Humans are naturally social creatures, as such we inherently crave being close to other people. We thrive when we are in a community with validating, healthy relationships where we can connect with others on a deeper level. These relationships are vital to our mental and emotional health and can take many different forms. There are familial relationships, romantic relationships and relationships with colleagues and friends, to name some. No matter the type of relationship, as long as it is a healthy relationship, it will help to meet our basic human needs.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
A healthy relationship is a positive connection shared by two people (either romantically or non-romantically) who support, love, encourage and help each other. It is a mutual give and take with no score keeping.
An unhealthy relationship is one where one partner may dominate, manipulate or control the other, sometimes in very subtle ways, other times with violence. In these scenarios one party benefits more from the relationship than the other. An unhealthy relationship is likely to cause stress and unhappiness rather than alleviate it, isolating and breaking down the individual rather than building them up.
Now I know that not everyone is a social butterfly, in fact you may find it stressful to even think about talking to someone, nevermind opening up to someone to develop a relationship. You may prefer to be alone, enjoying your peace and quiet, which I can respect (and often crave) but I’m not saying that you need to go out and find a hundred friends, a life-partner and have children… What you do need is a healthy relationship with someone who you can connect with and share with. Whether romantic or not, the idea is that you have someone around, who you care about and who cares about you… as Thomas Merton said “No man is an island”.
By Debbie Taylor