Valuing Relationships

21 Oct 2014

Twenty friends had gathered to celebrate my birthday. What was lovely is that the evening was not all about me, it was about friendships. Some were new friends, some relationships went back more than 30 years. It was good because it was fundamentally human--to love and be loved, and to make connections with others. 

We have various types of relationships ranging from acquaintances to colleagues, family, friends, close friends and intimate relationships.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow identified five levels of needs that people have. He created a pyramid that shows how we prioritize the various needs in our lives.

Physical Needs: Our most basic needs, and therefore our first priorities, are to meet physiological needs for things like food, water, warmth, air, and such. It’s difficult to focus on other aspects of life when these needs are unmet.

Safety: We need to feel that we are safe and secure.

Belonging & Relationships: It is natural to seek connections with others. We need love, nurturing and various types of relationships. These are important needs that are not always discussed or emphasized. When they break down, we sometimes don't know how to respond or fix them.

Self-Esteem: This has to do with the need for acceptance, confidence and respect.

Self-Actualization: This is the top need that can only be reached when the needs below are met. Self-esteem has to do with creativity, self-discovery, problem-solving and achieving individual potential.

Having healthy relationships is vital to living strong and fruitful lives. When we are stressed from relationship breakdowns, it’s hard to be productive. Everything is connected; what happens in one area of our lives affects the other areas. What happens in Vegas does not really stay in Vegas!

So it makes sense that giving attention to this very important—and vital—area of our lives is tremendously important!

Attend to the care and feeding of your relationships! Making and maintaing connections with others is vital to your wellbeing...and theirs!

When people lose their homes in natural disasters, you never hear them say "Well we lost the family but at least we have our house, big-screen TV and car!" No! They say, "We lost everything we own, but we're blessed because we have our lives and our family."

Hug someone you love. Call a distant friend. Read a book about resolving conflict. Relationships really do matter, a whole lot.

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