Parents, children, siblings, spouse, extended family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, class- mates, partners, room- mates, co-commuters…the list goes on; every single connection we make along life’s journey is a relationship we can build, grow and cherish. Some being our very lifeline and some not so much. Perhaps we haven’t realized this as much as we do now, in the present times of physical distancing, isolation, doubt, loneliness, fear and uncertainty of the morrow. Most of us will agree that the most important thing in life is the few relationships we have built and nothing else matters more.
So is life really all about relationships, why are relationships so important? The relationships we form are vital to survival itself, to our mental and emotional well being. It’s an inherent nature of humans to connect, build and nurture relationships, to be close to other humans, to love, to be loved, to be needed, to have someone when in need, to share life, to make meaning and have a sense of purpose in all of this. ‘We nurture our sense of connection with the larger whole, noticing that the whole is only as healthy as its smallest part” quotes Sharon Salzberg in her book ‘Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection’.
Every small connection we make or a relationship we build and nurture, is worthy of trust, respect, understanding, meaning and love. The questions we need to ask ourselves is do we give enough or does it suffice to only get from the relationships we are in? Today in our world of transactions, with the largely ‘give and take’ attitude we often tend to hold, are we stepping away from true, meaningful and committed relationships?
There are different connections we make, we have our intimate connections (family, friends, those who we love and care), relational connections (people we meet regularly, work with or study together) and collective connections (people in a group membership, sharing a common interest, from the same community or faith). Some could be long-term relationships and others short-term ones. For the most part of life, the area where we often struggle is within our intimate connections; we take them for granted and sometimes might fail to pour in as much as we should into the relationship.
A healthy relationship has beautiful facets to it; happiness, life satisfaction and positive affect. The number and quality of our relationships contribute to our overall well being. It lowers both emotional and physical distress and brings in happiness, empathy, trust and higher self-esteem in us. What do we sow into our relationships to keep them healthy; for reaping from healthy relationships depends on what we consciously sow into it. What goes into keeping the sheen on our relationships intact or re-gilding it for radiance?
There is much that we can sow seeds of gratitude, respect, forgiveness, acceptance, affection, attention, time, appreciation, active listening, skillful communication, trust, empathy, compromise, commitment and more. Understanding the challenges in our relationships, working on them adeptly and in a timely manner, making the needed positive emotional deposits into them is the key to lasting, happy and healthy relationships.
Have there been some cracks in any of your relationships lately and is mending them a challenge for you? Reach out to us at LeanonMe and share.
AUTHOR: Portia, Lead Counsellor
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