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SPRING CLEANING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: Part 2 When cleanup just ain’t enuf!

Relationships Sink

Doing a thorough spring-cleaning on a relationship that might need a little dusting off is a lovely thing to do. Both of you – or all of you if you have a tribe that needs attention, get to feel appreciated; happy and valuable. In fact, the sprucing up an otherwise  ‘good’ (or ‘not so bad’) relationship is a lot like getting a manicure before you break a nail and really need one. I’m not saying it’s not important or productive to clean it up. It is! No one should be taken for granted. We all deserve to be valued. Personally, I feel great when my nails are freshly done. And I get a little giddy when I actually get a manicure before I desperately need it. Still, it’s not like fixing a broken leg, is it?

It’s those damaged and broken relationships that concern me the most. It’s not just the ones that need a little attention, but the ones that may not even BE repairable! I’m guessing you have one or two in your life right now (I know I do!). We all have a relationship or two that went bad. Might have been a misunderstanding. Could have been a major screw-up. Might even have been precipitated by a divorce or even death. In any case, you know the kind of relationship I’m talking about. Once it was… now it isn’t… and maybe one or both of you aren’t happy about that.

A friendship and, well, any relationship, takes time and effort to develop. So it stands to reason that if seriously damaged, it will also take time and effort to repair. Rebuilding trust is no easy task. And, maybe it’s not supposed to be. If it’s difficult will we appreciate it more? Could be. Some relationships are worth it.

Attempting to repair a damaged or broken relationship by doing some simple dusting and light cleanup just won’t cut it. I learned that years ago when I attempted to do a superficial clean up on one. I ended up getting slapped in the face – almost literally! A one-time best friend and I dissolved our business partnership over a disagreement about integrity. I didn’t think she had any!

After almost a year of angry silence she called and asked me to do her a favor. I was surprised and pleased. I thought that this meant we could friends again. (I didn’t really trust her, but she was really fun to hang out with…) We didn’t talk about the past. We didn’t do any repair work. I drove for almost an hour to meet her and do this big ‘friendship-fixing’ favor. That was my contribution to the repair of our very broken relationship. I actually-and smugly- thought I was doing a lot. She nodded when she saw me, but neither smiled nor spoke. Guess that should have been a clue. With a smile, I handed her the papers she’d asked me to write and extended my hand in friendship. She took the papers and spat on my outstretched hand, turned and walked away.

In that moment my mind was flooded with questions… What was I thinking? Did I really believe that my gesture would work as even a band-aid on our badly broken relationship? Was it even possible to restore our friendship? Did I even want to be friends with someone who would spit on me? Yuck! Was it worth the time and energy or was this a relationship that just needed to be over? And, if it could be patched up, how could that be done?

There are so many things to consider when a relationship goes wrong. What is my responsibility in the matter? Is it repairable? Do I want to keep this person in my life (physically, spiritually OR emotionally)? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to ‘fix’ this? What will it take to fix this?

Relationships are like shoes…

They last longer if we take good care of them.

It works well to polish and clean them regularly.

Some are so special to us that we repair them if they break.

Some we throw away.


SPRING CLEANING Your Relationships

theI determine that Spring Cleaning

It’s that ‘not quite’ time of year… winter is pretty much over but it’s ‘not quite summer’ yet. Here in the desert we’re blooming and the temperatures are pretty consistently in the high 70’s – low 90’s. That’s the good news. The bad news is all about the pollen and the wind – both are at their springtime peak. I’m sure you can guess what that means… nasty allergy attacks and sand everywhere! I really think it was the sandstorms alone that instigated the notion of SPRING CLEANING – and I’m all for it!

This morning, I finally took the time to assess the status of my home – inner and outer, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s time to do some spring cleaning here. There are some things, like the patio furniture and kitchen dish mats, that have served their purpose for me. Those I will donate or discard. Other things, like the automatic trashcan and the washerless garden hose, are still usable but need a little repair work – or maybe just fresh batteries. The windows need washing (okay serious scrubbing) and the deck needs refinishing.

I have some things that are beyond damaged. If I determine that they are downright broken (like my grandson’s blue chair and the door on the garage storage closet), then I will decide to either toss them or keep them. And, if I determine that something is a keeper, I have to figure out if it is fixable… and how to fix it!

Okay, analogy over. Well, almost over… Just like your home, it’s time for your annual relationships assessment. Put on the white gloves and do a walk-through in your contact list. No doubt you’ll be needing to do some spring-cleaning in that domain!

If you’re like most of us, there are some relationships that you probably know that you want to trash (others that you probably should). Like my ‘washerless garden hose’, some are well worth keeping and just need a simple repair. And then there are those we tend to take for granted because, well, they’re always there and, we assume (possibly foolishly), always will be. Those are the relationships that require our most diligent cleanup of all. Take the time to spruced up and spit polish them. Make it obvious to them, us and anyone else who happens to be around, that this relationship is cherished. Do some deep cleaning. Vacuum up the dust balls and polish ‘til shiny; (you might even have to don the long plastic gloves and scrub the toilets – so to speak).

As with most tasks, getting started is the often the hardest part. Enjoy the process of cleaning up ‘your act’ and your relationships. Cherish the time you use for spring-cleaning, it will change your life. And be nice to yourself, too. Take it one relationship at a time and bathe in the glow of your like-new, cleaner, shiny relationships.