How do you build relationships with your colleagues and peers in your school or office? If someone would have asked me that question in the past, I would have most likely responded with thinking about those people who I easily and genuinely connect with, people who I naturally like. It’s nice to be able to embrace these types of relationships and feel the impact of their growth over time. However, there are other people at work that we don’t even think of in the realm of building a relationship. Why is that?
In our educational settings, we work closely with all sorts of people. It can be a challenge to embrace different personalities, but these interpersonal relationships, dynamics and all, are what set the foundation to serve learners and communities with passion, empathy, and love. Somehow in the midst of the sometimes complicated and uncomfortable relationship-building process, joy is exemplified through such things as dynamic professional learning sessions, a beautiful school event, or watching an entire graduating class walk across a stage. All would be impossible without the many dynamics that flow through our interpersonal relationships.
Whether an acquaintance or intimate friend, building a relationship can be joyful. Think of how exciting it feels when we discover a person’s strengths in our time of need or when we are having a difficult time navigating a challenge. I will never forget the time when one of my students booked straight out of the building. I tried to run…but I wasn’t getting very far, when a teacher I had barely talked to sped straight past me and caught up to the child. That may seem like an extreme example, but the point is, we should embrace all levels of relationships because people are valuable. There is so much to deter or distract us from this idea. Often, it’s that acquaintance at work that we share zero in common with and who challenge our beliefs and ideas that can help us through a crisis or teach us something about ourselves that shifts our perspective for the better.
In any relationship at any level, it’s most important to bring ourselves. Now don’t get me wrong, we all have stuff we want to hide…no doubt. We can’t get so caught up in trying to fit a mold because we can block the joy we are meant to give and receive in our relationships with others. That joy comes in the form of the gifts we embody through our unique personalities-and we ALL have something valuable to share.
Love, Dr. Joy