Socializing and interacting with other people is always an interesting topic, because there are so many different aspects to how and why we interact with others.
Some people love socializing and have extremely extroverted personalities, drawing their energy from being around others. Others are more introverted in their personalities and draw their energy from having more solitude.
However, there are also people who have come from rather abusive and chaotic family backgrounds and have been deeply conditioned that trusting and opening up with people is dangerous.
For these types of people, along with introverts, they see opening up and connecting with others to be a particularly unpleasant experience, and for those with more difficult backgrounds, they may even view such interactions as dangerous. Given this, it might lead one to wonder if there is indeed a connection between emotional health and relationships.
Is Connecting With Others Good For Emotional Health?
In my own journey, and coming from a difficult background myself, I had quite a hard time really opening up, connecting with, and trusting others. But as I started to inquire into the area of emotional health and witnessed others whom I felt were exhibiting particularly healthy emotional traits, I realized that there seemed to be a strong connection between our emotional health and how well we are able to connect with others.
The people that I witnessed exhibiting these healthy emotional tendencies were able to have a range of full self expression with absolutely no fear whatsoever with others. They seemed to be completely open and trusting, and consequently were able to be completely vulnerable with people and be their full authentic selves.
In all honesty I was amazed at the people that were able to do this. For me, this was something I just couldn’t do.
I mean, believe me, I tried on many occasions, but it felt as if my entire nervous system was completely shut down and jammed up. And it was the fact that I realized how shut down I was emotionally that I began to realize the connection between my ability to have open and authentic relationships with others, and my level of emotional health.
At the time it was almost impossible for me to open up with others and this led me to leading a very isolated and lonely existence. But because it was so difficult for me to open up and relate to others on a long term basis, it also made my ability to function in life and society quite difficult as well.
As I continued to dig and dig into what was going on with me internally, and what I needed to do to fix it, I realized that ones emotional health all boils down to how much or how little they are able to open up and connect with others.
What We Gain From Connecting With Others
If you’re someone who is of a more extroverted personality type and connecting with others is something that comes quite naturally to you, and you enjoy it, you already know the benefits that come from connecting with others. There’s a sense of camaraderie, you might feel a sense of wellbeing in having someone who enjoys you and with whom you can be your full self, and feel a sense of wholeness and fulfillment because of it.
Being with others also gives us a sense of safety and security to a certain extent, whether we are aware of it or not. But we are able to learn about ourselves more when we allow ourselves to express ourselves, speak, and connect with others. It allows us to maintain a sense of inner trust and emotional openness, which is the cornerstone of emotional health.
Of course there are many other benefits too, such as finding a partner in life with whom you can share a more intimate relationship. But you can also meet people that can teach you new things and lead you to new experiences.
Of course there’s also that old saying that it’s not what you know but who you know, and that couldn’t be more true. In this vein then, connecting with others can lead to all kinds of opportunities by which to better your life, such as career opportunities.
So it certainly behooves us, if we aren’t already, to work on building our relationships with others and in our capacity to have open and authentic relationships with others for more reason than one. Of course it’s also important to be vigilant with whom we choose to have relationships of varying kinds with.
There are of course unhealthy relationships as many people are already well aware, and so you’ve just got to make sure that you are entering and maintaining a healthy relationship for your own wellbeing and for theirs.
What A Healthy Relationship With Another Looks Like
So what does a healthy relationship with another look like? And when I say relationship I am not referring merely to an intimate relationship with another, but any relationship.
These relationships include our parents, our children, our husbands and wives, along with everyone else in our lives.
In a healthy relationship, first and foremost, all parties are aware of their own personal emotional needs, as well as how to get those met in a healthy manner. If our needs aren’t being met, or another person in our lives isn’t getting their needs met, either they or yourself will attempt to get their needs met indirectly and in unhealthy ways.
This of course is an indication of emotionally unhealthy people having emotionally unhealthy relationships.
So being aware of and getting our own emotional needs met in a healthy manner is the first key to a healthy relationship, and once you are able to do this and have this kind of awareness, you won’t be trying to either consciously or unconsciously manipulate the other person to try to get your needs met.
You will also have a clear sense of boundaries with yourself and with the other person, and will have a strong assertive voice by which to express your needs or to make it clear when you feel your boundaries are being violated. When both people in a relationship, or all parties, are able to maintain healthy boundaries, there is a mutual respect and a genuine love and connection between all parties involved.
In healthy relationships, open and free communication is always flowing, emotional needs are being met healthily within each person involved, and there is a mutual respect between all parties as well.
When all these character traits are present, it allows for a harmonious relationship not just emotionally and socially, but to be able to build and create things together if you so choose. This is what a healthy relationship looks like generally speaking.
What An Unhealthy Relationship With Another Looks Like
Unhealthy relationships on the other hand, are pretty much the opposite of what was just describe above. Fundamentally, both or all parties are not getting their emotional needs met, and are not aware of what their emotional needs are anyway.
Interestingly, they say that birds of a feather flock together. Somehow or another, people that are similar in their inner energy that they are sending out into the universe are drawn together for one reason or another.
In other words, emotionally unhealthy and malnourished people will generally find each other and form various kinds of relationships, as will people that are more emotionally healthy.
In unhealthy relationships both or all parties are not emotionally healthy or satiated, nor do they know how to go about getting those needs met in a healthy way. So they will not have respect for one another fundamentally, and will attempt to get their unconscious needs met through various forms of domination, manipulation, and control.
Having the ability to be one’s true and authentic self is not possible in these situations, because the other person will shut the other down in some way. And because that person is not emotionally aware of what’s going on with themselves, they won’t know how to set proper boundaries with the person who is abusing them.
Essentially in an unhealthy relationship all parties are emotionally unconscious of their needs and feelings and are not having their emotional needs met. For them, dysfunction, constant crises, and fighting are what they consider to be ‘normal’ for getting their needs met. But of course it is the exact opposite, and no one is ever really happy.
Repairing Our Ability To Connect With Others
The good news is that there very much are plenty of emotionally healthy, vibrant, strong, and respectful people out there in the world with whom to engage and interact. And if you aren’t already one of these people, or if you aren’t already connected to or engaged with these kinds of people, take heart that you can very much find them.
Finding and having these people and connections in your life will have many benefits, the most important of which is being able to maintain your emotional health by exercising your ability for full self expression, vulnerability, and authenticity.
The other good news is that you can very much heal your ability to be open, authentic, and vulnerable with others if your ability for full self expression has been dampened and hindered in anyway during your life. So if you are involved in unhealthy relationships and aren’t getting your needs met, you can rest assured that you can find healthy people out there and get your needs met at the same time.
When you are getting your own emotional needs met in a healthy manner, you will feel fantastic and happy in and of yourself. But what will also start to happen is that you will start attracting other emotionally healthy and aware people into your life with whom you can share your joy with.
Some of these people may just be holding the keys to the opportunity of a lifetime for you and are simply waiting for you to open up and connect with them. So what are you waiting for? Get out and start connecting!