Healthy relationships don’t just happen. They require that you constantly invest your time, energy and effort into them. People often take their relationships for granted—until a problem occurs or until it’s too late.
Hope your New Year is going very well, as I get back to ‘blogging’ again. I hope to hear from you in this New Year. We are busy with several WTHR community campaigns right now – promoting events you can attend or events for which you can volunteer. Please join with us in serving the community and making a difference in 2010.
During Black History Month in February, we have been airing a weekly Noon Focus interview segment on African-American events, organizations or issues and we have produced special news series profiling the achievements of African-Americans locally and nationally. Click here to go to our special Black History Month page which includes some of the stories, a list of celebrations and events you can attend in Central Indiana, and a host of sites profiling African-American achievements nationally.
We are also helping promote a couple of big events that will fight cancer. Do you know someone who has cancer or are you battling this sometimes devastating disease? You might want to register for a Relay for Life event near you. These are 24-hour walking vigils that remind people that cancer never sleeps. You can form a team, raise money through pledges, and take turns walking around an area track. This is the premiere worldwide fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. There will be more than 30 Relay for Life events in Central Indiana running from March through June. Consider walking in honor of someone you love with cancer or you can walk simply because you care.
WTHR Community Affairs has also been busy promoting one of the top-ten biggest Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” events in the nation. More than 40,000 people walk or run in the annual “Race for the Cure” in downtown Indianapolis. This is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest, grass roots breast cancer movement. It is an amazing ‘sea of humanity’ – men, women and children – taking to the downtown streets to help end breast cancer forever. When you walk, you raise money for breast cancer treatment, education and research here in Central Indiana and around the nation. This year’s “Race for the Cure” takes place on Saturday, April 17th. Click here to register to walk or run or volunteer.
Also, when you get a chance, join us Monday through Friday for our weekly Noon Focus interview segment which profiles community issues, events, and organizations. If you have a community issue, event or organiztion that you think we should be talking about on Focus, please let us know! We might pick your idea and do a Focus segment on it.
We have also started something new this year – the WTHR Cares Community Conversation. We will feature a question or issue of the week and ask for your feedback. We just want to start a conversation with our community, so that we can learn more about what matters to you on a host of topics – some just for ‘fun’, some more issues-oriented. Click here to see this week’s question about the Olympics.
And do you have some questions about how to have a healthy relationship in the New Year? Last month we invited Carol Juergensen-Sheets, a Marriage and Family Therapist and Personal Life Coach, to share some relationship advice for the New Year on our Noon Focus segment. Our relationships with people we love are one of the most important things in our lives. As I close today, hope you will listen to this advice from “Carol the Coach.” And feel free to share with us what you do to make your relationships work.
TIPS FROM ‘CAROL THE COACH’ ON DEVELOPING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS:
Healthy relationships don’t just happen. They require that you constantly invest your time, energy and effort into them. People often take their relationships for granted—until a problem occurs or until it’s too late. As you look at your relationships, do you cultivate them? Some of my clients are proactive and look for ways to improve them. However, more often I see clients who are discouraged because they have waited too long. Take a look at these five characteristics for a healthy relationship to decide if you are working in the right areas:
ADMIRATION AND APPRECIATION: Do you verbalize your appreciation of your loved ones? Do you identify daily at least one characteristic that you appreciate or admire? People will enjoy their relationships with you if you recognize their strengths. Make a point to compliment those you care about daily.
RESPECT: Everyone has different values and beliefs about people and about life. Understandably, values come from your family of origin, religiosity or spirituality, educational structure, and political background. Partners often marry because they complement each other, which can increase the likelihood of different values. Teenagers often take on different values as a natural vehicle for the needed separation process. It is important to find a common ground with others and respect their differences, even if you don’t agree with their basic values. If you don’t respect your loved ones, it will lead to contempt. Contempt is the number one behavior that leads to estrangement.
COMMUNICATION: Is your communication positive or negative? Do you spend a lot of time criticizing or affirming your family? If you have a teenager or spouse, it is easy to get caught up in fear-based conversations that make you look controlling, argumentative or needy? Everyone wants to be acknowledged for their thoughts, beliefs and values. Basically, they want to be understood. Communication infers speaking, but it is really about listening. The next time you’re with a loved one, spend 75% of the time listening and reflecting back what you heard. It will open up their desire to talk to you.
ENCOURAGEMENT: Do you encourage your loved ones? Do you notice the effort and not the outcome? This characteristic builds good self-esteem and is essential in promoting healthy relationships. As you assess your family, find an area they are working on but haven’t yet perfected, and then notice their effort. That means to verbally acknowledge that you know they are making progress. It will enhance their feelings for you because it enhances their own sense of well-being.
NEGOTIATION AND COMPROMISE: In all relationships, the art of developing good partnerships with people is the ability to negotiate and compromise. You have to give a little to get a little. Evaluate your style and decide how well you practice this life skill. People who have to have their way all of the time are no fun to be with. If you are surrounded by this type of personality it’s time for you to learn assertiveness. If you are this type of personality, it’s time to practice the art of give-and-take. This may require that you seek the help of a mental health professional.
There are some great tools to help develop these characteristics further. The more you put into your relationships, the more you will get out of them. We all know that relationships are the essence of life!
Get more advice on various topics from “Carol the Coach” (Carol Juergensen Sheets) by clicking here.