This is part two of Embrace the Rain - A Compendium for Life. For the preamble to this work please see the full length article. In this part of the series we're going to discuss "The Interpersonal", or what I've learned about with the dynamics of relationships.

Understanding relationships and their dynamics.

Give respect. This is an obvious statement. No matter the type of relationship you seek, the core foundation is always on mutual respect. There is no complete foundation for a relationship without it.

Work on yourself first, always. People will come and go in life. You have to focus on your personal goals and growth path first. If someone comes along that fits well into what you're trying to achieve and supports you in your endeavors, that's wonderful.

Identify and destroy toxic relationships at all costs immediately. It doesn’t matter if we are talking business, family, or friends. Toxic relationships are detrimental to your growth. They take a toll on you and very often leave little in their wake to learn from other than the fact that they were toxic. I have been there multiple times in business and personal life. It's a difficult decision to make at the time, but you will thank yourself. Be sure you're in a good frame of mind when you make this decision.

Build bridges and leave the matches at home. While this may seem to be a paradox of the previous statement, this was one of the most difficult lessons for me to learn. Sometimes, things don't work out and you have to write someone off. At other times, we have a tendency to do this when we are unhappy for various reasons and subconsciously. We take things out on the wrong people for various reasons and only hurt ourselves. If you're not in a good frame of mind, you can see nurturing relationships as toxic. So be incredibly thoughtful about how you approach every relationship. If you're currently in a position where you've burned the wrong bridge, consider where you went wrong, then attempt to reach out and try to make it right without expectations.

Romantic relationships.

Be responsible in your approach to romantic relationships. Don't waste people's time. If you're working on yourself as mentioned do that. If you feel you are ready for someone, then go for it. But always remember, if you have goals that you want to pursue with no outside input a romantic relationship is not for you. When dating someone seriously, you should share a common vision.

Romantic relationships are about more than you or your issues. If you happen to be in a serious romantic relationship, you have to understand you have to put aside some of your own issues. Not all of the time, but most of the time. Relationships as a whole, but especially romantic relationships are truly about listening.

Don’t rely on relationships to bring you the happiness you seek. You and you alone are the one in control of your life and your happiness. Sure you can find happiness in the company of someone you love. If you can’t make yourself happy, often times others can’t.

Don’t give so much of yourself that you have nothing left. If you have nothing for yourself, then you can’t be your best self. Your best self is what you should aspire to put into the world. This is for your benefit as much as anything. The more positive value you bring the world, the more reward you will see.

Stay grounded.

Be clear in communication. Think of ambiguity as your enemy and clarity in ally. Having clarity in your communication not only shows respect and thoughtfulness but can prevent a lot of misunderstanding. This is important in verbal communication but even more so in written form. In a world of digital connection, sarcasm can be also be your enemy. People often interpret things in the wrong way. While you get a small amount of entertainment from being facetious - eventually you will have misunderstanding.

Value other people's time as you do your own. This is a necessary reciprocal gesture, if you wish others to respect your own. This being thoughtful in your approach to interaction with others can only help earn you respect.

Don’t seek validation in others. I promise you other’s approval won't make you feel better in the long run. Even if it's your parents, significant other, or friends, it doesn't matter. ‬Everyone is in this life is seeking their own happiness, act accordingly. If you choose to please others, you neglect yourself.

Don’t concern yourself with other people’s journey. No keeping up with the Joneses. You will do this. It’s human nature. All of us are competitive and all of us seek a reference point to compare the progress of our lives. It’s ok, just limit the amount of concern. You should feel genuinely happy for your friends when they’re doing well, of course. However, in no way, shape, or form should it influence your feelings on your own life or that of others. The more that concerned you are with the lives of others, the less time you have to focus on your own.

Part III