with each relationship? Our nation‘s broken social health has been a mirror for us all. That mirror challenges each of us to reflect on how we are contributing to these broken relationships. How about spending some time this coming week revisiting and recommitting to your core values in every relationship? Whether it is with the grocery clerk down the street, your neighbor next door, your boss, or your family member that gets on your nerves every time, I believe it’s time to pause and make some belief and behavior changes.

How about rediscovering your core values now? Here is a sample list of over 83 personal values to consider for your top ten. Feel free to include any value not on the list. I encourage each person in your family, young and old, to participate.

Share your prioritized top ten values with each other. Then begin a respectful dialogue that will gift each other with acceptance—maybe not with the views but with their value in just being human.

Once you get to that point, you will all begin to feel safer with each other, and want to support each other, demonstrating you see that person in front of you as a precious human being . . .

Accepted, Safe, and Significant in your life.