You want to come away from a catch up with a friend feeling energised, encouraged, challenged, edified or joyful – not drained, discouraged, and empty like you’ve had a leech secretly sitting on your soul for the past 24hrs!
Relationships are a beautiful part of our life. We are born to be in them – whether it’s family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, or a relationship with God, they are actually vital to our wellbeing and overall health. In fact, research shows that those who are physically ill will have better recovery rates if they are surrounded by loving relationships and have people who are alongside them in the journey; whereas those who don’t have anyone and go through the healing process without people will have a slower recovery.
There are different types of connectedness or belonging we need in order to thrive; such as:
- A close confidant relationship, who you can share the really vulnerable, intimate and emotional parts of your life with whom you have a deep affection and trust with, ie your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance.
- Social companionship or support, which is a friend/best friend or couple of best friends.
- Collective relationships, that are a community or network of people who share your sense of interests, vision, and purpose in life.
Finding your balance
Knowing the difference between healthy alone time, and relational engagement is key. We are often overstimulated with so many things going on, and prioritising the right relationships will keep your head above water and hopefully get you to a relaxed floating position. You want to come away from a catch up with a friend feeling energised, encouraged, challenged, edified or joyful – not drained, discouraged, and empty like you’ve had a leech secretly sitting on your soul for the past 24hrs!
Just think of lockdown during this current pandemic – it was a very trying time for all, and quickly revealed how much we crave and need human connection. You only need to watch the movie Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks to see the insanity caused by isolation. He goes a bit (maybe a lot) kookoo and makes a friend out of a washed up volleyball. He names it Wilson, and that volleyball became an essential part of his very survival. Wilson floats off the raft at sea one morning whilst Tom is sleeping and it is by far one of the saddest points in the film (I tear up every time in that scene), when he realises if he goes after to retrieve Wilson he will lose the raft and die, yet Wilson was the very thing that kept him alive. Even if you’re the biggest introvert in the world, know that relationships are a key part of our survival.
Reflect on the relationships you have that are life-giving and hold fast to them, because they’re not always easy (especially the family ones, am I right!?) and they do take work, but work that is well worth it and will always produce beautiful fruit if both parties are loving each other well. Carving out time for these good quality relationships is a must. Everyone knows that it isn’t good to be alone, that’s why God created Eve from Adam – so they could have each other.