Throughout this holiday season and on this Christmas eve, I think of the many things that fill me with gratitude. Today I am grateful for being in relationships filled with reciprocity. They are life-giving and provide an opportunity for me to continue growth in those relationships.
For the Beyond This Moment Conference, 2019 Theme: Authentic Sisterhood...let the healing begin, the many topics being presented are relevant to all women. This week I chose to focus on one of the topics that not only bring me gratitude, but what I believe is necessary in every relationship. The importance of reciprocity in our relationships!
We all need and deserve to be in relationships filled with love, understanding, accountability, respect, integrity and yes-RECIPROCITY! In every loving relationship there should be a process in which each person is supporting, inspiring and gaining “something” of value from the other. Reciprocity is defined as: “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit”.
Many ask: How does reciprocity look when we are in healthy relationships with each other? My answer is that it is one of support, acknowledgment, affirmation and inspiration. It’s when you are building something and your vision is not only supported but there is active engagement and participation in the vision that we have, understanding that the value of our sisters’ visions bring a benefit to us as well. Doing this for each other provides an opportunity for the Visionary to further push forward knowing that she is being uplifted and she is reciprocating by doing that which is uplifting to her sisters as well.
The mutual benefit is that if we are supporting each other, our visions not only become sharper but you begin to become stronger in a collective vision of shared success where everyone wins! When I think back to some relationships I have been in, the support was either less than or in some cases completely absent. I would find myself running to support or celebrate the next event or occasion oftentimes not seeing the value being reciprocated for me. At first this left me with feelings of guilt, thinking that I was being selfish in requiring that I be provided in my relationships, what I provide. I later learned that everyone does not have the capacity to be reciprocal in relationships and if this is a requirement for me, I can’t remain in relationships where this is absent. What I learned was that we attract exactly that which we put out and I started to look at behaviors I had enabled and taught others, in their relationship with me. Often sharing the “no problem” or “it’s all good” when I have worked to the bone for someone’s plan to later discover that they were not able to do this for me. It took a very long time for that to get “old” for me and it took some work for me to actually recognize that I viewed the relationship completely different than how the other person viewed it. So, in essence a lot of what WAS returned in those relationships reaped some of the lack of expectations I sowed.
When I was able to bring closure to those situations and relationships and to carefully take an inward look as to why my expectations were so low, I was able to grow in those relationships where reciprocity was not only visible but it was the standard. In these relationships, I am able to provide support, wisdom, guidance and hold myself accountable while those sisters live the walk as well. I have found that we have all grown in our purpose and in many cases put our purpose driven work together to create something greater than ourselves. You see, it is in relationships where reciprocity is the standard that a greater vision is built to reach the masses that need to be inspired, encouraged, uplifted and supported on our journeys. It is contagious.
We are here for than for ourselves. "Iron sharpens Iron" simply means that if we are bringing our visions together and holding true to the standard of reciprocity, we further more important agendas that richly bless others. The full understanding of this is in scripture (Proverbs 27:17). The requirements of being in reciprocal relations where the iron sharpens iron reference is weaved throughout includes:
1) Supporting each other’s visions.
2) Learning and listening to what matters to each of us.
3)“Seeing” each other’s value and worth! The whole idea of “I see you” is that we see each other beyond what others may say or think; it’s really about “knowing” the sisters in your circle and truly understanding what she stands for. You can only do this by building relationships!
4) Courageously and lovingly calling out the envy that we may see and feel when someone is “shining” and you’re trying to figure out why it’s not happening for you. Speaking up when you’re not feeling supported or if there is an imbalance in the relationship. Truth and accountability through crucial conversations, in relationships that are worth saving, is so important!
5) Building up the one in the circle that may need that extra layer of support and encouragement to help bring their goals to fruition. In fact, helping them see their vision in a way that can spark inspiration. Provide resources and tools that you may have access to that will help bring their vision to realization. Everyone in the sister group brings something of great value!
6) Holding each other accountable and having forgiveness part of the process. We all won’t get it right all the time; but all the time, if the relationship is healthy, we can work through our “stuff” and right the wrongs.
7) Recognizing gifts and talents in each other and be specific on where you see those gifts utilized and how it brings value to your relationship.
8) Continuous building and maintaining of our relationships-when there is a problem or issue, keeping it with each other and working through it. Find the one in the crew that can hold the matter in confidence while pointing out where growth is needed.
9) Attend retreats and professional development opportunities that are in alignment with each person’s line of work and/or interest.
10) Look at ALL of your gifts and talents and set a plan on how collectively you can bring them together to bring a collective vision to life.
11) Teach other sisters how to do all of this. Walk what you talk and encourage other women by sharing your journey and by modeling what an authentic relationship in sisterhood looks, with the important thread of reciprocity.
In closing, my hope is that we all continue to look at areas where we can grow in building and maintaining reciprocity in our relationships. It is a critical layer in our journey with one another.
Embrace and encourage reciprocity in your relationships with each other! May this season of hope, peace, joy and love provide an opportunity to reflect on how we live this message in all of our relationships.
For my LIVE video on this topic please click here