Navigating Relationships Is Not Always Smooth Sailing

Navigating Relationships Is Not Always Smooth Sailing

At the end of the day, it is simply about being with the person you love, and the rest will come.
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One of the biggest growth areas in my room has been my relationship skills. It is something that I am constantly working on and being only nineteen, I know I still have a lot to learn. Growing up and navigating my own relationships with my parents, friends, and boyfriend, I have realized that there is no easy way to perfect a relationship. Nobody can give you all the answers, and often times, the advice others give you is selective to their experience so that leaves you to your own devices.

However, in my short amount of time, there are some things that I have learned that may be useful for others.

When it comes to relationships with parents, it can be difficult because there are already a lot of expectations that they are waiting for you to live up to. Jada Pinkett Smith recently said in one of her "Red Table Talks" that expectations can steal joy and blind you from the blessings already present. These expectations can present a lot of problems for a child and their parents.

From my experience, the ability to understand and compromise is necessary on both sides. Communication is the biggest key in any relationship but particularly between a child and their parents. Rather than communicating with a passive aggressive silence, it is important to be able to articulate what you're feeling. The authoritative dynamic of parenthood can be effective, but parents, you are never too important to apologize to your children when necessary.

Friends, however, are a different story. I have been lucky enough to have some amazing friendships in my life as well as a handful of toxic friendships that have taught me some important lessons. Toxic friendships have showed me the importance of self-respect and recognizing that when somebody in your life is no longer serving a positive purpose, it is time to walk away. Letting go of people will always be a difficult thing to do, but as you get older, it becomes easier to realize it is a necessity.

As for successful friendships, such as the one I have with my best friend, I have learned that the biggest thing is that you do not need to talk 24/7 to maintain an important friendship. As you are exploring different life paths, it becomes less necessary to speak all day everyday but instead, it is crucial to recognize the moments when you two really need each other. Being there for each other when it is needed most is most essential to maintaining that friendship. Again, I feel that this is something that comes with maturity in my experience.

Finally, one of the most important relationships in my life is the one I have with my boyfriend. As we've been together for almost two years, I have learned a great deal about compassionate and selfless love. The biggest challenge we have encountered is pursuing two completely different paths in life that kept us physically apart. In dealing with that struggle, together we have learned the importance of open and honest communication, even when it's hard. Being able to discuss things in a way that is not angry, irrational, or accusatory has been my biggest lesson. The rough patches have taught me the most, forcing me to evaluate what I truly want from a partner and how to listen to what he wants as well.

At the end of the day, it is simply about being with the person you love, and the rest will come.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Losing A Grandparent Changed My Life

Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.
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Death isn’t what the average 20-something thinks about every day. You don’t think it will happen to you, or the people around you. You know that it exists because you see heart-wrenching reports on the news daily of another life lost to ignorance or hate.

Yes, losing a grandparent definitely changes your life. For some of us, it's a drastic change. To others: they knew it was coming. Still, some weren't even close to their grandparents because they lived too far away from each other to build a relationship in person.

I can't even fathom that considering both of my grandparents lived a city away from me or across town. They are your second set of parents and the love you've had for your entire life. They are the lessons learned and the ones holding your hand through it all.

When my grandfather died (affectionately known to me as Papa), my life changed. I watched him take his last breath in the hospital alone. I called my mother to tell her that her father died. In that moment: my emotionally sheltered life was torn apart. In that moment: I had to grow up. The person I had leaned on my entire life was gone.

I literally reconsidered everything I had done in my life in a matter of hours. I thought about college, finally graduating and walking across that stage: cords swinging and my tassel hanging there. That was his biggest dream for me, we were only a year away from it when he left this earth.

When a grandparent passes they take a part of you: big or small. When you were younger you planned out life with them. You shared your dreams with them, your insecurities, your childish ways and most of all you shared your love.

They, in turn, taught you lessons about life, helped you realize those dreams, and never let you go without being told you were loved every single time they saw you. They are the suppliers of happiness, security, and laughs. Friends come and go, but your family stays with you forever.

The bottom line is: most everyone knows what it's like to lose a grandparent. We all cope differently, and leaning on others is the best way to keep yourself up. Facing the reality of death is the only way we can accept it and move on. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting, it means understanding. We were lucky enough to have these amazing people to guide us through our younger years, teaching us these vital lessons.

I can't tell you how many times a day I wish I had my papa back. Learning to cope without them is the hardest part, even years later. Grandparents prepare you for life's greatest gains. Little did they know they would be their grandchildren's biggest loss. Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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What It Is Really Like Having Sisters Close To Your Age

While having siblings close to your age is pretty amazing, there can be a lot of issues that can come with it.

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I come from a family of 5 people and 1 dog. I have 2 sisters, Grace and Caroline. We are all pretty close in age, Caroline being the youngest and 3 years younger than me.

My sisters and I share a bond like no one else, no one can replicate it. When you have siblings close to your age you have built-in best friends, and since they are around your age you have the same interest, or at least, enough so that you can do things that other siblings cannot. Examples of this would be seeing R-Rated movies and going to the mall without too much complaining, along with being able to shop in the same stores or even share clothes. Grace and I sometimes even split the cost of a shirt we both like.

We even overlap friend groups! Which is not much of a problem for us, Grace and I are both in music programs which overlap enough for us to have the same friends, which is great for when one of us has a sleepover, the other can join in on the fun. Caroline, however, even though she is seen as the sporty one of the 3 of us, she still has a lot of friends who have similar interests as Grace or I, giving us a lot of the same friends. It's nice not to be considered the "cool older sister", I am just like the rest of them.

While we do fight a lot, we make up really quickly, because most issues we have are stupid sibling fights: who gets the T.V., what to have for dinner, what movie to see. But it is always fun because there are 3 of us, which means majority rules, something we tend to go by most of the time depending on the situation.

Having 3 teenagers in the house can be a handful for our parents though, when you have three teenage girls going through puberty at relatively the same time, it can be grueling, especially when you are all on your period at the same time.. (yes, that has happened before) (and yes, it sucks). While I am on the topic, let's say a prayer and a thank you to my dad for dealing with 5 girls (including the dog, obviously) because he does a pretty damn good job at dealing with all of us.

When we were younger, we always had a play date even when one was canceled. We all made up songs and dances and would perform them for our parents. We even had a band called The Halsey Sisters (AKA the female version of The Jonas Brothers) where we had a hit song called "We Got The Heart and Soul". It was a hell of a time. Let's just say the music video for that song is, interesting to say the least.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't switch my sisters for anything in the world, they are my rocks, and I wouldn't want it any other way, Grace, Caroline, keep doing what you're doing, because you're pretty damn awesome.

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