Why Relationships Are Important

Why Relationships Are Important

Whether you struggle with anxiety, anger, stress, perfectionism, depression, or anything in between, there is hope.  Developing more healthy relationships, or transforming current relationships into more healthy and positive ones, is a big piece of the healing process. This oftentimes means fighting the feeling of loneliness and I won’t pretend that it’s easy. It’s not. In fact, it’s really hard at times. Creating or maintaining healthy relationships in our society today has become more difficult than saying no to Girl Scout cookies. We are constantly being dragged from one thing to the next with little to no time to develop relationships. In order to make relationships work, they need quite a bit of time and effort. In order for them to get time and effort, most of us need to know that they are going to pay out. Is the time spent investing in relationships able to produce a high return on investment?

Relationships and Your Physical Health

The proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study suggesting the number and quality of social relationships a person has impacts their health just as much as diet and exercise. Having less quality relationships has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and other serious health concerns across different parts of a person’s lifespan. The mortality rate for older adults significantly increases the less a person is socially connected, and the risk for obesity among adolescents significantly increases the less they are socially connected.

The physical response to being less connected to people is burdensome. Not only can it decrease your lifespan, but it can also affect your quality of life.

Relationships and Your Mental Health

Not only is a lack of relationships bad for your physical heath, but loneliness has a negative impact on your mental health as well. Loneliness has been linked to depression and increases a person’s risk of committing suicide. Loneliness can also increase stress and decrease motivation which can make it incredibly difficult to cope with everyday stressors and accomplish tasks.

Living life without meaningful relationships is hard. It becomes more difficult to deal with the hard times and enjoy the good ones.

If there is one thing worth adding to the top of your to-do list, connecting with people should be that thing. Make sure to invest time in people that are important to you and possibly even creating new relationships. If you notice that most of the things you set aside time for throughout the week are tasks related to work or running errands, and you end most weeks feeling stressed out and empty, then commit to taking some time to nurture and build relationships. That could be taking your spouse on a date, or going out with friends. Regardless of how you do it, make an effort to connect. If loneliness is something that you struggle with often and don’t see a way out, then reach out to a professional for help.

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The Cost Of Perfection

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When life gives a perfectionist lemon, they make lemonade alright. In fact, they make lemonade muddled with mint, mixed with pure cane sugar, stirred but not shaken, served over seven ice cubes, and garnished with a lemon twist and one lemon wedge on the edge of the glass.

The good news is that it will probably be a great glass of lemonade. The bad news is that if someone points out that they missed a step or added too much sugar, it could lead to intense stress and maybe even thoughts of “I’m not good enough” or “Everyone thinks I’m a failure”.

 

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Making the best glass of lemonade probably is not the largest concern for most of us. It is more likely that we are worried about being the best employee, student, spouse, or parent. For the perfectionist, it can be all of these. Wanting to be a great employee, student, spouse, or parent is a wonderful thing.

The problem comes whenever the perfectionist makes a mistake, such as making a B on a paper, forgetting to grab an item at the grocery store, missing an error on a report at work, or forgetting that your kid was supposed to be at basketball practice yesterday, which can be enough to cause significant stress, fear of failure, or anxiety for the perfectionist.

The anxiety can spiral into thoughts like “I’m such a failure”, “I’m useless,” or “I can’t do anything right.” Sometimes these thoughts do not go away and stick around for a while. When they do, it is not surprising to see more anxiety or depression begin to surface.

The cost of being perfect is not limited to the perfectionist. Not only is perfectionism responsible for suffering in their life, but others, such as their spouse, friends, family, co-workers, or subordinates can experience similar struggles. Since a perfectionist is very critical of their own performance, they can be equally critical of others. Therefore, they expect perfection not only from themselves but from most people around them. If they have to put so much work into everything that they do, why should anyone else be off the hook? Unfortunately, holding others to this impossible level of performance can lead to the same intense stress that the perfectionist deals with on a daily basis. This stress can create wedges in their relationships, which can either drain the other person or push them away. This is unfortunate because a huge factor in relieving the perfectionist’s stress is positive and supporting relationships. When the very support they need is taken away, they are left to deal with their feelings of anxiety or depression all on their own.

The cost of being perfect adds up, and the bill only gets more costly with time. If you have suffered from the perils that come with having to be perfect, I hope that you find healing. The good news is that there are ways to deal with these impossible expectations and the feelings that come along with them. An important one is to extend grace to yourself and accept yourself for who you are, mistakes and all. The road to self-acceptance can be a long and windy one, but the reward is well worth the travel.

Recommended Reading:

https://revivecounsel.com/importance-of-self-care-why-caring-for-yourself-is-caring-for-all/

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