Relationships can be the source of your greatest joy or your greatest challenge. Some people say they don’t need relationships – they may think they’re just too much trouble. Others say they don’t have the extra time or energy to devote to relationships. Still others are afraid to interact with strangers – they feel insecure, nervous, or self-conscious.
For those who justify not developing relationships with others, researchers give a warning: People with strong interpersonal connections live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Being socially isolated increases the risk of premature death, from any cause, by a staggering 50 percent!
The message is clear: To be healthy, you need relationships.
Screen “friends” aren’t the same
Social media is a double-edged sword. In some ways, it’s helped us connect and keep in touch with acquaintances and loved ones more easily. On the other hand, quick little pics, posts, and updates (in a virtual public forum) are nothing like having a heart-to-heart talk with a friend in person.
Ironically, obsessively checking screens has made many of us less connected to those nearby. When we stare at a screen, we ignore the people around us. It’s rude, but most people are completely oblivious when they’re looking at their phones. Psychologists are now dealing with the new phenomenon of “screen addiction.”
It’s good to remind ourselves and our family that “life energy” emanates from our hearts and souls. It binds each of us together and to the earth. But we can’t feel it if we’re pouring our attention into the screen in front of us instead of the world around us.
Developing healthy relationships
Do your friends make you feel happier, more enlivened and vital? Or do they drain you? Healthy relationships are not one-way streets – they make both people feel encouraged and stronger. Occasionally, everyone goes through ups and downs and needs a supportive friend to remind them that the sun will once again break through the clouds. But relationships that are always “downers” and draining for one person need to be reevaluated.
Dale Carnegie wrote a classic book long ago that is still relevant today: How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s really not a book that teaches you how to become a manipulative “influencer.” The guidance is more about teaching people to be more thoughtful and respectful of each other. That foundation of honor and trust is how we become more influential. It’s about being a better friend and being a better person in all areas of life.
This group is dedicated to using an online platform to help people connect with those of like mind and meet off-line, in real time. If you search Meetup.com in your area for interests you have (photography, hiking, philosophy, history discussions, you name it!), you will most likely find some people who meet regularly and who would welcome you. It’s not a matchmaking service for dating – it’s simply a way to help people with common interests meet each other!
Whole Person Appraisal
Here’s another idea (using a little screen time) to help you and your family set proper limits on screen time. Have everyone in your family take the Whole Person Appraisal on our website. It’s free, it takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the answers you provide are confidential and individualized.
When finished, everyone can print out their personalized list of suggestions regarding how to become more balanced in all of the Eight Essentials of life. Then, take a family walk (no cell phones!) and talk about your results. Discuss how, as a family, you can take steps to help each other do better in the Eight Essentials. Being healthy, having close, loving relationships, and helping each other succeed can be fun!
If you’ve read The Healing Revolution, you’ve heard the term “healing buddies.” Some of the healing techniques you may have seen on our videos or read about in the Hands On Techniques (HOTs) chapter require the assistance of a healing buddy. More about that next week – but I bring it up now because as we get closer to the end of our 8 Weeks of the Eight Essentials, we ask you to think about how this momentum can carry forward.
We want to help you develop a network of people in your community who have the same interest you do in becoming healthier. Among that group, you can find someone who wants to be a healing buddy with you. What would that supportive community ideally look like for you? Be thinking about that as we move into next week’s post, our last week of this eight-week series.
Stopping unconscious self-sabotage
Have you ever met someone who just has a difficult time establishing close relationships with anyone? Some people have a pattern of saying and/or doing things that alienate others. These, often unconscious, self-sabotaging behaviors can be overcome.
Check out my videos on BRT (Bio-Response Testing, aka MRT Muscle Response Testing) and TIP (Tap Into Potential). Using these tools, you can determine where you’re weak, and strengthen those areas with positive statements, following the outline we gave earlier in the section about the Five Functional Forces. The statements, in a nutshell, are: I want to be __ (“a good friend,” for example), I love being __, I can see myself being __, I believe in being __, and I am __.
To learn more, listen to my podcast on the topic, Resolutions for Relationships with People.
Healthy relationships start with you
Having a good friend starts with being a good friend – and that includes being a good friend to yourself. Would you tolerate a friend cutting you down all the time? Does your inner critic do that? You now have the tools to correct that unhealthy habit. Cultivate healthy relationships with others and yourself. Honor your own healthy boundaries – be good to yourself. You can’t help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.
Often, it’s better for both parties to end toxic relationships, especially if one person is resistant to becoming healthier. But if you have past broken relationships, and you’d like to work on restoring them in a healthy way, we hope this post helps.
Yes, it takes time, but don’t the best things in life? It takes time to prepare a delicious, healthy meal, to have a restful night’s sleep, and to devote a little time to fitness. It takes time to cultivate a good garden or good friendships. But it’s worth it.
The Healing Revolution® can help you develop deeper, more meaningful healing relationships … and they will strengthen all of your other Eight Essentials at the same time.
Enjoy the journey!