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positive relationships 550 px

Kathy’s Bloom and Flourish Model

  1. Peaceful Base
  2. Physical Health
  3. Positivity Spiral
  4. Flow/Accomplishment/Meaning
  5. Positive Relationships
  6. Spiritual Connectedness
  7. Financial Stability

The Physical Health pillar is difficult for me because of circumstances outside of my control; I had brain surgery in 2009 that left me with some physical challenges. However, I have no excuse for my failure in the Positive Relationships pillar. I know how important it is to have community and positive relationships in order to bloom and flourish because at this moment in time, my supportive community is not complete, and I’m not flourishing!

I moved to Huntsville, AL, in 2012, and I have done an abysmal job of creating a community of supportive, positive relationships. My biggest obstacle is I Can Do It Myself Syndrome (ICDIMS). I’ve battled it all my life! Somewhere along the way, I determined that not everyone is super reliable and that depending on others is a sign of weakness, which led to this syndrome. Neither of these perspectives is especially useful. Neither is ICDIMS.

Awareness is the first step! We talked about beliefs back in March when we talked about our Frame of Reference (https://tinyurl.com/yae5t29q). It took me a while to identify ICDIMS and its underlying beliefs, but I finally got there. It took a lot of questions and coaching.

I haven’t always suffered from ICDIMS. When I was an active-duty Army spouse, I had friends that I relied on. When my Mom was dying, friends picked up my children from school, fed them, and had them sleep over. It was such a warm and comforting feeling to be surrounded by people who cared and were supportive. I miss that feeling.

So far, I’ve made it sound like I am alone in the world, and that is not true. I have a wonderful group of supportive friends and family that I rely on. The problem is that none of them live in Huntsville with me. My sister and youngest son live in Texas. My other son and his wife are in Virginia.  I have dear friends in North Carolina who I miss and value highly. Most days, I talk with a friend and fellow coach who lives in Pennsylvania. Another close friend lives in Maryland.

These people all offer support and kicks in the butt when needed. I love and depend on them all. They allow me some level of flourishing, and they keep me from being a complete failure at the Positive Relationship pillar of Kathy’s Bloom and Flourish Model. They also save me from feeling alone.

However, to truly flourish, we need optimal circumstances, and that means having a full range of positive relationships, including ones with people who live near us. We need friends to do stuff with! We want people who can pick us up when we take our car to the shop or when we lock our keys in the car. A movie is way more fun to watch when we watch it with someone whom we can chat with about what we saw. In truth, we can’t do it all ourselves. ICDIMS is a syndrome, not a truth.

Friendships are not only people helping us. In order to get good friends, we have to be  good friends. Positive relationships take an investment of time and emotional energy. We also get to be the one who picks up a friend from the car repair shop or hospital. We make calls and ask people to lunch. We take the time to meet for coffee and listen to friends’ frustrations and accomplishments.

I have some friends who are very thoughtful. They remember birthdays and send notes. I like those kinds of friends, but I am not one of them. That’s OK. We get to be a good friend to others in our own way. Some of my friends nurture with food. I love those friends. I am not a cook and hence not that kind of friend, either.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman gives us a good framework for positive relationships. Different things are important to different people. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. If a friend or significant other gives you a gift, his or her love language may be receiving gifts.

We experience a disconnect when our love languages don’t match. For example, gifts don’t mean much to me, and neither do flowery words about how great I am. For me, it’s quality time and acts of service. I tell you that I care by spending time with you or helping you move. Spending time with me without looking at your phone and engaging in conversation touches my heart, not flowers or knickknacks.

Positive relationships are easier to create and maintain when we are aware of our own love language preferences and the preferences of our friends and loved ones. If words of affirmation are important to someone, we want to be sure and meet that need in our relationship.

We don’t want to run around trying to create positive relationships with everyone! We need to be selective. We want positive people who we can depend on most of the time. It’s taken me a while to accept the fact that no one is reliable 100% of the time. They all have their own lives and priorities. We are humans with a limited amount of time to manage. I am one of them with the same flaws. However, our support team should always be people who we trust. Trust is the fundamental quality of great positive relationships.

When starting from scratch to create a supportive community, it’s a good a idea to find people with similar interests. Once again, my Mom was an excellent role model. She lived with us for the last ten years of her life, and as a military family, we moved a lot. When we got to a new place, she joined local hiking clubs, counted birds with the local Audubon Society, found quilting groups, and offered to babysit for new neighbors. She found friends faster than I did, and I had military support groups waiting at every new place.

I am working on this pillar! I’m waving around my Magic Wand of Destiny and creating new relationships in Huntsville, and I’m recreating relationships there that I’ve let weaken. I started going to networking events and mastermind groups, where I am beginning to develop some friendships.

I know how important it is to have a supportive community physically around you, because I don’t have it right now. However, I control my future with the intentional choices that I make now. If you want me, I will be waving around my Magic Wand of Destiny to overcome ICDIMS and having lunch with a friend.

For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.