A fun fact about my life is, once upon a time, I was the spokesperson for Miss Black USA. It's a long and somewhat layered tale, but I will say that I appreciated the opportunity to have my moment to answer the ever so popular pageant question, "So, if you could change one thing about the world, what would you do?" The more time that I'm on this planet and the more that I learn about human beings (whew chile), the more my answer has evolved into, "I want people to know their purpose and focus on that, so that they can thrive in it."
Purpose is all about what we were created to do. This means that if you're not living out what you were made to do, on some level, your life is gonna suck. Sorry but I don't know any other way to put it. Because it doesn't matter how much money you've got, how popular you are or how much others may deem you as being successful, none of that really matters if you're not living out what you were made for. And you know what? Once you get clarity about what your purpose is, you typically find yourself only wanting to be in relationship—which means being intimately connected to, on some level—people who 1) are also in their purpose and 2) can help you to further progress on your own.
We're just a hop, skip and jump away from 2021. If there is one thing that I desire for all of us, it's that we slide into a new calendar year being very clear about what we're designed to do and also that we make sure that every relationship we have has some real purpose to it.
You Both Know Why the Connection Exists
To be fair, the definition of a relationship isn't just a connection; it's also an involvement or an association. That's a part of the reason why I've written articles on the platform like, "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them" and "According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends"; it's because the reality is that some relationships go way deeper than others—and that is perfectly fine. However, when it comes to being in a relationship that truly serves a purpose, there needs to be a strong and solid connection. The two people involved need to be crystal clear on why they are choosing to "link their lives" together, what each other's strengths and weaknesses are (when it comes to how they can balance each other out and hold one another accountable) and how they can help one another to grow even more in their individual purpose, even if it's just through encouragement and support.
There is one particular friend that I have who is also my closest confidant. It didn't just "evolve" into that. We discussed it beforehand because, listen to me when I say that you can find yourself disillusioned and disappointed, A LOT, if you're out here assuming that someone should serve a particular role in your life instead of actually discussing it with them to see if they want that kind of responsibility (check out "10 Questions To Ask Your Close Friends Before The New Year Begins" and "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?"). Because we are clear on what being a confidant means, we only continue to grow when it comes to becoming a safe place to share information. And because we know that is a huge part of what our relationship is about, there is no confusion that what we say, no matter what, stays between us. Even if other dynamics of our connection change over time.There is so much peace and understanding that comes into your life, once you know why you are doing what you do. This applies to relationships too. If you consider a particular relationship to be one of great purpose, you should definitely be able to explain why that is the case.
There Is an Undeniable Spiritual Connection
It's kind of unfortunate that when some folks hear the word "spiritual", they automatically think "religious". At the same time, when a lot of church folks hear "spiritual", they automatically think that is low-key denouncing religion (check out "What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?"). If you really know what both words mean, they actually can work hand in hand (even the Bible says that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans while not allowing this world to totally jack you up—James 1:27).
For instance, one of the reasons why I like the word "platonic" so much is because one of its main definitions is spiritual love. How dope is that? Even though a platonic relationship consists of two people who have no physical attraction or sexual desire towards one another, there is still a profound spiritual connection that makes what two people share extremely special and sacred.
And what "is" that exactly? Something that a writer by the name of Dr. Maya Spencer said, when it comes to what it truly means to be spiritual is, "Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature." To me, this means that a purposeful relationship consists of two people who recognize a higher power and through that acknowledgment, they are just as concerned about how to improve the quality of other people's lives as well as their own.
If you ask a lot of married couples for the key to what not only keeps their relationship healthy but also what helps their union to last, many are going to say something along the lines of the fact that their dynamic isn't just about them; they include God and putting each other's others needs on the very top of their daily priority list.
The same thing applies to purposeful relationships overall. Both people are spiritual on their own. Both people care about the spiritual health and well-being of the other. And selflessness takes priority over being selfish. Relationships that operate within this kind of space? They are easily able to go the distance.
You Make Each Other Better
There used to be a guy who I was absolutely crazy about. Sometimes, when I reflect back on the journey, I'm not sure how much emphasis on "crazy" that I should put on it—you know, since the famous definition of insanity is doing the same thing while expecting the same result. AN-Y-WAY, I remember some mutual friends of ours, who happened to be married, once said to me, "I see exactly why [so-and-so] needs you in his life. I'm not so sure how he benefits you, though." Lawd. LAWD.
Remember how I already touched on a purposeful relationship needing to have a clear, strong and spiritual connection? Well, here's the thing. In order for a connection to be a true one, a real one, a fruitful one, words like "join", "unite" and even "communication" must apply as well. And you can't really do any of these things from a one-sided perspective. In order for a connection to work, both people must play a consistently active role. That said, when the connection is truly full of purpose, you both need to be invested in making one another better individuals. This includes holding each other accountable. This includes respecting one another's gifts, talents, personality, needs and desires within the relationship. This includes honoring the fact that the two of you are in the position to be connected at all.
