To fully enjoy "your people," you need to treat them well.
I don't believe I can overemphasize the importance of being present. In another article – part one – I wrote about consciously making time to spend with your loved ones. Once we do make that commitment, there are still some important aspects to keep in mind.
I'm speaking to myself in this as well.
What good is it if you carve out time only to have it taken over by belittling, complaining, or grumpiness? There's a healthy balance between honesty with your loved ones and spewing your unfiltered thoughts with no regards to tact or kindness.
For example, it's easy to criticize others for little things, and at the time, it may seem harmless. But when these occasions build up over time, it damages the relationship. Okay, so maybe I hate the way some people chew food. That doesn't give me the right to belittle or mock. (Occasional respectful reminders may be necessary for my sanity.)
The key question I need to start asking about my tone of voice is "Do I want to destroy this relationship with meaningless criticism?" The health of the relationship is more significant than relieving my irritation.
And what about bids for attention when you're with your loved ones? When they show excitement and point out some movie poster or object of nature, do you say "mm-hmm," hardly looking up from your phone/work? Or do you enter into their enthusiasm because you want to care about what they do?
Again, little successful moments add up quickly to strengthen relationships.
I don't know about you, but I don't want my stress and negative attitude to seep into the time I set aside for family and friends. Though I make room for vulnerability and honesty, I also want to ensure the silly things don't get in the way of love of kindness. I don't seek perfect people or moments – I find beauty in the messy. After all, that's how I want to be seen.
Enjoy your people while you've got them with you!