Where would we be without our friends, our partners, families, workmates, and our pets? All of these relationships are the bonds which tie us to our lives, making them worthwhile, and providing warmth to our lives and purpose to our existence.
They are the people, or personalities, which matter deeply to us. For many people, it is these relationships which provide the incentive to get out of bed in the morning, to face the day and to welcome all of those people and things which are special to them.
Whether it is a housebound person whose pet provides them with a reason to continue, a wife or husband whose family is the centre of their world around which everything else revolves, you need a relationship.
Even if you’re a worker whose office is made warmer and more welcoming by the people they spend their workday with, it is those relationships which help to define that person, to provide their meaning, and give them a reason to persevere and succeed.
For an invalid sitting at home, the friends who come to visit and the cat which curls up in their lap, all provide a point of attachment to the world, a moment of love and attention that fills the heart and re-affirms that person’s connection with people and society.
Any parent with young children will usually have those family relationships as the core of their day, and the hugs and kisses between them all constantly reinforce those bonds, helping them to grow emotionally and to weather the normal crises that come and go in their lives.
Research has clearly shown that people who are surrounded by good working relationships have less stress in their life, are happier, and tend to live longer than those without.
All this means is that those who do put the effort into maintaining their friendships, to developing those connections and to supporting their companions, receive a variety of benefits from them, both the simple enjoyment of being with their special person, and the reduced stress and health benefits that go along with that.
As with anything worthwhile, all relationships require ongoing effort to sustain and develop. Maintaining that connection, meeting that special person, staying in touch with absent friends, all of these things need constant work in order to stop the bond from fraying and ultimately disintegrating.
No relationship will survive for long if it is merely taken for granted and passively ignored. People change and move on with their lives, situations change, and the connection with them must be able to change right along with them.
Of course, no life is stress free, and no relationship is likely to exist that does not contain some moments of tension and conflict, but by making the decision that the commitment to that special person is important and valuable.
And ensuring that you continue to communicate with them regularly, openly and honestly, that important connection will have the chance to remain strong throughout the hard times, and to grow and strengthen in the good times.
Relationships can be hard work, but the benefits far outweigh the effort involved.