FOR THE LOVE OF RELATIONSHIPS – Winning in life and love

A quote by Patricia Neal states “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug” came to life recently. My husband and I were on a beach trip for a week. It was cold, windy, and rainy every day. At first, we were incredibly bummed with overturned trees on the golf course and beaches filled with rocks and high waves. Then we had a mental shift. What if we stopped complaining about the weather and re-defined our expectations for the trip? We are here to rest, be together and get mental clarity. Yes, that was it. Let’s sleep in, work on our perspective manuscripts (his, a thriller; mine, a relationship and life skills toolkit for teens) and enjoy the fact that we have nowhere to go, no one to meet and nothing to do! The change in attitude was a gift and so was the weather. 

Positive mental attitude, happiness and success go together. Operationalizing these concepts in sports is a no-brainer. The “can do” spirit in each athlete needs to be cultivated and encouraged. Additionally, self-discipline, and impulse control are critical in the development of a winner. According to almost every coach, self-discipline in their players is essential. Sports provides a vivid example of how attitude, will, determination, perseverance, and self-discipline help athletes and teams reach their goals in competition. These attributes and an attitude of mental toughness are what makes us successful and happy. 

Why can’t we also apply these concepts to creating healthy relationships or healthy lives?  I have set up a Goole alert on my email and have been watching the media be a mouthpiece for libertine sex education saying that asking school-aged children to delay sex is unrealistic. We need to provide them with condoms and contraceptives to keep them safe. Would we ever do this with athletics in a school? Would a coach ever say to his or her players, “I know it is unrealistic for you to practice five days a week, eat healthy foods, go to bed earlier than your peers so you can be in top performance for the team, so I am going to let you slide and you can do whatever comes naturally.” Hearing this from a coach would be ridiculous. 

Aren’t parents, teachers, leaders, legislators, influencers, coaches of sorts? Why are the behavioral expectations of students in this country so low? 

Let us all become coaches and equip students with the skills necessary to develop healthy relationships that take time, respect, and self-sacrifice to do what is better for your partner than yourself. Additionally, let’s provide them with motivation, encouragement, skills, inspiration, and impulse control. Let’s think about healthy relationships like we would think of building a winning team. Let’s help students see the rewards in healthy relationship development now and healthy family formation in the future. If we expect more from students regarding their behavior and attitudes, we will get what we expect, raise the bar of behavior and they will be winners in life and love.