“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being. – John Joseph Powell on relationships.
Our lives are defined by relationships. They are defined by the relationships we do have and the ones we don’t. They are defined by the good ones, the bad ones, the close ones, the distant ones, the weird ones, the hard ones, the low and high maintenance ones, the short ones, the passing ones, the passionate ones, the surprising ones, the ‘I just can’t seem to shake you off’ ones, the casual ones, the intense ones, the lifelong ones, the awkward ones, the special ones and the necessary ones. You will look back at that list and likely recognise many of these relationships from your own life.
Every relationship is different. And, from the relationship with your partner right down to the relationship you have with the woman who runs the corner shop, they are all important. Each relationship gives us certain things, and no relationship can really give us everything that we want. For example, I know which friend I would go too if I need some idle chatter and a pint. However, I am conscious of the fact that he is not the same person I would go to if I needed to talk about a sensitive subject or if I needed, say, medical attention!
Although our relationships are complex, nuanced and numerous, they can also, broadly speaking, be separated into a handful of categories. Human connection is one of the essentials when it comes to providing balance and resilience in your life. Everybody should be enjoying all six of these kinds of relationship. Each of these relationships is important, and here is why…
1. Your Romantic Relationships
When we think of relationships, most of us think of our romantic ones first. This relationship is perhaps the most complex, yet the most rewarding. These are often deep, intense relationships that leave you feeling both venerable and safe at the same time. This type of connection is important because of the human need for stability and foundation. A good romantic relationship should make you feel safe and that you have a safe space to return to, as well as presenting you with challenge and an ability to grow. These relationships are also where we learn to compromise, to listen, to work through problems and to love even if you don’t always like. Last of all, we all deserve intimacy, trust and love, and all the best romantic relationships offer these.
2. Your Familial Relationships
Familial relationships. One of the most useful things about these are that they are constant. We are stuck with our family, forever linked, and there is nothing we can do to change that. You go through a lot with family, and this is one of the reasons why you end up so close to family whether you like them or not. Familial relations are forged not just by blood, but by galvanising circumstances; the trials and tribulations of growing up together. Family offers stability and unconditional love, a constant required by us all.
3. Your Friendships
Friendships, certainly close ones, can also be defined as ‘chosen family’. Your friends are the people you gravitate towards, the people that you are consider to be like you in some way. Friendships can serve many purposes, all of which can probably be boiled down to ‘relief’. Friends are the people you lean on and rely on to take some of your cares away, or to allow you to vent tension.
4. Your Professional Relationships
Professional relationships are often not invested in by us, they are perhaps seen as a side effect of working with other people, but a professional relationships that has been consciously worked on by both parties can bring both support and productivity. When in difficult work situations, it is important to have allies and trusted individuals by your side.
5. Your Casual Relationships
Casual relationships, like the ones that you have with a local shopkeeper, your neighbour three doors down or local dog walkers, are opportunities for moments of positivity throughout the day. By offering connection and positivity to these people, even with a nod or quick ‘good morning’, helps to inject their day and your day with positive vibes!
6. Your Relationship with The Self
This, really, is the most important relationship in your life. You are the person that you spend most time with, and you will like some parts of yourself and not others. You need to come to terms with who you are, be comfortable with that, and have confidence in who that person is. Sure, you can have all the best friends, lovers and relatives in the world, but only when you invest in your relationship with the self will you becomes truly resilient and happy.
By Chris Thomson
Empathy is essential in any relationship. Here is a great blog from our archives to help you develop yours… Conscious Ways to Develop Empathy
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