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One (Seemingly Obvious) Key to Healthy Relationships

Here is something that will drastically change the way you view relationships with the people around you. It’s not a new idea, but it’s been eye-opening for me in the past few weeks in coming to terms with how to build and maintain healthy relationships, and diagnosing unhealthy ones.

Start with this; view every encounter with someone as a relational deposit or withdrawal, as a transaction. Although this may sound a little cold, thinking of real human interactions as strictly transactional, but if you can look at it this way, at least on a high level, you’ll become keenly aware of how you’re affecting other people’s lives through your day-to-day interactions.

Why is this important? Because the goal is to deposit more than you withdraw. You want to be the person that gives more than they take, that invests in people more than they're a drain on people. Relational withdrawals without relational deposits lead to relational bankruptcy. People need their relationships to be life-giving. Relational deposits come in many forms, such as encouragement, empowerment, trust, kindness, forgiveness, grace, etc. That means you need to...

Encourage more than you correct...
Praise more than you ignore...
Give more than you ask...
Forgive more than you begrudge...
Credit more than you blame...

The list goes on. If you begin to deposit more than you withdraw, you’ll start creating habits that affect peoples life in more positive ways than you can imagine, and you’ll begin to reap what you sow. You’ll even treat complete strangers differently! When going about your day trying to build people up, think about these three things:

1. Intentionality

This takes a fair amount of intentionality. Chances are that your natural instinct is not to give more than you ask, to encourage more than you correct, to deposit more than you withdraw, but understand this, intentionality is what separates good friends from the great ones, good leaders from the great ones, and success from failure. Just as you don’t build up a savings account accidentally, you won’t build people up unintentionally.

2. It's about the little things

It really is. It’s the details in our everyday communication with people that make the difference. Be sure to smile, to say thanks, to be polite, to offer help, to be friendly, to serve. These small acts of kindness pay off in huge ways. Details, details, details.

3. What about you

Who is depositing in you? Make sure your surroundings are fulfilling and not draining. You can only give as much as you have been given, which means your unhealthy relationships will have an adverse effect on your healthy ones.  

Sidetone: No one needs this more than me. That's the glory of writing and blogging... self revelation.