Relationships matter… immensely. As human beings, we are hardwired to be attached to others in ways that meet a variety of needs. Belonging is a core need for humans to flourish physically, mentally and emotionally.
Research shows that when someone chooses a life of solitude, their quality of life diminishes. Their ability to tolerate distress (resiliency) decreases, and they are more prone to illness. We learn how to love ourselves and how to regard ourselves by our interactions with close loved ones. They act as mirrors for us.
The parts of our brains responsible for love and attachment are regulated by each other. As a baby, I learn love through my connection to my caregivers, as reflection in their eyes. Dr. Sue Johnson, in her book Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships asks, “How does a baby know he is delightful? The baby knows he is delightful because when he looks into his mother’s eyes, he sees delight.”
We learn how to love ourselves and how to regard ourselves by our interactions with close loved ones. They act as mirrors for us. Research shows that when someone chooses a life of solitude, their quality of life diminishes. Their ability to tolerate distress (resiliency) decreases, and they are more prone to illness. We’re just not a solo species.
Close, connected and healthy relationships help us to function more securely in the world. When we feel safe, seen and soothed then we experience a state of love. This “soft place to land and a solid place to launch” allows us to actually have a bigger experience of life. When we know that someone has our back, and they are consistently there to care for us and cheer us on, then we are more likely to take risks in life.
Here’s the crux of it. We’re able to have the fullest expression of our selves when we have healthy close relationships. This may seem odd, but it’s true. Our individuality gets to flourish within a really safe and nurturing relationship.
That is why relationships matter, why it’s vitally important to create, grow and care for our relationships. The quality of our relationships gives us great insight into how fulfilled we are and whether or not we may have more work to do.
When we find ourselves struggling in creating, growing or caring for our relationship, or we’re struggling with who we are in the relationship, or even simply finding ourselves wanting more, that is the time to address our situation. Our future self, our future experience of our life, depends on it.