Reflecting on the past year always is an opportunity to think about what we accomplished, and what we did not.
It also gives us a chance to see how we were as a person and how we want to be as a person. Did we live the past year with integrity, honesty, being understanding and giving to others, in other words, through our values?
Two questions come to mind when I think about how my last year went: did I invest enough in my relationships, and did I stay focused on what is truly important to me?
I always like to make sure I am putting enough money away for my future, that I am checking off a few of my bucket list items, and that I am continuing to make a difference in my practice. These are really the easier goals to accomplish (although still not always easy).
More importantly, do we reflect on what we know now from studies on what is truly most essential for our well-being, our happiness and our health and that is nurturing our relationships.
If you are anything like me, it tends to get the least of my attention as I set goals for next year, and yet I know how important this is. Why? Because most other goals are actually easier to solidify and do not rely on other people. Yet mostly, the reason we do not focus on our relationship goals is because this leaves us vulnerable.
As quoted from Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is not about winning, and it’s not about losing. It’s about having the courage to show up and be seen.”
What does this mean to show up, to be seen?
It is actually one of the most difficult and vulnerable acts we will do in our lifetime. As human beings we often avoid what is uncomfortable or what leaves us vulnerable, so we avoid showing up and being seen.
Being seen is about exposing who we are, your underbelly—in a way, showing people the real side of you, your dreams, your fears, your failures, your aspirations, how you have been hurt, what your heart desires, and what you want and need from that relationship. Yet, this could mean rejection, or being hurt.
We so fear being humiliated, being made fun of, being shamed, being different, not being enough, so we avoid this at all cost.
None of us like rejection, this can hurt us at our core, yet if we do not allow ourselves to be this vulnerable, we miss out also on one of the most amazing experiences of being ‘seen, heard and got’
Therefore I am committed to being real with the people in my life, even though I could be really hurt, really shamed, or really rejected.
Another reason I find it difficult to show people who I truly am is that I want to be liked. Despite that, I have found even if people do not like what I have to say, most people are able to separate liking me from not liking what I have to say.
So now, what does it mean to set goals around relationships? The goals can be around spending more time together, date night, having more patience, sharing more of yourself, and the list can go on.
The rewards will be outstanding and better than any other goal that you can set for yourself, except around your health.
Sadly, people spend more energy protecting themselves emotionally, creating a defense, a mask so they are not vulnerable, that they do not focus on showing people who they are. You cannot do both, therefore I challenge you this year to be vulnerable, to nurture your relationships, to show people who you are.
Set some goals that really focus on building deeper relationships. You might be surprised at the payoff for doing so.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy and many wonderful relationships in 2014.
Contact Dr. Shelly Zvala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.