I recently started visiting a physiotherapist regularly. People asked me whether I was injured. I realized that this had more to do with preventing injury, rather than repairing an injury. It is just like taking a car to a maintenance shop. Our bodies need simple upkeep, especially if we might have slightly pulled a muscle during a strenuous activity or went out of alignment when we lifted some heavy box or did an excessive stretch. Relationships are no different.
At some point you might have had a challenging, yet successful conversation with your partner, parent, child or best friend in order to polish up a strained dynamic and then assumed that things would resume as they are. Having one conversation and then expecting things to remain smooth without having to bring it up again would be like pouring oil into your engine once and expecting your car to become a perpetuum mobile.
You might need to check in with the person on a monthly or even weekly basis about certain agreements that you have made, or simply to clear up any potential misconceptions that might have arisen, or were there from the get-go. This of course is if you have chosen to build a commitment with this person. If you choose to have a car, maintenance comes with the package. Similarly with people in your life, you can think of this as “relationship upkeep”, and doing it doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with the relationship either. Of course, none of us like the process of taking the car to the mechanic, but people still do it regularly. Why? Because servicing a car is a straightforward process and it is very obvious why the car would shut off in the middle of the road if you were to decide that you’ve had enough with putting gas into the tank. Many people dread having relationship maintenance conversations. Mainly because the process is usually not as clear and smooth and they find it hard to navigate in the emotions arena. And people resist doing it even if the relationship had been left on the side of the road long time ago.
The more we do it, the better we get at it, less damage repair we need to do and the healthier our relationships become; just like one can have a healthy body by taking proper care of it, or a functioning car by having it checked regularly. This is something that I recently took on in my life and realized that it coincided with the coming of the New Year. As much as I don’t do New Years resolutions I think this one might as well bear the name “my relationship upkeep resolution”. 🙂
Happy New Year everyone!
Hope it is full of meaningful connections and growth in your relationships too!