Tending to Your Relationships
Do you tend to your relationships? It can be very easy to neglect the relationships you have with yourself as well as others when you are stuck in a rut. Because relationships are a direct reflection of your mental health, it’s important to care for yourself and others like you would a garden.
Think of how you would care for a plant – Would you let it sit in the sun without watering it? Would you lay the seeds on top of the soil without digging the hole? Or would you make sure you cared for it every single day? Relationships with yourself, your family and community, your friends and romantic partners all require a little TLC every single day. But you may be wondering how to show up and tend to your relationships. Read some tips below!
Relationships With Yourself
The absolute most important relationship you can have is with yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to show up for the rest of your relationships. Some ways you can tend to your relationship with yourself are:
Taking time out for reflection – Journaling in the morning or evening is a great exercise for self-care.
Treating ourselves with kindness and compassion – This can mean showing yourself grace when you’re going through a tough time by naming your emotions and reflecting on why you’re feeling that way.
Connecting to our values and realigning our behaviors with our values – If you’ve been feeling out of sorts, remember what is important to you on a simpler level and see how you can get back to the basics.
Commitment to self-care – This includes resting when you’re tired, eating healthy foods, drinking water, showering/practicing good hygiene and getting daily exercise. (Falcone, nd).
Relationships With Family & Community
How we connect with our family and community can have long-lasting effects towards the development of a sense of belonging. Utilizing the gardening tools to tending healthy relationships with family and community can help your development of self esteem and a deeper connection to those around you. Some of the ways you can tend to your relationships with family and community include:
“Accept people just the way they are and not the way you want them to be” (Jain, nd). More often than not, you are going to interact with people who are different than you; even if they are family. The way that they react is going to be different than how you would react. The way that they approach conversations, life events and experiences are going to be different. Meeting people where they are shows growth and perspective that is mature and understanding.
Additionally, because family and community members are different from you, active listening is a great way to tend to your relationships. Too often people are poised and ready to speak on their perspective or how they can enhance the conversation. But, how often do you actively listen? Listening with intent can give the talker a sense of respect. “Listen without thinking about your response and you’ll truly hear what they are trying to tell you” (Jain, nd).
Relationships With Friends
One of the easiest things to take for granted are friends. It’s not always intentional; in fact it’s often something that is done haphazardly. But often we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we forget that other people may be going through things we don’t understand or have no stake in. It’s far too easy to speak our minds without thinking about the potential consequences of doing so unfiltered. How we can tend to the relationships we have with friends can include:
Show kindness, compassion and respect – One of the last things anyone wants when they are going through a tough time is to be disrespected, belittled, passed over or be seen as a burden.
Allow others space to make their own decisions – Only offer advice if they are asking for it. Learning to listen without judgment or the desire to offer unsolicited advice is a great way to tend to your friendships. Holding space for your friends to speak about what is bothering them without the need to interject will help you tend to your friendship in a fruitful manner.
Relationships With Romantic Partners
Connecting and reconnecting with a romantic partner brings out some of the best joy one may have in a relationship. Learning how to show up in little and big ways for your partner(s) is the best way to tend your relationship. Because everyone is different, one of the most important ways to tend to your partner(s) is through learning their love languages and then putting them into action. Some people identify with all five love languages, but most people will say they feel the most loved and cared for when one or two love languages are used consistently.
Love languages include:
Words of affirmation – This love language works best when used in a meaningful way to show your love for your partner(s).
Quality time – Undivided attention is the most important way to express this love language.
Physical touch – Actions speak louder than words. For those who feel their love language is physical touch, they prefer actions over words.
Acts of service – Is there a favor you can tackle for your partner? Showing up in thoughtful ways can truly win over those who prefer this love language.
Receiving gifts – Thoughtful and meaningful gifts are a great way to show someone you care.
With these love languages you want to make sure you communicate with your partner(s) what your love language is, discuss what theirs are and give each other examples of what you love. Knowing early on which love languages you both identify with can help you tend to your relationship in a meaningful way.
Falcone, Dr. Toni. How to Tend To Relationships: A ‘To-Do’ List. The Psychology Group. Nd. https://thepsychologygroup.com/tending-to-relationships/.
Jain, Nikhil. How to Effectively Tend to the Relationships in Your Life. Lifehack. Nd. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-effectively-tend-the-relationships-your-life.html.