Humans are social creatures. That simply means that we love to interact with each other. The frequency, manner, and choices surrounding our interactions result in relationships. We thrive on healthy relationships for social wellness.
A healthy relationship needs a lot of nurturing. A nurturing relationship is the foundation of intellectual and social growth. There are a few characteristics that are essential for building and maintaining a strong relationship. These include but aren't limited to:
Willingness to Commit Time and Energy
Being Open to New Things
Willingness to Resolve Conflicts
Why Do We Need Relationships?
We are at our most powerful when we know and acknowledge our place and power in the world. We achieve a strong sense of identity when we are around people who offer us support, love, and positivity. This environment enables us to be more empowered in our lives. We feel a sense of purpose and are more equipped to handle life’s challenges.
Benefits of Relationships
We feel incredible when we are in a healthy relationship. This feeling impacts the way we interact with the world around us. We use the support and positivity projected by others as a way to get closer to our ideal selves. The vision of our best selves (that is created by how we are seen by those who love and care about us) helps us to be more confident in our journey of personal discovery. This is known as “the Michelangelo phenomenon.”
Michaelangelo had a talent for looking at a stone slab and seeing the beautiful Artform within. This same concept is true for persons within healthy relationships. Healthy relationships make us more appreciative of life, open to new experiences, resilient, and courageous when faced with difficulty or trauma.
The Secret to Healthy Relationships
Intimacy involves the act of sharing and being vulnerable with others. Although intimacy is often associated with sex, it actually is the start of deeper and more meaningful connections. When people become intimate, they are relaxed and open with each other.
As animals, humans naturally have a self-defense mechanism. Not only does it protect us from physical danger but from emotional danger as well.
Each person has triggers that activate their self-defense mechanism. In most cases, this occurs when a person feels threatened or attacked.
The way we communicate both verbally and nonverbally can create a scenario where one person appears to be the attacker and the other the defender. Both parties experience a lot of negative emotions during this exchange. Too many negative emotions are destructive to relationships. So be mindful of your interactions. There should always be more positive than negative.
How to Survive the Holidays
Be Genuine and Caring
The holidays are all about empathy and warmth. We actively try to have positive interactions with each other. One of the best tips we can offer is to be curious, encouraging, and enthusiastic about others’ lives. Allow them to tell their stories and be engaged in them. You can break the ice by building rapport and then offer opportunities to connect through sharing. If you have nothing interesting or new to share, no problem, gently steer the conversation towards the other person.
Reconcile and Forgive
Let’s lay it all on the table here. So everyone is cramped together for the holidays, you’ve read our tips above and are ready to nail this holiday (after possibly failing all the others), there’s this one relative that you don’t look forward to talking to on any holiday, and s/he is there right in front of you. Are you going to throw away everything you’ve learned so you can be justified in your ill feelings towards this person? Of course, emotions are high so it’s tempting to hold on to that old slight. After all...they do “this” every time! Remember that you are also there with them allowing history to repeat itself. Say it with me, “Diffuse and reconcile!”
Use Conflict Resolution
At times, arguments are unavoidable. When arguing, try to acknowledge the other person's point of view, focus on satisfying aspects of the relationship, and suggest more positive ways that you both can get along. If you’ve been hurt then tactfully share your feelings. Always end on a positive note. For example, letting them know how you value the relationship and want to maintain a bond.
Acknowledge and accept that not every issue can be resolved.
Stay focused on the positive.
Try to diffuse arguments quickly
Gestures of gratitude and affection are what make the holidays extra special but these gestures may be used as tools for manipulation.
Try to avoid making promises you don’t want to or intend to keep. Don’t hesitate to turn down gifts with “strings attached”. Set boundaries with those who take too much without reciprocating your kindness. Imagine a guiltfree and stressfree holiday...
It’s very possible!
Always Show Appreciation and Gratitude
Gifting and rewarding are the best ways to show your appreciation. Gifting should be practical and sentimental. That means we should give things the person wants, needs, or would love to have... Your gift should express your gratitude well.
You should always be prepared for the holidays and that means having an extra gift or two.
We hope these tips will be helpful! Enjoy the holidays!
Please remember to practice mindful eating during the holidays. We offer a food scan option for people looking for food shopping lists that will help with health and healing. Click below to give it a try!
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