The people I know who are living out a life of purpose, they value their time in a way other people don't. A part of what comes with that is making sure that the individuals who they are in relationship with are able to leave their presence feeling better, on some level, than they were before coming into it.
When you reflect on your relationships—both personal as well as professional—can you say this about "them"? What's equally as important is, can they say the same thing about you? Being in purpose is always going to elevate you as a person. This means that your purposeful relationships will also.
Competition and Envy Are Out the Door
Back in my sexually active days, one of the things I used to semi-jokingly say is, while some of the men in my life, I would do differently if I got a do-over, for the most part, I would probably walk around in the mall with them and not be embarrassed to run into anyone that I know while I was there (I would even introduce them—LOL). Well, kinda along these same lines, when I think about the relationships that I've currently got in my life? I'm proud of each and every one of them too. I mean, not to brag (because I don't have anything to do with the fact) but about 80 percent of them are some super bosses, on some really meteoric levels. Like, they are really out here doing the damn thing.
Sometimes, when I'm in an interview, I'll get asked if it's hard to not be in competition with folks who are so successful in my world. Honestly, it's not. For a few reasons. One, while it wasn't necessarily by design, I don't have a lot of people in my world who do exactly what I do (for the most part, that's write, marriage life coach and doula). We're all in our own lanes, so it's hard to be jealous of something that you don't even participate in anyway. Two, because my relationships have purpose, I get why each individual is in my world and, there is something so "different from me" that they bring to the table that I appreciate it more than envy it. And three, I'm too busy in my own purpose; I don't have time to be competing with anybody else.
This part could really be its own article yet please hear me when I say that it's super toxic to be in a relationship with someone who envies you or that you envy. More times than not, it usually means that either one of you is not in your "purpose lane" or one of you is greedy AF because you are too busy focusing on someone else's come up rather than your own.
Purpose has no room to wish it was something else. Life simply demands too much of it for such an unhealthy and counterproductive mindset. That's why I definitely had to include that another sign that you're in a relationship that is full of purpose is there is no competition or envy between the two of you. You're both thriving as individuals which means there simply is no need.
A Profound Level of Reverence, Regard and Recognition Is at the Relationships Core
If you really stop to think about it, when you know that you are operating in your purpose, doesn't that already come with a level of reverence, regard and recognition to the Most High for giving you one in the first place? So, why wouldn't your relationships—the ones that you consider to serve a significant purpose in your life—also come with those three things?
Reverence is all about having a deep respect for someone and respect is about esteeming and valuing them. Y'all, it's another article for another time, the amount of relationships that end up becoming toxic, simply because while some level of mutual love and care exists, what is missing overall is respect. Regard is about having a level of concern for another person. It's when another individual takes special interest in the welfare and happiness of someone else. When it comes to this, if you've got people in your life who are only there because you're regarding them while they show very little regard for you in return, I wouldn't consider that to be a purposeful relationship. A lesson, maybe. A necessary connection? Probably not. Recognition is important too. It's all about feeling like you are truly seen, heard and considered; it's about having your needs and feelings validated as you do the same for others.
Sometimes, we can't get to the relationships that are truly beneficial for us because we're not making things like reverence, regard and recognition as important as we should. Yet if you want to be in purpose-filled connections, those three "Rs" absolutely must exist.
There Is Continual Progress
An author by the name of Alfred A. Montapert once said, "Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress." Another wise person once said, "There are only two options: make progress or make excuses." Martin Luther King once said, "Whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." Progress keeps moving forward. No excuses.
There's a woman I know who's been dating a guy for over a decade. That actually wouldn't be that big of a deal (to me) if it wasn't for the fact that she desires marriage while he has been on the perpetual fence of if he ever wants to jump the broom or not. Whenever I think about them, the quote, "You'll never been good enough for a man who isn't ready" comes to mind. See, it's not that he doesn't care about his girlfriend; I know that he does. It's that they ultimately want different things—she wants a ring and he wants to remain single. That doesn't make him a bad guy (not at all); however, it does make you wonder how purposeful the relationship is since time waits for no man or woman—and she's waiting on a guy who may have no problem with her waiting forever (check out "Ever Wonder If Your Man Is Actually Holding You Back In Life?", "10 Single Men Shared Some Thoughts They Wish Women Would Take At Face Value", "6 Signs You're Trying To Prove Your Worth To A Man (& How To Stop)", "Here's How You Know He Won't Commit To You. Like, EVER." and "He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What?").
Purpose makes progress. There's no way around that. When I think about my purposeful relationships, I can clearly see signs of how we've both grown as individuals and how our connection has matured and evolved as well. There's nothing stagnant about what we've got going on—we're ever-advancing, expanding and improving because that's what a part of what we're created to do, both together as well as apart.
I was just telling a friend of mine that it seems like I just had a birthday and now I'm just six months away from having another. Life is so fleeting, y'all. Too fleeting to be out here putting our time, effort and energy into people, places, things or ideas that don't have a real purpose to them. We're just days away from another year. Do yourself a really big favor and figure out if your relationships have purpose. If they do, send them a thank-you note. If they don't…well, you've got some serious pondering to do. Make sure that you do it too.
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