Relationships & Conflict Management
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” – Sam Keen
Humans crave connection. Healthy relationships make us feel worthy and important. It boosts our physical health, self-esteem, and confidence. In fact, spiritually relationships are the glue that keeps our society together.
The foundation of healthy relationships with self and others is laid in early childhood. During this time, children develop emotional and social skills through family, peers, and caregivers. Positive interactions teach kids how to handle their emotions, as well as life’s difficulties.
During the teenage years, a good relationship between parent and teen helps them cope with the various physical, emotional, and psychological changes. Even though it can be a tough time for both the young adolescent and the parent, teenagers still need guidance and support from adults. It is important that parents provide a safe haven where they feel loved, protected, and heard.
In adulthood, healthy relationships with friends keep anger, depression, and anxiety at bay. When we have someone with whom to share our dreams, aspirations, and concerns, life has meaning. Friends also keep our feet on the ground and provide an alternative point of view.
Intimate relationships with a significant other provide safety and security. We also learn how to compromise, be present for one another in tough times, and take an interest in the things that our loved one enjoys.
How does the overuse of technology affect our relationships?
The advent of the digital age is affecting our relationships at every stage of our life. Here’s how:
- Studies have found that toddlers are more interested in objects than in human beings. The lack of human interaction results in poor social skills, low emotional intelligence, physical challenges, and behavioural problems.
- As teens do most of their communicating online, they do not learn how to read other people’s moods. Body language, facial expressions, and vocal reactions are not visible. It is easier to talk online and keep up appearances in the digital world. This results in anxiety when they do not know how to deal with conflict in real life.
- Friendships in the virtual world do not compare to real-life ones. The internet can never provide a shoulder to cry on and for this reason we have to always project an image of happiness and glee. This could result in loneliness, sadness, and depression.
- When our partner responds to our needs or presence, we feel understood, validated, and loved. Problems arise when a digital device replaces a loved one or partners engage in a ‘cyber’ affair.