What Makes Us Good Sweethearts?

February 2013 Newsletter

Dr. gloria wright

The term Sweetheart is not just for lovers. I was my dad’s sweetheart and so was my mom. Kind, wholehearted people are called “sweethearts.” Supportive, engaging work colleagues can also be “sweethearts.” They thrive on the quality of relationships. They are typically more interested in having a few close friends as opposed to having many acquaintances.

We often want to give love and relationships a checkmark on our “life list.” For example one woman finally dragged her workaholic husband to therapy. One of her big complaints was, “He doesn’t tell me he loves me.” The therapist looks at him…after a brief silence he looks at his wife and says, “I told you when I married you that I loved you and if I changed my mind I’d let you know.” (I wouldn’t recommend this tactic.)

If you desire long-term, supportive relationships, at work or in your life, what can you do?

Choose friends that don’t let you avoid conflict but help you learn to work through it. Select a sweetie that knows the difference between constructive feedback and criticism. Get someone that understands that your changes will last longer if you take small steps and practice. Your friend will be most helpful if they combine accepting you with also giving you loving nudges in moving toward more openness and thus more closeness. It may be hard – but you can learn to reveal yourself and listen to others with genuine interest. There is also the wisdom of discretion.

My daddy said, “watch the company you keep.” If you want to improve your tennis game, play with people who are better than you. Same goes for relationships: Hang around people who have the kind of relationships you wish you had and learn from them.

Brene Brown spent many years studying connectedness and belonging. Here are a few of her findings:

  • Connection gives purpose and meaning to life.
  • Shame and fear keep us disconnected.
  • To be connected we must have the courage to be authentic and vulnerable and not connected to the outcome.
  • To be connected, we must let others “see” us – warts and all.
  • We MUST have a sense of worthiness and believe we are enough.
  • Learn to release the need to control and predict.
  • When you numb “bad feelings,” you also numb the “good” ones.
  • Be willing to trade certainty for uncertainty.

Families are “in” even in corporations. It is common today to see keynote speeches and training that deal with the balance of careers and families. Generation X’ers want both success and quality of life. Burnout and low emotional intelligence affects your significant relationships including those at work. Remember, a good friend will tell you what you don’t want to hear and be there to support you through the change. If you don’t have these supportive reality checks in your life or company – hire one!