I wasn’t always good with money. I have made drastic improvements that have been beneficial for me and my family’s future. I look back and tell myself, “If I had been wiser with money sooner, I would be a lot further financially.” Nevertheless, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through experiences that have elevated my financial aptitude. I still have a long way to go but like most of us I can say, “I may not be where I want to be, but I am not where I used to be.”
As I was learning better financial management in the school of hard knocks, I often found this message numerous times on the bank ATM screen, “Insufficient funds.” In short I had overextended my bank account in terms of more withdrawals than deposits. Another hard lesson, which was embarrassing was, “transaction declined” when I used my debit card at the store for a purchase. Trust me; embarrassment can wake you up more instantaneously than coffee.
It was years after learning these lessons, that I made the connection of making deposits and withdrawals to relationships. Just like in our bank accounts, when we violate the rule of deposits and withdrawals in relationships, we end up with overdrawn relational accounts. Keep in mind that overdrawing your account has fees attached as well.
Making deposits in a relationship are words backed with actions that add value, trust, dependence, gratitude, and love into the relationship. These five aforementioned qualities are the bedrock to any thriving relationship. They must be repeated over time and through different seasons in the relationship to be proven as genuine, but can be lost in a flash. The amount of withdrawals we make in our relationships should be measured by the amount of deposits we have made. A large withdrawal requires a large deposit. Withdrawing where you have never made a deposit could be termed as theft. When we are always withdrawing and never making deposits, we drain our relationships and eventually they wither and die. When relationships are in this weakening state the smallest conflict can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. How can we measure our relational deposits and withdrawals so we don’t end up with overdrawn accounts?
- See the value in a person before you seek their flaws. Sometimes when I put a dollar in a vending machine, it will kick it back to me. After a few tries with the same result, I try removing the wrinkles to straighten out my dollar and stick it back in. After more failed attempts, I reach back into my pocket to find a newer dollar or one with lesser wrinkles. The dollar, whether new, wrinkled, or torn is still a dollar. Its flaws don’t erase its value but if I allow the vending machine to define this for me, I will probably throw the wrinkled dollar away citing its flaws. Often we carry a vending machine mentality in our relationships, robbing us of deep connections because we are more conditioned to see the wrinkles as opposed to the person’s value. Nobody is perfect but everyone has value.
- Create opportunities for transparency and vulnerability. Nothing enhances a relationship like transparency. This means being open and unashamed instead of afraid and hiding. When we choose the former we become more inclined to deepen what exists but the latter creates walls of separation and mistrust which eventually lead to a closed relational account. Don’t just show people your successes; reveal your scars as well. Scars are the stories of your sufferings as well as your healing.
- Exceed expectations. Don’t be a bare minimum participant in a relationship. Go over and above when it comes to what you contribute even when you don’t get recognized or appreciated. Don’t let a lack of acknowledgement suffocate your excellence and generosity. Crucify your appetite for credit. Give your highest and best each time without holding back. In other words, go all out!
- Look to multiply and not always subtract. Look to always deposit and only withdraw when necessary. Deposits can be as simple as listening, sending a message of encouragement, a thank you note, or having a shared experience. Don’t wait for special occasions or events, make deposits as often as possible.
Final thought: I must add a disclaimer. When we make deposits in relationships, we should never see it as a chore or a way to tick things off a list. This approach will turn the relationship into a transaction. We will settle for going through the motions and offering “lip service”. But when we deposit into relationships with a committed heart and a thoughtful mind, we will discover our relationships are not transactional but transformational.
Keep On! Keeping On!