There are three significant events in the month of February in Singapore for those who celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and the Chinese Valentine’s Day, in addition to the Valentine’s Day that most people in the world celebrate (or not?). It seems apt to write about connections, ties and relationships in the month that is marked with events where people meet, celebrate and spend time with significant people whether by choice, by blood or because of obligations. What more, Valentine’s Day is a day set aside to celebrate romantic love, romantic relationships.
What makes forming, building and fostering relationships and bonds important and relevant to all of us?
Humans are social beings. We seek to understand and to make meaning of the world we inhabit. We seek to experience a sense of belonging, being known, being valued and being accepted and loved. One of the ways we make sense of the world is through our early experiences of the significant relationships in our lives and our interactions with the environment around us. This process started as early as when we were in our mothers’ wombs, has continued when we were infants and will continue throughout our lifespan. The kinds of bonds or attachments formed with our significant caregivers and our experiences of our surrounding environment in our early infancy and childhood have great impacts on the way we relate and the meanings we make of relationship, the environment and life subsequently. Our basic need for security, safety, care, love and connections have always been there and will continue to drive us.
We all need and can learn to forge and build connections and relationships that provide safety, love, support and acceptance so that we can each experience the growth that can come out of healthy and safe relationships. This applies across all human relationships.
Someone once said, “You want that person who is willing and will be there for you at your darkest and most difficult place”. Aren’t those dark and difficult places and times where we also most need to experience that we are safe, supported, accepted, valued and loved? To have another presence in those difficult places whom we can lean on, journey with or cheered on by.
If you have someone or a group of people like this or close to this, treasure and continue to build the relationships you share together. If you have yet to find one, persevere and continue to look because I know there is at least one out there for each of us.
Besides, we can also each start by learning how to relate with ourselves and people who are already in our lives in a way that helps each of us feel safe, valued, supported, loved and accepted.
Seeking first to listen, understand and not judge are definitely some of the important ways to provide safety in any relationship. Respecting and acknowledging the unique needs that each of us have in any relationship, and not dismissing or trivializing those needs, help us experience the process of being validated and valued.
Remember that what is at the heart of any relationship is the person, including yourself. Be present, be open, be genuine and be loving.
Here’s to better relationships and more meaningful experiences for all of us!
Happy Lunar Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day to all in advance!
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Disclaimer: This blog and its posts are not treatment recommendations nor claim to represent clinical point of view. The contents of this blog do not replace formal consultation with a mental health or medical professional.