Relationships: The Gnitty Gritty

“I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?”
Nicholas Sparks

Relationships are hard. Whether they’re with friends, family, co-workers, significant others or spouses – they all take work, they all take time, and they all (most definitely) take effort. Being the person that I am, I hold myself to high standards and likewise, I hold the same standards to everyone that’s a part of my life.

Although I’m not about to begin to expose the dirty laundry affiliated with my family, I do have to admit that my relationship with most of my extended family members isn’t strong. They used to mean the world to me until I excommunicated myself from them after some irreversible problems transpired. Another instance that  doesn’t help is the fact that I’ve always felt like I’m meant for bigger and better things, yet the majority of my family members seem quite content with their current lives, and don’t appear to aspire to work hard towards acquiring greater things. Although this doesn’t describe them all, it does describe the majority of them, in my opinion.

“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I’m not perfect
-and I don’t live to be-
but before you start pointing fingers…
make sure your hands are clean!”
Bob Marley

A throwback with mom, dad, grandma, sister Kessa (minus my sister Kara) :[
A throwback from 2008-ish with mom, dad, grandma, and my sister Kessa
Thankfully, I met the Kagi family while I was in high school. We are going on to almost 15 years of ups and downs (mostly ups), and I know I can rely on them for anything and everything. Even while I was in the Marine Corps, whenever I would come home on leave, I would come ‘home’ and stay with them. Often times, I introduce them as my family, and in return they also introduce me as their son and/or brother. I believe that my situation regarding my biological family and the Kagi family has made me able to seek out quality relationships in anything and everything that I do. Likewise, I believe that the situation with my extended family makes it slightly easy for me to push people away when I don’t believe we’re all that compatible.

I’d like to think that if you put enough effort into any relationship that it’ll inevitably work out, but I don’t believe that’s always the case. I believe that at times, regardless of the effort put forth by both individuals it’s just a matter of compatibility. For me, it’s not especially rare, but I’m very particular when searching for quality individuals. People that I seem to be drawn to are often excellent communicators, honest, truthful, trustworthy, dependable, other-oriented and caring, exceptional listeners, and are typically well-educated, modestly opinionated, and highly intelligent individuals.

Last night, a group of friends that I’ve grown incredibly close to came over for game night at my house. In the past we’ve usually gotten together and watch movies together, but last night we opted for a casual game night with various board games and a Smash Bros. Brawling Match on my friend Taran’s Nintendo Wii. With the exception of one of my friends who had work the following morning, we were all at my house until about 2 in the morning. Interestingly enough the last 3 hours were spent talking about our various opinions on certain matters. One of the things I felt like asking the group was about this matter. Interestingly enough, my friends helped to open my eyes to the idea that although it might be true that some friendships rely a great deal on compatibility, it also depends on the individuals’ level of reciprocity as well. Take for example, if you’re giving 80% of yourself into any-kind of relationship, but the other individual is only reciprocating 20% – unless the other person works to improve things on their side of the relationship, you’re just going to burn yourself out.

With the exception of two individuals (top left, bottom right), here’s a snapshot of me with some of my closest friends a couple years ago at our Secret Santa gathering.

I like to think of myself as a pretty compassionate person, and I enjoy the aspect of ‘wearing my heart on my sleeve’. I believe living this way also makes me all the more susceptible to getting hurt, so I’ve grown some thicker skin in the process. I find the aspect of forgiving people quite easy, as I can always manage to sympathize to their position; however, forgiving myself for allowing them to hurt me is what I find more difficult than anything else. I’ve never been a fan of people promising to change themselves, because I feel as though people who ‘say’ they’ll change often-times naturally revert back to their normal habits without their knowledge. I like to believe that people have a reset button they press, whenever they become highly stressed and under pressure, so a constant “change” is always inconsistent unless they’ve already been applied to a person’s manner unconsciously.

The fact of the matter is that relationships are hard. I’m thankful, however, whenever I’m able to form bonds with people that are long-lasting ones. Some of my friends shared in my idea that quality friendships are the ones where you can leave someone for days, months and/or years, and return to see them and interact with them as though you had just seem them yesterday. Another friend opened my eyes to their ideal concept however, that a great relationship can also be someone that you don’t want to be apart from for even a split second. Interestingly enough, I find both of these trains of thoughts to be informative and truthful. Anyway, I believe I’ve rambled on long enough.

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
― Bessie Anderson Stanley