“Hello” I said to my friends who entered the elevator in our convention hotel, reaching for the buttons, “which floor you going to?”. Of the fourteen floors we were staying on six different floors.

This caused me to think of relationships and how we begin the same (or near the same), they do not all last the same. We meet either on line, in a coffee shop, through a mutual friend, church, our career, or some random way? Because I am so shy and withdrawn (LOL), I tend to hope everyone I meet is going the entire distance with me. I want (most of) them to be my friend for the rest of our lives.

Yet, the harsh truth is, very few ever go the distance. They have their own floors to go to. They have their own lives to live, and as much as I would like their life to always include me, it does not.

This struggle of mine has caused me to search for a balance, a way to stay okay with people getting off on their own floor of purpose, of their own destination, their “why” for staying in this hotel of where we met.

I’ve made great strides to enjoy the elevator trip while it last. In truth I have not mastered the part when the ride is over. I struggle with “this is my floor, time for me to leave” of relationships. Here are the four things I am doing to help me be better at when the elevator doors open and someone leaves for their destination.

Trust the the length of time is what its meant to be. In the hotel everyone states how long they will be on the elevator, yet, in relationships, we do not normally state how long we will travel together in life’s journey. While together, heading in the same direction, I am learning to stay true to me and serve to my best, while restricting my need for this to last forever.

While we are on the same journey together, I look for the ways that I can be a benefit for them, this has opened up many wonderful gifts back to me. Staying true to me and bringing my best Serve proves to be the best and insulates me from bing needy. Needy is greedy, its also sort of gross.

Somehow just enjoying the moments I have with each person makes the time rich and rewarding for both of us. This also minimizes the grief when we are no longer in the elevator together. Both of us can celebrate the time we spent together.

Remembering to enjoy the time we have while together is the second thing I am learning to do once we are no longer traveling together. This also, allows our sojourning to last (in a memorable way) beyond our face to face elevator time. Rather than focus on that we no longer see, talk, or serve along side arch other, I remember and talk about how grateful I am (not was) for the time we had together.

Invest in some coloring of our time together. Each of us color our stories one way or another. It is easy to color our past with the gloomier shades, yet the same energy can be used to color with the warmer and brighter shades. Thus, I choose to color it brighter than maybe someone else would recall. It serves as an investment rather than a constants emotional expense.

The emotional expense of coloring relationships with the heavy, dark, or gloomy colors is incredibly debilitating. It makes me want tp crawl in a hole and pull the sides in over me, or start a revolution and eliminate people from my people list. When I get myself caught in this cycle, I am less friendly, I gripe more, less tolerable, and just plain hard to get along with. I also notice that my body hurts more, I am physically run down more. Yet, when I purposefully pick the brighter and warmer colors to place the emphasis on our time together to exact opposite is true.

Presence while we are together, heading to our perspective floors helps me now and later. The powerful thing about presence is it demands focus on the moment and the person or people I am with and not myself. When I practice this one aspect of the elevator trip, it seems to make the gift of the trip last longer.

Please do not misunderstand me, there have been for to many times I was all into myself and what I could get out of the trip, that I totally missed to gift of the moments I could have had with those on the elevator. Here a few things I do to give us the gift of presence.

I stay off and out of my phone while we are in the elevator together. Also, learning to ask thought provoking questions about them and noticing what they enjoy talking about. Giving them the best spot on the elevator. Then finally always treat others with great levels of dignity, respect, and honor while in the space of presence with them.

Learning to enjoy the elevator trip through Trusting the length of time is what its meant to be, Remembering to recall to wonders of our time, rather than to pain of no longer traveling together,    Investing in choosing the best colors to create the picture of our time together, and practicing Presence while we are in the elevator of life together makes my journey to my floor much better.

Though some people who get in the elevator do have a room on your same floor, very few will ever be headed to your room. This is also true in life’s journey, most who get on the relationship elevator with you will be going to the exact same place you are. We must learn to accept this fact and enjoy to time we have together.

When you are like me, a relationship junkie, it is difficult when the door opens and someone walks off the elevator. Yet we can find relief from the heartache of the elevator ride ending, through enjoying the length of the trip through these four simple steps. Trust its length to be correct, Remember the wonder while it lasted, Invest through how you color the time together, and being Present while it lasted.

Matt Upton