What is the meaning of Fostering a Relationship?
We are all locked up in our houses. We are forced to stay indoors with our families, husband, wife, children, maybe parents. But why does this feel so weird? We love our families, yet it almost feels like a punishment. As a society, we have reached a stage where we are seeking advice from Internet gurus on how to spend time with each other in a family. There is no doubt that our societies have evolved to become more sophisticated, educated, efficient, and smarter in many ways. However, we seem to have lost something very fundamental in social relations. The bonds that traditionally held us together are slowly disappearing. So what are we falling short of? Why do we have to relearn how to build and maintain relationships? And more importantly why do relationships matter? Love is a profound emotion with various expressions. The need for connection with fellow beings is innate, however, the ability to form healthy and loving relationships is learned right from infancy. We all know and agree that good relationships are important for our happiness. There is researched evidence to show that good relationships help people live longer and healthier lives. The quality of our relationships directly affects our mental, physical and emotional health. In the words of Author/Researcher, Brene Brown, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” Knowing that we matter to someone “gives us the strength, a sense that we can tolerate being vulnerable and deal with challenges”-Dr. Sue Johnson.
A relationship is a way in which two or more individuals or things are connected or the state of being connected. Everything in the universe is related. Every human relationship is fostered by Trust, Love, Respect, Attention, and communication. It is never too late to develop good relationships in our lives. We can learn to love and form healthy relationships as adults by improving communication, learning to trust, and learning to give and respect. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal relate to how a person relates to others and understands themself. Emotional Intelligence is essential in the formation and development, maintenance, and enhancement of meaningful relationships.
Tips on how to foster healthy relationships
Keep your expectations realistic: Unrealistic expectations pose stress on a relationship. No one can be everything you want them to be. Expectations lead to disappointments if the expectation is not met. Acceptance of people as they are important to a healthy relationship.
Communication: Many relationships turn sour because of a lack of proper communication. The importance of effective communication cannot be emphasized enough.
Listening: This is the most critical aspect of any good communication. We often hear but not listen to the intent. Listening involves intent to understand the speaker.
Being there: Many relationships fail because we don’t spend enough time with each other, especially in times of need.
Share information: Being open and transparent is very essential in a healthy relationship.
Ask questions: Being involved is important, asking about what someone is going through, their well-being, and showing genuine interest in their conversations can improve relationships.
Be flexible: Relationships survive and can be enhanced when people are understanding, ready to adjust. Learn to give space to each other and allow for change and growth.
Be dependable: Keep your promises. Make sure you follow through with the plans you make with others. Building trust is essential to a healthy relationship.
Be Fair: having differences of opinion is healthy in a relationship, however, be fair when having an argument. Refrain from making personal attacks or references. Be respectful even in an argument. Watch your tone in the argument. Watch the language used. Keep the argument to the current topic and refrain from making references to past incidents. Acknowledge your mistakes, take ownership.
Agree to disagree: Be aware that some problems may not have common solutions. At such times agree to disagree; in situations when it is necessary to have consensus, try to look at the situation objectively and follow a process to arrive at a fair decision.
Be yourself: Be real, your genuine self. This lessens the burden of trying to be someone else to please the others in the relationship, be it a spouse, parent, child or any other relationship.
Bring in humor: Every communication in a relationship need not be serious and meaningful. Allow some humor; keep the environment fun and easy.
Problem-solving: take an objective approach to problem-solving. Follow a process to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions.
Support: Be supportive of each other’s decisions. Discuss before making decisions that impact the family, relationship. Be understanding of each other’s emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and self-development needs.