Humans are social animals who depend on social connections for support during times of stress and upheaval and as an LDS counselor, I can say that I have had many patients who have developed emotional problems because of a lack of these social connections. Research has shown that people who develop healthy social interactions and integrations tend to live longer, heal from illness faster, are more resilient when it comes to dealing with stress and experience more life satisfaction.
While social relationships, including love relationships, familial relationships, friendships, coworker relationships and formal relationships with authority figures, are important, they don’t thrive without some attention being paid to them. If you feel you are struggling or unsatisfied with your connections to other people, here are 5 ways to help improve your existing relationships, set boundaries in unhealthy relationships and open yourself up to a new way of looking at your relationships:
1 – Notice How Your Relationships Are Affecting You
As an LDS counselor, I can tell you that your relationships have the power to affect you physically as well as emotionally. Take the time to look at each of your relationships and notice how they are affecting you. Do you feel mutual respect and caring or do you feel hurt, shame or anger? Very often, we tend to stay in relationships that affect us negatively simply because we don’t pay attention to how they make us feel.
2 – Accept When Your Relationships Aren’t Working
It can be difficult to let relationships go, even when they’re obviously not mutually-beneficial. However, it is vitally important to be able to come to a place of honesty and to accept that you must stop making excuses for unhealthy patterns in your relationships that keep you in a constant state of emotional disruption.
3 – Make Space For Yourself In Your Relationships
Once you’ve accepted that some of your relationships aren’t good for you, you must make a safe space for yourself in which you can make positive changes. Making this space can include ending toxic relationships or limiting the time you spend with the person you’re having difficulty with. Remember that you can still care for someone even if you do it from a distance.
4 – Practice Compassion In Your Relationships
Actively seek out opportunities to practice compassion for yourself and others. Practicing compassion for yourself can mean taking time for self-care and self-acceptance. Practicing compassion for others can include setting healthy relationship boundaries, volunteering, mentoring others and more. Compassion for yourself and others creates a loving, inviting atmosphere in which new or better relationships can grow.
5 – Don’t Hold Onto Relationships Too Tightly
Embrace your loved ones but gently enough that they have room to grow and change. Clinging to people and becoming too enmeshed in relationships can make you lose your own sense of identity. You must realize that struggling to hold onto a relationship won’t stop you from losing it. Letting go of the struggle to stay entangled with another person allows you and your loved one the space to change and grow with time.
When you need help with developing healthy social interactions or you’ve been negatively affected by a relationship, call the best LDS counselor, Jody VanDrimmelen at Insight Child & Family Counseling, at (972) 426-9500 or visit www.j9n.83e.myftpupload.com.