In fact, studies have shown that being engaged in positive relationships, not only bring us joy but also creates a peak in our physical health and longevity.
“Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.” says Robert Waldinger, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
And if you think of the huge number of people you will connect with physically, mentally and emotionally over the years, it starts to make sense that learning to be the very best we can is a very valid way to invest our energy.
But when, in childhood, high school or growing up did we ever learn specifically how relationships work? When did we learn how to deal with conflict when it arises? Or specific methods to forgive? How to prevent relationship breakdown, maintain intimacy and spark, or how to express our boundaries and needs? Where did we learn that people are highly motivated by appreciation or that self love is one of the greatest things we can do for healthy relationships?
We didn’t. Unless you went to university to study psychology, couples therapy or counselling, it’s likely that you’ve never been exposed to an education around relationships. And although it’s assumed that relating should just come naturally, the unfortunate reality is that our human nature is more inclined to act from a place of drama, protection and survival. We’re wired to notice the negative over the positive, and our ego wants to defend itself. Many of us have learned unhealthy models of interacting from the generation that went before. All of these things can, naturally, create real tension in our dynamics and interactions.
And this is why Relationships are both a skill and a spiritual practice. It can take a conscious effort to reach out when you want to shut down. To be intentional in our way of relating. To live with awareness. To act (and react) from a place of love. So many of us want these things, but don’t know exactly how to go about doing them. So many of us end up in messy relationship situations, when really, all we wanted deep down was love.
So, what are some of the ways in which we experience more harmony in the way we relate?
- See interpersonal relationships as an opportunity for growth. You won’t always be flying high in your relationships. But when you recognise that the challenges are an opportunity for growth both personally and within the relationship, it changes the way you perceive the difficult times.
- Understand people will let you down. It’s inevitable and it’s human. You’ll also let them down. So, within reason, learn to have grace for each other.
- Recognise that being great at being in relationships is a skill to be learnt. Just like any skill in life, we can get better at the way we relate. This, in turn, will increase the quality of your relationships ensuring more harmony, less conflict and a greater appreciation for each other.
- Understand the investment will provide the biggest return you’ll ever see. Feeling good in relationships is one of the best things we can do for our health, happiness and longevity. So giving this area time and energy will provide huge rewards.
- Be non-complacent in your learning. It’s all too easy to take our loved ones for granted. Make a commitment to keeping things fresh, to loving fully, and learning how to be the best that you can be for the people around you.
- Be inspired by others who are doing it well. When you see others who are doing well, get around them! You will, by default, pick up on some of the ways they relate and then learn to apply them to your own dynamics.
Over the course of one weekend, we have seen couples come back from the brink of breakup, painful family dynamics healed, singles change old habits that have them repeating the same unconscious choices, the self esteem and self love of participants escalate significantly and hundreds of light bulb moments occurring.
The formula is simple, the tools accessible and I truly believe that if we taught this in school, the divorce/break-up rate would be lowered SIGNIFICANTLY.
The upcoming Relationships Workshop won’t be running again for NINE MONTHS so now is the time to join!
I hope to see you there,