IT is common knowledge that life is about relationships. Successes and failures are all about relationships. Relationships and how we make them and keep them is what is very important for every individual to understand.
If you look around everywhere you are, you will see evidence of failed relationships more than successful ones. All the trouble in the world can be easily attributed to failed relationships.
When a relationship goes wrong, literary everything else goes wrong. It can result in murder, suicide, rape, violence, war, divorce, bitterness, destruction or even terrorism.
It is therefore important to know how to maintain relationships and keep them safe and growing. A lot of us struggle in the area of relationships and live a bitter life and harm others in the process. Today I want us to look at three habits that are harmful to relationships. These are not in an order of priority.
- Criticism. Unwarranted, persistent and senseless criticism is poison to any relationship. You cannot build and sustain a relationship when you are always criticising others or even your spouse in a marriage. Some people suffer from a critical spirit. Nothing others do is right. They see wrong in every step and action. Such people cannot appreciate anything as good from others. I can assure you that such an attitude makes people resent and hate you. It is characters like these who develop jealousy and end up messing up.
- Grumbling.Have you seen people who complain about anything in a relationship? Well they can never stay in a relationship. This kind does not give anything positive to the relationship, but will complain and grumble and sit back waiting for others to do this and that for them. If this is a marriage relationship it ends up suffocated and dangerously passive. Some people want to be loved, but cannot love back. Others want the relationship to give them all, but they cannot give anything themselves. You build a relationship by giving yourself and all you are into it. Do not want to take what you have not given into a relationship because it is unable to give to you what you have not given to it. You cannot be sitting complaining waiting for others to do things for you. Instead stand up and do things also for others. This is how you will build relationships. Wrong words are poison to your relationships. Instead of grumbling, I encourage you to praise and affirm and correct, where necessary, with love.
- Dominating others. Relationships will become sick where one person is unnecessarily dominating others. Relationships must be based on mutual understanding and on equality of some sort. Where the other person is made to feel they are second class or inferior, the relationship suffers stress and eventually it faints. This gets worse in a marriage relationship where the other spouse is regarded an unequal and have no say in any decision making. Many marriages suffer this trauma. Healthy relationships give each person their space and respect they deserve.
When you dominate the other person, you literary take away their rights in the relationship and make them a slave to your feelings and thoughts. This becomes oppression and abuse. Some violence in the homes is a result of such behavior. Some organisations or companies or business partnerships have failed because of such an attitude. It can be delearned if the perpetrator is willing too.
You see, anything a person learns can be de-learned. If you want to prove that dominating others is poison to relationships, visit any kombi rank in Africa or just seek to understand the reasons for conflicts and violence world over. You will discover that either somebody seeks to dominate others or some people feel they have been dominated for too long.
Islamist terrorists seek to dominate the world and hence their violence and forced relationships. You see, this attitude seems to be highly poisonous to relationships and people cannot build any meaningful relationships based on this. A healthy relationship gives everyone their identity and allows them become who God intended them to be.
There are more poisons that we can talk about but, for today we can safely end here. Let me emphasise that the pain in the world, nations, communities and homes is a result of sick relationships. There is too much corruption in many relationships where people are manipulating each other.
Our sexual, political, economic, racial, cultural and religious relationships are all upside down largely because of this manipulating attitude in people. The attitude that wants to dominate others.
Political conflicts in Africa are fueled largely by this desire to dominate. Ethnic conflicts are fired up by this desire to dominate.
Economical manipulation of Africa and weaker nations is influenced by this desire to dominate. We can build a better world if we all want to.
Kilton Moyo is a pastor, guidance and counselling consultant and author of Responding to Personal Crisis. Call or WhatsApp on +263 775 337 207/ 712 384 841.