Commit to Supportive Relationships

*This post previously appeared as an article in my weekly e-mail entitled: Weekly Perspectives. The video version is below.

“Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.” ~ William Arthur Ward

It is hard to deny that so much of success and happiness is based on having the proper mind-set. Most are aware that a positive attitude is key to the expansion of forward thinking. Of course, optimism alone accomplishes nothing. One must be willing to take action to ensure progress.

In order to connect with limitless possibility it is necessary to commit to creating supportive relationships. This can involve many challenges because supportive doesn’t always mean comfortable. A regular evaluation of an individual’s relationships can create an environment of movement.

A Simple Assessment

  • Does this relationship challenge my ideas?
  • Do conversations support expansion of thinking or suppression of ideas?
  • Does this relationship encourage compassion?

Answers to these questions can provide tremendous insight into the condition of any relationship. With this awareness a person can find a specific direction to go in to continue personal growth. Expanded comprehension certainly shifts attitudes, inspires action, and strengthens resolve.

Growth, Change, and Relationships


Photo Credit: Suyog Gaidhani via Flickr

Growth is sometimes painful. Although pain is not a prerequisite to growth, sometimes it happens. Ideally, we would all grow painlessly and effortlessly. It is an important ideal to shoot for and one to which we all aspire. A critical part of growth is flexibility and the willingness to change.

One of the most difficult aspects with growth can be the relationships in your life. If, for example, you decide to make a major change, every relationship you have will be affected. Some people will be inspired to change themselves as a result of your new found discoveries. Others, unfortunately, will be at the ready to pounce as soon as you show any sign of fear or insecurity. Why? Because your decision to change can make others insecure about their situation. 


Photo credit:sillydog via Flickr

When you stretch, it can be uncomfortable. This discomfort does not mean the change you are making is wrong. It is simply a reminder of how long you have stayed in a familiar place. Here are some simple ways to gauge the level of support in your relationships:

  • Validation is vital. Growth can be scary. It is nice to know people in your life are empathetic. Hearing from someone who understands goes a long way to galvanizing your conviction.
  • Understanding, or the desire to understand, lets you know the other person really listens to you. 
  • Encouragement comes in many forms. Sometimes it is verbal. It can also come in the form of what is not said. When you clearly state goals to your friends, and know why you have these goals, you need encouragement. You will experience times when you simply want to acquiesce to the status quo. It is at these times the encouragement from vital relationships provides the added strength you need. If someone supports you giving up, the relationship is negative. 

The status quo is safe. Nothing changes. We can find security in not changing. Unfortunately it is impossible to experience joy, happiness, and success without taking risks. Make sure your relationships support you.