The world is dysfunctional. Families are dysfunctional. Workplaces are dysfunctional. Churches are dysfunctional. Sporting clubs are dysfunctional. And yes, we ourselves, as mortal human beings, are dysfunctional.
But it’s not all bad news. It just resets our expectations.
A commitment to healthy relationships will lead us to heartache, and these are some reasons:
-instigating healthy relationships will cause conflict because it means boundaries and change for others
-having healthy relationships means you’ll need to discern and establish healthy boundaries for most of the people in your life—some of whom will punish you because they think you’re being unfair
-some of the relationships you really value will end simply because you’re changing
-because you’re changing, some will think (consciously or unconsciously) that you’re judging and punishing them, and that will lead them to judge and punish you
-family roles will be challenged where there are dysfunctions, and upsetting more than one family member will not be uncommon
-instigating a healthy relationship with someone who prefers something more toxic requires them to change
-relating with people in healthy ways is peacemaking, not peacekeeping, the distinction of which; peacemakers speak the truth, in love for sure, but the truth nonetheless—very many people cannot handle the truth
-a commitment to healthy relationships will also mean you might hear some truths that are hard to hear, but to hear them and absorb their truth is essential
-healthy relationships are rewarding but they can be harder to maintain—they take mental, emotional, spiritual strength
-loss tests the health of our relationships, and relationships are often a source of loss, so if we’re committed to healthy relationships, it will be really difficult in times of hardship
-being committed to the truth means you won’t go with the pack or with groupthink, and it will upset some when you can’t (on principle for integrity) go with the party line—i.e. when you’re required to compromise important ethical standards
Then finally there’s the challenge to every single one of us to meet every relational situation we can with kindness, gentleness, patience, grace, compassion, and self-control.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework