Money, status, (Insta)fame, clothes, cars, condos…
A list of all the things I love? Perhaps (just kidding, kind of). But in reality, a list of the things that society tells us will bring us happiness. We all scroll through social media every day and see beautiful people driving beautiful cars while wearing beautiful clothes and living [supposedly] beautiful lives.
But, the funny part about what you can see with your eyes, is that it’s all on the surface.
We become tempted and inspired by these ideas and images – sometimes in good ways, others in bad. But the idea that remains consistent is that achieving goals based on an exterior perception makes us lose sight of what will actually bring us fulfillment:
Depth, connection, and substance.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have seemingly lost sight of valuing these attributes, and that relationships seem to be crumbling every single day. I hear literally every single day, how nobody wants to put in effort anymore. Nobody wants to work to maintain a relationship. Nobody wants to actually commit to one person and build a foundation for a future.
Because something better is bound to come along. Because this relationship may not bring us the exterior perception that we were hoping for. Perhaps he or she is not fit enough, or pretty enough, or handsome enough. Perhaps he or she is just serving as a placeholder. Or, maybe, you don’t even know enough about them to make that kind of judgment call, because you’ve not put in the time to learn.
The fact of the matter is that a designer purse is not going to help you raise your future children. Your beautiful condo or house is going to feel like a prison if you live an unfulfilled life. Your Mercedes is not going to comfort you when a family members becomes ill.
We have lost sight of what it truly means to commit to someone and build a foundation with them, to cultivate a relationship. We never quite make it past a surface connection, so we never quite make it past a surface relationship.
And then what happens?
Things fall apart. The first sign of trouble, or conflict, or disagreement – and things fall apart. We don’t communicate and when we don’t communicate, we don’t see issues coming until they hit us like a ton of bricks.
Communication in relationships is of the utmost importance because it plays such a valuable role in minimizing or eliminating arguments. Obviously we will always have disagreements, but if you can sit down and speak to your significant other like an actual adult, you can work through these issues together instead of starting World War 3.
Additionally, if you communicate consistently, you may be able to see a conflict arising before it actually peaks, so you can nip it in the bud and avoid a big fight.
But, if all you talk about is what filter to use on your next Instagram photo together or how your outfits are going to match that night, then you’re certainly not setting yourself up for relationship success with this person.
What are their passions? What are their dreams? What do they want out of life? What past experiences have made them who they are today? What challenges have they faced? WHO ARE THEY?
It’s time we start focusing on what matters again. Depth. Connection. Substance. Real, deep relationships that last over time.
Now – can we still have the glitz and the glam and the cars and the condos and the clothes? Sure, of course, but those are the decorations. Those are the bonuses that you work for in other ways. Those are the fringe benefits – the frosting on the cake.
Just remember, when you are building a house, putting the finishing touches and decorations on at the end might be the most fun – but if you haven’t properly built the foundation of the house first, then all of those decorations will fall to the ground when the first storm hits and the house crumbles.
We can do better than this. The question is: Will we?
This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog
Photo credit: Getty Images