Treat Relationships as Gifted Investments


In family, business and friendship the relationships you have with people are extremely valuable; In fact your relationships, for better or for worse, are valuable to you for several core reasons. Take your relationship with your children for example: It is probably the greatest single investment you will ever make of your time and your life. Every moment you spend with them is precious and the times you spend together won’t last forever. The time you have together is a gift and so, every moment that you can give to this investment is going to pay you back in huge dividends. You could say the same for sharing time with good friends, family or partners.

As someone once said to me, “Time is short, and nothing lasts forever. Treasure the moment.”

You have to shop around for good investments that interest you.

Not every investment is solid. If you play the stock market or you’ve ever bought into mutual funds, you will know that not everything is garnered to earn you a return on your investment. Sometimes you win; other times you might lose out. You might choose the wrong stock option that you thought at the time was a real winner. The same can be said for relationships.

We have all had relationships that just didn’t work out the way we thought they would: a business partnership gone bad, a marriage ends in divorce, or a long-time friends wrongs us somehow. Regardless of how it ended, when you initially placed your bets on this, you were probably expecting a certain outcome that didn’t come to fruition. This is all part of the process of learning to form worthwhile relationships. As we experience our lives with others, we realize that people have different agendas from our own.

Relationships, just like worthwhile investments, are a gamble. Sometimes you win, other times you lose. It doesn’t mean that you should stop trying. There are a lot of good “stocks” out there to be found; you have to keep your options open. If you lose once, and you will, don’t be afraid to keep trying. Some of the best friendships I have lasted me over forty years. I have friends that I have invested in for thirty years through sharing, communicating, keeping in touch, and just being there. My return on these friendships is gold in the bank.

With my children I spend valuable time with them on the weekends. I simply couldn’t invest enough time in this area of my life and, every time I do, it’s like money in the bank [even on the bad days]. In my profession as a teacher, I invest in my students when I provide them with quality teaching; In every relationship, you have that potential for gains as well as losses. And when you feel the relationship is suffering somehow, this is the downturn that you just have to ride out. When the economy is bad, investments suffer; when it is good, you can bounce back and earn even more. The key is to be patient and hold on even when a relationship has hit a rocky road.

Know When To Cash Out

Just as with any investment, you have to know when enough is enough and call it quits. The relationship is no longer contributing in a positive way to either party and it is time to cut your losses and move on. This could be a relationship with your partner, a co-worker, or even a close family member. Family relationships are the most difficult to deal with; we can’t choose family. What we can do is decide just how much time and effort you are going to continue to invest in this relationship.

Do you foresee this relationship getting better? Is it worth your time to throw good money after bad? Has the relationship become saturated or damaged to the point it can never recover? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. And then, based on your personal survey, decide if it is time to back away and give it space. You may be better off placing your valuable time and energy into another relationship that is more respective of your attention.

Stop throwing money into the relationships that are stagnant and find one that is more profitable. Spend more time with a close friend you haven’t seen in awhile; help out your neighbor that has grown too elderly to do the yard work. There are unlimited ways for you to expand new opportunities and forge the strong connections when you cease to invest in the people that no longer need what you have to offer.

The Investment in yourself

The most important relationship you will ever invest in is yourself. In fact, I would recommend spending at least one hour a day doing something for you. There are many ways you can boost your own personal worth because the relationship with yourself is forever; you can walk away from most bad relationships but you can’t escape from who you are! Is there a hobby you have been itching to get into? A new course you want to take online? A movie you have been wanting to see? Do you want to meditate or take up a new sport?

Treat yourself to something nice; spend time getting to know yourself. The investment you put into you is top priority. Why? You have to take care of yourself so you can be of service and benefit to others. People who do regular maintenance on themselves are much happier and in a better position to invest more strongly in the world around them. When we are happy and have taken care of our needs, it fuels your motivation to invest in your other relationships.

Questions for thought

  1. What are your most valuable relationships at the moment? How are you investing in these? What is one thing you could do better to make the relationship even more valuable?
  2. How much quality time do you spend with yourself? What is the one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to? How would this make you feel if you could do it? What positive impact would it have on your other relationships? Whatever it is, make a serious effort to do it. You can give more freely to those people around you when you take care of your own needs as well. This isn’t being selfish; it’s necessary.

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