We all know people who seem more interested in distancing themselves from others rather than in forming relationships. You may have seen this in a loner kid who never wanted to sit with anyone in the cafeteria at school. Maybe you had a boss who preferred to rule with fear rather than friendliness. And what about that friend who finds a reason to break off each new romance three weeks into it for no apparent reason?
Psychology is complex, and there is no telling why some of those patterns arise. It would be unfair to say such tendencies are always bad. However, it is true that people have an inherent need to be loved and ultimately want to seek relationships with others.
The ROI on relationships is virtually unlimited. Life is a whole lot easier when there are supportive people there to listen when times are difficult, to push you gently toward achieving your goals, to share celebrations, and to care enough to cocreate a safe and loving home. Stress is often markedly reduced for people who maintain strong connections.
Communicating with others when there are likely to be few clashes and misunderstandings leads to a greater chance of overall wellness. Studies have even shown that babies who aren’t held and cuddled have higher rates of abnormal development and illness. It is clear that even from birth, good times spent with others help us grow in every way.
As children we begin to consciously desire good relationships if only, at first, to get Mom to think well enough of us to give us an extra dessert or treat. Relationships help you get what you want. As your ties grow beyond immediate family, the depth and complexity of your relationships do too. Even though they can begin, evolve, and change all by themselves, good relationships do take work. Strong, healthy bonds with others require risk taking, courage, energy, sincerity, honesty, and appreciation. It takes time and effort to learn how to strengthen ties with others to achieve the best outcome for all. Ultimately, what you put into forming and maintaining relationships is what you’ll get out of them.
Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.