On the journey called life, valuable lessons are learned that are the backbone of people’s inner and outer characteristics and instrumental in their view of themselves and the world around them. One of those lessons is the nature of human relationships. This particular subject can branch off to many areas, from casual life-long friendships to intimate, sexual relationships to anything and everything else in between. Whatever relationship it is, all human life in one way or another is affected by it, whether for the betterment or the detriment.

It is no secret that people in good human relationships have a better outlook on life and are generally well liked by others. They are generally optimistic about themselves and humanity and seek to find the best in both. They are constantly seeking ways to improve themselves and the world around them and are usually surrounded by like-minded people striving to do the same. Endless opportunities are seemingly omnipresent, and peace of mind and good health are ever flowing and illuminating.

On the other hand, people in bad human relationships have a much bleaker outlook on life and, for the most part, are shunned and utterly disdained by others. They generally have a pessimistic, gloomy, doubtful outlook of themselves and on life and are exceedingly cautious in their interaction with others. At some point in their lives, as victims of some unfortunate wrongdoing by someone else or a traumatic event, they’re constantly waving a red flag and are usually in an environment that fosters animosity and strife, thus causing a need for such defense mechanisms. In their minds, there is not (and never could be) a happy ending, peace of mind and love are practically non-existent and good health and prosperity are at best wishful thinking.

Needless to say, the reactions of both parties to trying circumstances and the challenging tribulations that accompany them – and their respective views on such influential events – are totally different and opposite to one another. While nearly everyone at some point in time has experienced an event with catastrophic implications, these experiences do not necessarily have to determine the overall makeup and outcome of an individual. Life and history are filled with stories of individuals that have experienced traumatic, life-altering, life-changing situations, yet persevered and prospered and lived good lives. Those are the people who inspire hope in others and give humanity in general every reason in the world to cherish life on this beautiful but troubled earth and to strive to make themselves and the world a better place.

On a similar note, it is safe to say that there is a big difference between the world as it is and the world as it should be. In a perfect world, all is well and everything is the way nature and God intended. Human beings in general have genuine love and respect for one another, and warfare, hate and animosity are totally non-existent. However, as reality painfully teaches us, the aforementioned is far from the case and, unfortunately, this has been true since the dismissal of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. In fact, one does not have to look far at all to witness the blatant disregard human beings have for themselves and for each other. Almost every story in the news is about a tragic death or a homicide, and certain everyday human interactions reveal the potential for conflict and strife that, if left unchecked, could have serious consequences. The homicide rates in the major cities of the world (including our own Rochester) and the general distrust, dishonesty and blissful hatred accompanying it demonstrate such potential for deadly disaster.

With this in mind, regardless of one’s current lot in life, one has to determine within himself the state of his relationships. One has to ask, “Am I in good relationships or bad relationships?” A brief look at his current status will give him an indication. He must also ask, “How do I maintain and improve upon the good relationships, while recognizing, improving and obliterating the bad ones?” It is a life-long process, but with practice, persistence and prayer, it can be done. Whatever the current lot the person is in, it is up to the individual to strive to improve himself and the world around him. Obstacles are certain, but it doesn’t have to be eminent. With the right attitude and the right approach, one can reach unimaginable goals and have loving, satisfying, fun-filled relationships.

Jackson is a UR employee.

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