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Building Authentic and Loving Relationships

Posted: January 23, 2017

Since my last blog post I’ve had many women ask: “So Heidi, how do we build those loving and authentic friendships and relationships”? This past week I spent a delightful evening with one of my tribes and I posed that very question. The next hour was filled with honest and engaging conversation. Here are 7 basic tips we came up with:

  1. Know Yourself. Our soul must be nurtured to be healthy and strong so that we can overcome jealousy, offenses and negative situations. If we foster a victim mentality eventually we will feel disappointed, hurt, rejected and move onto what we think will be something better. Often times the best friendship is right under our nose but we don’t take the time to cultivate it. Our foremost and vital relationship is with God who is the only One who can grow us into the people He designed us to be.
  2. Cultivate vulnerability. Shame keeps us from being vulnerable. To cultivate deep “heart connection” relationships that will grow and last, we need to deal with our shame so that we can feel free to open our hearts to each other. I call this “being spiritually naked and unashamed.” With wisdom we need to let others see our faults, share our hopes and dreams so that we can grow better together.
  3. Sow Seeds. My children grimaced when I told them, “If you want to have a friend you have to be a friend.” It’s a clich but so true because it is the principle of sowing and reaping. If we want joy, we have to pour out joy. If we want people to be generous, we have to be generous. If we want people to serve us, we have to serve them first. If we want a friend, we have to take action and be a friend.
  4. Know your Values. I am drawn to people who are curious, who have a vital relationship with God and are on a journey to be the best version of who God made them to be. That journey is not always perfect, but even with the occasional road bumps, we know we are heading in the same direction. Without a common value holding you together, if you just talk about the weather, the latest trip and your next purchase, there is nothing to keep you connected at a deeper level.
  5. Understand Your Personalities. In some of my Retreats I have women break into two groups: one group being introverts and in the other are the extroverts. Women are always amazed at what they discover about themselves. God made us all different and we have to make an intentional choice to: “accept each other just as Christ has accepted you” (Romans 15:7). If you are friends with someone with an opposite personality trait, be prepared to make adjustments to your expectations. If we get irritated or offended every time we dont like someones behaviour, we will soon be going solo once again. Be clear about your expectations of what you are looking for in the other person.
  6. Make Time. We MUST make time, be intentional, persevere and extend grace to build these type of relationships. There are many lonely people in our busy, distracted world, but God designed us to be in loving and healthy relationships. Friendships have to be a priority or they will fall apart.
  7. Forgive, forgive, forgive. We are all imperfect people who mess up, irritate, let others down and hurt each other. Unforgiveness makes us resentful, bitter and destroy relationships. Forgiveness is a top priority if we want to build authentic, healthy relationships.

People who are in healthy, intimate relationship live healthier and more joyful lives. Look around you, get involved, step out of your comfort zone and look for that woman whose laugh makes you smile, loves the same activities and is on a journey to become a better version of herself.





Posted in: authentic, Expectations, Forgiveness, Friendship, loneliness, personalities, relationships, shame, time, vulnerable

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